Desperate to collect taxes from the public, who won't respond to the numerous exhortations by the government to pay taxes, the Income Tax Department has decided to teach moral science lessons to school children.
According to an Economic Times report by Deepshikha Sikarwar, tax officials plan to go schools, addressing morning assemblies and imparting history and civics lessons on the importance of paying taxes. Only about one per cent of India's population currently pays taxes, according to government data.
Using PowerPoint presentations, and even popular examples like Lionel Messi, who was recently sentenced to 21 months in jail for tax evasion, they hope to drive home the dark lessons of black money and tax evasion.
According to the ET report, tax officials with the rank of principal commissioner and commissioners have been given a target of at least one visit per quarter to schools. Students may also get an occasional tour of the income tax offices.
"The idea is to explain the importance of taxation to school kids as they are at an age where these talks can leave a lasting impression on their minds," a tax department official told ET. "We should even inculcate among students as to how important it is to pay right amount of tax for the development of nation. They are the future of the nation."
According to government data, a total of 2.87 crore individuals filed income tax returns in the assessment year 2012-13, but 1.62 crore did not pay any tax — leaving the number of taxpayers at just about 1.25 crore, close to one per cent of the country's total population of about 123 crore at that time.
The bulk of individuals who filed returns for the assessment year 2012-13 earned an annual salary between Rs 5.5 lakh and Rs 9.5 lakh.
With PTI inputs