The government wants to incentivise and reward exemplary taxpayers with a cup of tea with the state governor, priority check-in at the airport, passports on priority, dedicated toll lanes, access to airport lounges, and much more.
Government officials told The Economic Times that a committee has been set-up under the Central Board of Direct Taxes to draw up a scheme which will encourage a habit of compliance with tax rules.
While there have been many operations and schemes by the government to curb black money including amendments to the Benami Transactions Act and crackdown on tax evaders, there was a need to recognise honest citizens of India as the number of income tax return filings are increasing.
Reward programmes set-up by other countries will be taken as a reference by the committee. Tax filers will not be selected on the basis of the amount of tax they pay, but criteria like regularity in filing and not having been penalised in any respect in the past. This is similar to a scheme called Samman by the Income Tax Department which was discontinued in 2004.Incentives in other countriesIn Japan, honest taxpayers get a chance to click a picture with the emperor, while in the Philippines, citizens can have their name on a lottery for compliance under the value-added tax regime. Model taxpayers in South Korea receive certificates, access airport VIP rooms and free parking.
In Pakistan, top 100 taxpayers every year are rewarded with access to airport lounges, fast-track clearance of immigration, free passports and increased baggage allowance.
This helps in increasing the tax base and revenue collection for the government and also helps bridge the gap between the administration and citizens, Vikas Vasal of Grant Thornton India, told the paper."Any scheme to cut down on disputes and litigation, and to acknowledge or reward taxpayers will be a welcome move," he said.