Owners register high-end vehicles as taxis to evade life-long tax.

Tax evasion by premier car owners has been something the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) in the district has been seized of for a while now.

A team of MVD stumbled up on a specific case of this widely prevalent mode of tax evasion of registering private vehicles as taxi during a routine vehicle check on the Vyttila-Aroor stretch of the National Highway on Wednesday.

The team led by Motor Vehicle Inspectors Ajith Andrews and Hari Kumar stopped a high-end SUV on finding an unusually small number plate. The vehicle sported a white number plate with black letters indicating that it was a private vehicle.

However, on verification of the RC Book, it emerged that it has been registered as a taxi. The vehicle belonging to a Pathanamthitta-based jewellery trader was packed to capacity. The occupants had come to the city for shopping. The MVD officials dropped them at the textile shop of their choice and made alternative arrangements for their return trip before seizing the SUV on charge of tax evasion. It is now parked at the Deputy Transport Commissioner’s office at Kakkanad.

“Registering high-end cars as taxis, while in reality they are owned privately, has become a common offence in the district,” said Motor Vehicle Inspector A. Noufal. Registering vehicles as taxi attracts a yearly registration tax of just Rs.1, 060 whereas registering them as private vehicles entail payment of life-long tax. In case of luxury vehicles priced Rs.25 lakh and more, the registration tax of 15 per cent comes to Rs.2 lakh to Rs.3 lakh. This prompts even financially-sound owners to commit the offence of tax evasion.

They also illegally enjoy the Union government subsidy of 10-30 per cent on vehicles registered as taxis.

Officials say it is not easy to detect such tax evasion. Errant cars are found to sport white number plates with black letters instead of black letters on yellow surface.

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