The man who introduced income tax in India

In the Mullickbazar Cemetery in Kolkata lies the grave of a scott named James Wilson.

Despite his prominent public role ( as we shall see later), Wilson was buried unknown at the cemetery

His grave was discovered in 2007 by CP Bhatia, a joint commissioner of Income Tax, while researching a book on India’s tax

In 1860, James Wilson (the then finance member in Viceroy Lord Canning’s council in undivided India) prepared India’s first Budget and also created the first income tax act.

Military expenditure had ballooned in the aftermath of the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857.

The British revenue system was based on land revenue. However land revenue did not show any scope of meeting the shortfall in revenue.

Wilson found the answer to this problem in the income tax.

He was sent by Queen Victoria, after the rebellion to India to establish the tax structure, a new paper currency, and remodel India’s finance system.

In 1853 he founded The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, which later merged with the Standard Bank to form Standard Chartered Bank in 1969.

In 1843 he established The Economist to campaign forfree trade and acted as Chief editor and sole proprietor for sixteen years.

He died in India, just one year in office, in 1860 after contracting dysentery.

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