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Soon, candidates contesting all forthcoming elections will have to show I-T returns of kin

Candidates contesting all forthcoming elections will not only have to declare their income-tax returns of the last five years, offshore assets and PAN details, but also those of their spouses and family members, the government has announced.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Feb 27, 2019 07:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
People stand in queue to file their IT returns on last day of financial year outside Income Tax office at BKC, Bandra. Image for representation.
People stand in queue to file their IT returns on last day of financial year outside Income Tax office at BKC, Bandra. Image for representation.(Hindustan Times file photo)
         

Candidates contesting all forthcoming elections will not only have to declare their income-tax returns of the last five years, offshore assets and PAN details, but also those of their spouses and family members, the government has announced.

Following the Election Commission (EC)’s proposal to make changes to Form 26 or affidavits to make room for the declarations, the law ministry on Tuesday issued a gazette notification to notify the changes.

Form 26 is filed along with the nomination papers giving details about the criminal antecedents, if any, PAN, income tax return of self, spouse and dependents. It is also used to provide a list of assets and liabilities of a candidate, spouse and all dependents.

As per the new notification, offshore assets will include the details of deposits or investments in foreign banks, any other body or institution abroad. It will also include details of assets and liabilities abroad.

The EC mooted the proposal to alter Form 26 following suggestions from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to ensure there is no discrepancy in the election affidavits candidates file and their income tax declarations. The changes to Form 26 will also pave the way for the CBDT to make verification reports of the affidavits public.

As on date, CBDT verifies electoral affidavits, but the reports are not made public. These are handed over to the Income Tax Department for further action.

Commenting on the move, Gopal Agarwal, a Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman, said these details should be given but said the period can be reduced to three years if a candidate is an income taxpayer. “And if he or she is not an income taxpayer, then they should give a declaration about it and mention the source of financing for the election,” he said.

Jagdeep Chhokar of the Association for Democratic Reforms said the move is welcome and will bring more transparency. “The more information voters get about candidates, the better it is.”

First Published: Feb 27, 2019 07:52 IST