New Delhi: Just 17 individuals have a whopping Rs 2.14 lakh crore as outstanding tax arrears, with each of them owing more than Rs 1,000 crore.
This is more than double the amount of total tax dues worth Rs 90,568 crore outstanding against 35 companies in this category (with outstanding tax arrears of over Rs 1,000 crore each), the Parliament has been informed.
Together, these individuals and companies account for more than one-third of the overall direct tax arrears (including the demand not fallen due), which stood at Rs 8,27,680 crore, as of April 1, 2015.
At the same time, the number of taxpayers owing over Rs 10 crore to the government rose by about 69 per cent to 4,692 in three years to March, 2015.
These details have been disclosed in written replies to Rajya Sabha questions by Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, who also said that a large proportion of the large-size outstanding tax arrears may not be collectible due to various reasons.
Mr Sinha said action for recovery of this outstanding demand is taken in accordance with the provisions of the Income Tax Act on a continuous basis.
"However, a large proportion of these demands may not be collectible" as the demand has been raised in March, 2015 and has not fallen due or the demand may have become difficult to recover, the minister added.
During fiscal year 2014-15, an overall collection of Rs 36,593 crore was made from the arrear demand.
The number of taxpayers who owe taxes above Rs 10 crore during 2012-13 and 2013-14 were at 2,777 and 2,367, respectively.
Mr Sinha also said that the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) continuously monitors recovery in cases of outstanding arrear demand. The agency has issued detailed guidelines relating to recovery of outstanding demand.