New Delhi: Tax-exempted income of the 10 main political parties in the last five years touched a whopping Rs 2,490 crore with Congress and BJP accounting for around 80 percent of the exempted amount, according to official data.
And the income could be more than Rs 2,490 crore since the political parties' income figures between 2007-08 and 2011-12 received from the Income Tax department through an RTI plea does not incorporate the large number of small donations or income below Rs 20,000.
The Congress had a tax-exempted income to the tune of Rs 1385.36 crore, more than double of the BJP, which recorded an amount of Rs 682 crore.
BJP ally JDU's tax free income in this period except for the year 2008-09 has been Rs 15.51 crore.
Mayawati's BSP recorded an income of Rs 147.18 crore in three financial years 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2011-12. The party filed incomplete return in 2009-10 and had no tax-exempted income in 2010-11.
Sharad Pawar's NCP had a tax-exempted income of Rs 141.34 crore in the five-year period.
According to the information provided by the IT department, CPI-M recorded an income of Rs 85.61 crore in four years in this period while it had nil income in 2008-09.
CPI's income in 2008-09 and 2009-10 is pegged at Rs 28.47 crore.
JD(S) had an earning of Rs 7.16 crore in 2009-10 and 2010-11 while Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP had a tax-exempted earning of Rs 2.55 crore in four years from fiscal 2007 to fiscal 2011.
Lalu Prasad's RJD earned Rs 2.85 crore in three years from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2011.
The information came through a petition filed by Hisar- based RTI activist Ramesh Verma before the IT department.
Political parties are exempted from tax on their income through section 13 A of IT Act 1961. However, they have to maintain a book of account for donations or income above Rs 20,000.
The Central Information Commission(CIC) last month said it will seek a report from Income Tax department and Directorate of Estate regarding tax exemptions claimed by political parties and their assets to ascertain whether there is enough indirect funding from the government to bring them under the ambit of RTI Act.