ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Holy Cow of the Indian Economy

Tax on Agricultural Income

A 2019 Comptroller and Auditor General report has brought out glaring irregularities in the exemptions given to agricultural income for income tax purposes. Exempting large income on agriculture from taxation not only makes the agricultural sector a conduit for money laundering and concealment of black money, but also holds back the much-needed modernisation and reform of the sector. Although everyone agrees on the desirability of taxing agricultural income, successive governments have shied away from it for electoral reasons.

In a white paper on black money released in May 2012, the Central Board of Direct Taxes admitted that:

Giving credit to agricultural income for income-tax purposes without verification of claim allows an avenue for bringing black money into the financial system as agricultural income.

In 2014, the Tax Administration Reforms Commission (TARC) report ­stated emphatically:

Agricultural income is exempt from taxation in spite of large agricultural holdings … a large number of rich farmers, who earn more than salaried employees in the cities, get away with paying no tax in view of the government’s lack of will to consider an agricultural income-tax. (Report 2014: 811)

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Updated On : 20th Oct, 2020
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