Ganpati mandals in the city are on the watch-list of the income tax (I-T) department. The department has earmarked some teams to keep an eye on the hefty collections of mandals and the lavish spending on decorations.
The reason for the interest in Ganeshotsav is the number of unregistered mandals. Of the more than 8,000 mandals in the city, 50 per cent are not registered with the charity commissioner.
The income of mandals is exempted under sections 10, 11, 12 and 13 of the Income Tax Act, subject to certain conditions. “The most important one is that they should be registered with the charity commissioner’s office,” said an I-T officer.
With half the mandals not registered, the I-T department feels there is a strong possibility they do not show all the income they collect through donations.
Moreover, donations made to registered mandals are exempted from income tax under section 80 (G). I-T officers said 50 per cent of any such donation could be claimed as rebate while filing returns. But for this, these mandals should have the 80(G) certificate from the I-T department.
Mandals these days also get heavy sponsorships. “Many spend in lakhs on decorations alone. We will check if the entire collection is accounted for or not,” a senior I-T officer said. He added that registered mandals always give receipts, which contain their registration number. “But if unregistered ones give receipts, that would be illegal,” the officer said.
Admitting that about 50 per cent of mandals are unregistered, Pandurang Jadhav, president of Mumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samvayee (Coordination) Samitee, however, claimed that mandals maintained proper accounts. As for unregistered ones, he said they were smaller mandals and their income was not much.
Jadhav said that the Samitee had also requested all mandals to maintain transparency.