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Election Commission seeks cancellation of tax benefits to 10 political parties
April, 22nd 2014

The Election Commission (EC) has sought withdrawal of tax exemption benefits to 10 political parties from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on the grounds that they failed to submit their mandatory expenditure contribution reports on time to the poll body.

The EC, in its latest communication, has asked the CBDT to take action against the defaulting parties under provisions of Section 29C (Declaration of donation received by the political parties) of the Representation of the People Act in consonance with I-T laws.

The EC has identified the 10 parties as Nagrik Ekta Party, Dharamrajya Paksh, Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist), Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party, Sunder Samaj Party, Loktantrik Manavtawadi Party, Rastriya Mahila Janshakti Party (RMJP) and the Indian People Green Party as the defaulters in filing their contribution and donation receipt reports for the financial year 2012-13. The stipulated time limit for this exercise was 30 September 2013 but all these parties defaulted in submitting the records to EC by an average of one-five months while one party (RMJP) did it within the time limit but the poll body found some discrepancies in their records and hence referred it to the CBDT.

In case of two other parties like Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the EC said, that its contribution records for fiscals 2006 to 2012 were received only on 16 December last year, which is well beyond the deadline. Also, the Rashtriya Nowjawan Dal too filed its reports for fiscals 2010-11 and 2011-12 fiscal on 19 November 2013 to the EC.
Sources told PTI that the CBDT was aware that some other smaller parties have not even furnished the data till now to the EC.

“It is pertinent to mention that under subsection (3) and (4) of section 29C of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 only those registered political parties are entitled to tax exemption who have filed their contribution report in form 24A prescribed under rule 85B of Conduct of Election rules, 1961 before the due date for furnishing a return of income of that financial year,” the EC wrote to CBDT.

“Kindly acknowledge receipt and keep the Commission informed of action taken in the matter,” the EC added.

Under Section 29C of the Representation of the People Act all registered political parties are mandated to submit a contribution report of all the donations and funds received by it in an year from individuals or any other entity.

Under the latest communication made to the CBDT, the EC has reported instances of parties which have not submitted details of their contributions of over Rs20,000 for the year 2012-13 and past periods.

Sources said while parties like the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Trinamool Congress have complied with the EC directives and sent in their reports on time, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sent its report on 26 March while over half-a-dozen smaller parties have not sent their reports yet.

The I-T department will now initiate proceedings under the provisions of Income Tax Act 1961 (43 of 1961) in this case and after issue of summons, it will seek to tax the entire donations amount received by these parties.

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