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NGOs will have to reveal details of foreign aid to I-T
November, 19th 2011

All non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and charitable trusts will now have to compulsorily file details of foreign contributions received in their Income Tax returns along with their Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) number.

A revised I-T return form has been prepared by the Directorate General of I-T Exemption and is pending with the Central Board of Direct Taxes for final approval before it is notified for implementation, likely from the next financial year. The new return form for NGOs will have additional columns for mentioning FCRA number and another for details of overseas contributions received. So far there was only one return form that was applicable for all NGOs and trusts, including non-charitable trusts that were not qualified for exemptions. The necessity to devise a new form arose after it was found during scrutiny of some NGOs that they had received considerable foreign contributions, but failed to mention them in their return of income filed with the I-T department.

Currently, the I-T department is scrutinizing accounts of several NGOs and charitable trusts that had received foreign contributions in the past decade. A FCRA list was obtained from the union Home ministry and returns of income of such institutions that had received funds are being tallied. All suspect cases pertain to the assessment year up to 2009-10.

To deal with charitable and religious organizations who have been diverting their accumulated income to acquiring new assets, such as in the case of Baba Ramdev where his Trust bought properties abroad and expanded his empire in India, the government is likely to introduce a fresh tax of 15%. The levy on the accumulated income of NGOs and trusts may be applicable from April 1 next year with the proposed introduction of the Direct Tax Code.

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