The number of income taxpayers jumped 14 per cent in 2018/19 to 8.45 crore from 7.42 crore a year ago, registering the sharpest growth in the last five years.
Data released by the income tax department also showed that the number of people filing return in 2018/19 jumped 16 per cent to 6.33 crore compared to 5.45 crore in the previous year.
The total number of taxpayers is calculated by adding the number of people who have filed a return of income for the relevant assessment year to those who have not filed returns but tax has been deducted at source in the relevant financial year.
However, the number of returns filed showed a marginal decline from 6.87 crore to 6.74 crore. According to the tax department, the decline is due to the fact that in 2017/18 and before, returns of two assessment years (current assessment year + belated returns of previous assessment year) could be filed. However, due to the change in law, returns of only current assessment year could be filed this year.
Data also showed that the proportion of direct taxes in the overall tax revenue of the government has been consistently growing with direct taxes accounting for 55 per cent of the total tax revenues in 2018/19. This is higher than 52 per cent in 2017/18 and 50 per cent in 2016/17. In 2018/19, out of the total tax collection of Rs 20.76 lakh crore, direct taxes accounted for Rs 11.37 lakh crore.
Tax experts believe the reason for bigger contribution from direct taxes to the overall tax kitty could be slower growth in indirect tax collection due to the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2017.
Due to consistent changes in tax rates and laws and widespread leakages, GST collections have been moderate over the last couple of years.