Mumbai: The Economic Survey 2018-19 has suggested that the government could consider awarding the top taxpayers in the country with several "diplomatic" type privileges, and is even open to the idea of naming roads after them.
In order to improve tax compliance, the survey suggested the government could consider giving top-10 taxpayers in each district recognition via boarding privileges at airports, fast-lane privileges on roads and toll booths, special "diplomatic" type lanes at immigration counters.
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 idea behind the initiative is to create exclusive membership to clubs that exude not only social status but also honour. Such steps can also help propagate the social norm that 'paying taxes honestly is honourable.'"
The survey said that since people often indulge in conspicuous consumption to convey their social status, top-10 taxpayers within a district can be highlighted and accorded due recognition.
“In order to enhance tax compliance, behavioural insights need to be employed to modify the social norm from “evading taxes is acceptable” to “paying taxes honestly is honourable.” A start has been made through the budget speech of February 2019, which publicly and explicitly thanked tax payers, perhaps for the first time, thereby seeking to honour honest tax payers,” said the survey.
The survey, tabled in Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, suggested propagating the social norm that 'paying taxes honestly is honourable' by displaying signboards showing 'tax money at work' in construction projects.