New Delhi, December 19: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that political parties cannot accept donations in old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes since these bills have been demonetized. In a statement, Jaitley said, the government has not granted any new exemption to registered political parties either after 8th November demonetization or in the last two-and-a-half years.
"If there is any discrepancy in the books or records of political parties, they are as liable to be questioned by the Income Tax authorities as is anyone else. They enjoy no immunity whatsoever," he said. "There is no question of sparing anyone, and the political class is no exception."
He said, conditional tax exemptions historically given to the income of political parties continue. Jaitley said that 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 8th November.
Jaitley clarified that political parties have not been granted any exemption after introduction of Taxation Laws Act, 2016 which came into force on the 15th of December. "Under Section 13(A) of IT Act, 1961, political parties have to submit audited accounts, income and expenditure details and balance sheets," Jaitley said.
In Mumbai, Jaitley told that the legal and taxation regimes for all registered political parties remain as they were 20-25 years ago. He said income and donations of political parties fall in the purview of Section 13A of the Income Tax Act 1961 and there is no change in its provisions.
"Income and donations of political parties fall in the purview of Section 13(A) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 and there is no change in its provisions. In this era of instant outrage, a 35-year old law is presented as a new law being passed by the NDA government," Jaitley said in the statement.
"I implore all journalist friends to be fully outraged against any step of the government, if it is not against corruption. But in equal measure, I would also implore them to do adequate research before jumping the gun," he added.