Now, Centre plans to tax Modi’s rallies

In what has come to be viewed as an attempt to browbeat political rivals, the central government has asked the BJP to clarify their stand on non-payment of service tax on money earned by sale of tickets during political rallies led by its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

Sources said the department of Central Excise has pulled up the BJP for non-payment of service tax. ‘We got to know that the Ludhiana regional unit of Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCEI) has issued a notice to BJP’s Chandigarh unit and demanded an answer over the non-payment of service tax,’ a BJP spokesperson said.

In the notice dated 12 February, the DGCEI has asked the party to pay tax on tickets as political rallies don’t fall under the category of ‘amusement and entertainment’ that get tax rebates. The department has asked the BJP to deposit the money within ten days of receiving the letter.

The BJP, through Modi’s recent political rallies across the nation, has collected donations from people who went to attend them. The notice reads, ‘As the entry tickets to the event were not for any admission to any entertainment event or access to amusement facilities (which are in the negative list) the same is taxable in the hands of the person collecting the amount of tickets. It appears that the BJP/Shri Narendra Modi has neither got registered under the Service tax nor paid tax on collection from tickets.’
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