EC Seeks Cancellation of Tax Benefits to 10 Political Parties

The Election Commission (EC) has sought the withdrawal of tax exemption benefits to ten 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 IT laws.

The EC has identified the ten 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 September 30, 2013 but the above political outfits defaulted in submitting the records to the 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, including the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the EC said, that its contribution records for fiscals 2006 to 2012 were received only on December 16 last year, which was well beyond the deadline.

Also, the Rashtriya Nowjawan Dal too filed its reports for fiscals 2010-11 and 2011-12 fiscal on November 19, 2013 to the EC.

Sources told PTI that the CBDT was aware that some other smaller parties had not even furnished 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 RP 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 Rs 20,000 for the year 2012-13 and past periods.

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

The IT Dept will now initiate proceedings under the provisions of Income Tax Act 1961 (43 of 1961) in this case and after issuance of summons, it will seek to tax the entire donation amount received by these parties.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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