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BJP, Congress Continue To Default in Filing Income Audit Reports, Says ADR

Picture for representation only.

Picture for representation only.

ADR has stated that according to the Finance Bill, 2017, a registered political party would be entitled to tax exemption provided the party furnishes a return of the income on or before the due date and has recommended that any failing to do so should have their “income non-tax exempted and derecognized”.

New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party and Indian National Congress were the only two parties that did not submit audit reports of election expenditure till February 7 creating a delay of 99 days, said a report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).

ADR has stated that according to the Finance Bill, 2017, a registered political party would be entitled to tax exemption provided the party furnishes a return of the income on or before the due date and has recommended that any failing to do so should have their “income non-tax exempted and derecognized”.

BLP’s income in the financial year 2015-16 was highest among all the national parties. The party had declared a total income of Rs 570.86 crore but is yet to submit its copy of Income Tax returns for 2016-17 to the Election Commission of India, stated ADR.

The due date for submission of annual audited accounts for the parties was October 30, 2017.

As on 7th February, 2018, BJP and INC have not yet submitted their audited reports to the Election Commission of India, more than three months after the due date for submission, ADR says.

“BJP and Congress have consistently defaulted in submitting copies of their audit reports to the ECI within the specified time limit,” the report said.

Among parties that had complied with the due date were, Bahujan Samaj Party, CPI(M) and All India Trinamool Congress, who had submitted their audit reports on time while CPI submitted its audit report 22 days after the due date for submission.

BJP had defaulted by 133 days in 2014-15, 209 days in 2015-16 to furnish their audit reports. Even Congress had defaulted by 153 and 252 days in 2014-15 and 2015-16 accordingly.

These five national parties, BSP, NCP, CPI(M), CPI and AITC, declared a total income of Rs 299.54 crore, collected from all over India.

ADR has now recommended that “full details of all donors should be made available for public scrutiny under the RTI”.

“Some countries where this is done include Bhutan, Nepal, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, Bulgaria, the US and Japan. In none of these countries is it possible for 75% of the source of funds to be unknown,” the report said.

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