Half of tax assessees earn below Rs 3.5 lakh a yr

Half of tax assessees earn below Rs 3.5 lakh a yr

I-T returns statistics of 4.49 crore tax assessees for the assessment year 2017-18, which includes 21 income slabs starting from zero to Rs 1.5 lakh per annum, and more than Rs 500 crore per annum at the other end of the spectrum, showed that very few Indians have high incomes.

According to the data, 303 of 4.49 crore I-T filers earned roughly Rs 7.3 lakh crore per annum, while the rest together earned only a little above Rs 35 lakh crore.

The data also revealed that close to 44% of those who filed returns in the assessment year 2017-18 earned less than Rs 3.5 lakh per annum, showing India's income disparity is far too wide.

However, a comparison of data of previous assessment years 2016 and 2017 showed that the percentage of those who earned below Rs 3.5 lakh a year had shrunk at a faster rate in the current assessment year (2018) than in the last two years.

While 54.47% people earned below Rs 3.5 lakh in 2016, 52.20% were in that bracket in 2017, while only 43.85% are in that category in the current assessment year.

The release of government data coincided with Swiss multinational investment bank and financial services company Credit Suisse's 2018 Global Wealth Report that called India a high wealth inequality nation.

It said that 10% rich Indians owned 77.4% of the country’s wealth. The bottom 60% owned a meagre 4.7%. The richest 1% possessed 51.5% wealth.