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Election Commission tightens tax screw on parties
April, 18th 2014

The Election Commission of India (EC) has asked the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to cancel the income tax (I-T) exemption given to political parties that have failed to meet the deadline for submitting their expenditure contribution reports. It is mandatory for political parties to submit their expenditure reports to the EC by the due date.

According to sources, CBDT has received a report from the EC citing delay in the filing of expenditure reports by a few political parties as it sought action by the department under I-T laws. Some smaller parties have not even furnished the data till now, according to the EC.

Sources said that while parties like Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Trinamool Congress have complied with the EC directives and sent in their reports on time, the Bharatiya Janata Party has sent its report late while over half-adozen smaller parties have not sent reports yet.

The EC has reported instances of parties which have not submitted details of their contributions of over Rs 20,000 received by them for the year 2012-13. The deadline for submitting these details was September 2013.

The I-T Department will now initiate proceedings under the provisions of Income Tax Act, 1961, in this case and after issuing summons, will seek to tax the entire amount received by these parties as donations.

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

According to sources, the EC has said that while some reports from big parties came in as late as March, some small parties are yet to submit them. The EC has sought action by CBDT to cancel the tax benefits of these parties and charge them full income tax on the amount they have received. Action is underway, sources privy to the development said.

After the elections, the I-T Department is also likely to scrutinise affidavits of newly elected MPs who have declared large assets but do not have a permanent account number for possible tax evasion, a senior I-T official told MAIL TODAY.

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