CHENNAI: Two different entities of the NGO Greenpeace India - Greenpeace India Society and Greenpeace Environment Trust - are under the Income Tax department’s scanner for tax evasion and violation of the provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) 2010.
An I-T department source said that Greenpeace India Society, located at Gopalapuram here, had violated Section 8 of the FCRA by spending more than 50 per cent of the donation received from abroad on administrative expenses.
As per FCRA, a person or an entity who is registered and granted a certificate or given prior permission under the Act and receives any foreign contribution, shall not defray such sum, not exceeding 50 per cent of such contribution, received on a financial year to meet administrative expenses. And if the administrative expenses exceed 50 per cent of the foreign contribution, it may be defrayed with prior approval of the Central Government.
The source said that the assessment for the year 2011-12 done for the previous financial year (2010-11), revealed that Greenpeace India Society had spent more than 60 per cent of the foreign donation it had received on administrative expenses. The assessment revealed that of the Rs 5.59 crore donation the Society received, Rs 5.11 crore alone had come from The Netherlands.
It was found the Society had also spent Rs 8 lakh worth funds on foreign travel, accommodation, visa fee, etc., for employees who were working for the Greenpeace Environment Trust. “Both the Trust and Society are separate entities although the trustees, all of whom are Indians, are the same. However, the Society can’t use its funds to take care of the employees of the Trust,” the source said.
The assessment revealed that there was a tax violation for Rs 2.48 crore. The Income Tax Department had sent a notice to Greenpeace India Society on March 2014 asking them to pay taxes of Rs 2.48 crore, after which they had gone on an appeal within a month by paying 50 per cent of the tax demanded.
Similarly, the assessment for the year 2011-12 of Greenpeace Environment Trust highlighted tax violations. It was found out that the Trust had paid Rs 37.47 lakh for travel expenses of volunteers and administrators of the Society, which is a different entity. The tax evasion by the Trust was Rs 1.49 crore and they had paid 50 per cent of it and gone on appeal.
The source also said the department had approached the Ministry of Home Affairs to take necessary action for the FCRA violation.