Paying Income Tax might not be very exciting for most. We have been majorly conditioned into believing that paying Income Tax essentially means giving away a part of your Income. We rarely look at it from the perspective of investment. An investment for a better Nation. An investment for cleaner water, smoother roads and stronger infrastructure for the coming generations
On this Income Tax Day, let’s rewind a little and see what Income Tax Day is all about.
How did it begin?
The day actually has colonial roots. It starts with James Wilson, British India’s first finance minister being summoned to India, on November 28, 1859. He was called two years after India’s first war of Independence in order to look into the economic crisis that the colonisers were going through owing to increasing debt and military expenditure. In order to raise revenue, Wilson, an otherwise believer of the laissez-faire economy introduced the first “Income Tax” Act in February 1860. Irony died a silent death. This Act received assent on 24th July 1860, and hence, Income Tax Act was formally introduced in the country. Under this Act, Incomes were classified into:
- Income from landed property
- Income from professions and trade
- Income from securities, annuities and dividends
- Income from salaries and pensions.
The Act received huge backlash at that point in time. There was no doubt about the fact that it was simply another tool of exploitation. The Act was justified with the argument that since England is proving a secure and safe environment in India to carry on trade and other activities, they had the right to charge tax for that. White Man’s Burden has entered the chat.
Cut to post Independent India
The narrative around Income Tax completely changed post-independence. As a young nation, Income Tax became an instrument of nation-building rather than that of exploitation. The leaders of the country at that point had the humongous task of building a nation right from scratch.
The resources that they then collected through Income Tax became a major means through which they established hospitals, schools, universities and every other infrastructure required to make India a modern nation.
Establishing Income Tax Day
24th July 2010 marked 150 years of existence of this levy called Income Tax. To commemorate this levy which has been so instrumental in India’s development, from 2010 onwards, 24th July is celebrated as Income Tax Day.
On the 24th July 2010, the Income Tax Department held a function which was inaugurated by the then Hon’ble Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee. Many officers were awarded on that day and the official logo of the Income Tax department was also adopted.
Since then, Income Tax day is celebrated every year to appreciate the contribution of the taxpayers towards building and developing the country
Greetings on #IncomeTaxDay to the honest taxpayer & officials who’s contributions are accelerating our efforts towards economic development for an #AatmaNirbharBharat. Various reforms undertaken hv ensured every ₹ reaches its intended beneficiary.— Anurag Thakur (@ianuragthakur) July 24, 2020
Saluting all taxpayers on #IncomeTaxDay2020. Your honest contributions have brought the nation this far! Let us continue to work together to build this great nation. #IncomeTaxDay #YourContributionMatters #NationBuilders@nsitharamanoffc @Anurag_Office @FinMinIndia @PIB_India pic.twitter.com/P6iZmR7v7s— Income Tax India (@IncomeTaxIndia) July 24, 2020
It is no secret that a large chunk of the Indian population doesn’t pay taxes. But is it because all Indians are hiding away their cash in some sneaky corners? Well, the truth is far from that. In India, many fall below the basic tax exemption limit due to which they don’t have to pay tax.
This shouldn’t necessarily be taken as an indicator of slow development as the amount of tax collected by the government is increasing with every fiscal year.
At Quicko we understand that for the uninitiated taxes can be quite overwhelming. So we are here to make the conversation around taxes untaxing for everyone.