Mamata Banerjee questions tax exemption to parties, suspects ‘ulterior motive’

Arun Jaitley later stated that political parties cannot accept donations in old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and that no new exemptions had been granted.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Published:December 18, 2016 5:03 am
tax exemptions to Political parties, Mamata Banerjee, Arun Jaitley, India news, Demonetisation news, National news, Political parties news, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee PTI Photo

CHIEF MINISTER Mamata Banerjee on Saturday questioned the Centre’s decision to give income tax exemption to bank deposits made by political parties in the demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, saying that the timing of the announcement shows that there may be “an ulterior motive”.

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Mamata’s statement comes a day after Union Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said bank deposits of political parties in demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, will attract no tax as long as the donations are below the Rs 20,000 limit per individual and are properly documented. Jaitley had later clarified that political parties cannot accept donations in old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and that no new exemptions had been granted.

He said just like anyone else, political parties can also deposit their cash held in the old currency in banks till December 30 “provided they can satisfactorily explain the source of income and their books of accounts reflect the entries prior to November 8”.

In a series of tweets, the CM said: “They (the government) need to clarify that (demonetisation) means it is (demonetisation) for all. Same rules for everyone. If 500/1000 are illegal tender, then how are they trying to show there is a division (between) common people and political parties.”

“Even the timing of these statements show that there may be an ulterior motive. Is there a motive? Are they trying to give a hidden message to cadre of one political party? Why these confusing and misleading statements now? They must clarify,” she added.

“It is most unfortunate how there are confusing and misleading statements coming from senior govt officials,” said the Trinamool Congress chief.

Mamata, who has been extremely critical of the Centre’s demonetisation move, had earlier alleged that the BJP party officers had prior knowledge of the demonetisation scheme and the party had even bought land in the state to invest their ‘black money’. The BJP had refuted the allegations.

The section 13A of the Income Tax Act, 1961, grants tax exemption to political parties in respect of their income. This income could be from house property, other sources, capital gains and income by way of voluntary contributions received from any person. However, the tax exemption is applicable only if the political party keeps and maintain such books and other documents of the income that are audited by a chartered accountant.

With PTI inputs

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