The survey recommended that the government put up signboards saying “tax money at work” at sites of public welfare projects, provide top tax payers expedited boarding privileges at airports, fast-lane privileges on roads and toll booths and special lanes at immigration counters.
The survey said that research across countries has shown that tax evasion was significantly affected by tax morale – the intrinsic motivation of taxpayers to pay taxes. Tax morale is in turn affected by perceptions of the benefits received from the government in return for paying taxes, and differences in taxes paid by various sections of the population.
Citizens perceive unfairness if their taxes are wasted in corruption or wasteful public expenditure projects, the survey said. It added that citizens also dislike the self-employed paying minimal taxes while the employed class pays taxes.
“Top 10 highest tax payers within a district can be highlighted and accorded due recognition,” the Economic Survey recommended. “This may take the form of expedited boarding privileges at airports, fast-lane privileges on roads and toll booths, special “diplomatic” type lanes at immigration counters, etc. Further, the highest taxpayers over a decade could be recognised by naming important buildings, monuments, roads, trains, initiatives, schools and universities, hospitals and airports in their name.”
The survey said that doing so would promote the social norm that paying taxes is honourable.
The Economic Survey has pointed out that the 2018-’19 financial year ended with a shortfall in collections of Goods and Services Tax. “Therefore, revenue buoyancy of GST will be key to improved resource position of both Central and state governments,” it added.