A provision, which is more than a century old, is expected to fetch at least Rs. 100 crore annually to the State treasury, with the government getting ready to implement it shortly. Starting this financial year, stamp duty on the value of imported goods — first incorporated in the Indian Stamp Act of 1899 and later brought under The Karnataka Stamp Act, 1957 — is set to be collected in the State.
In an effort to mop up additional revenue, the Department of Stamps and Registration has sent a proposal for government’s approval to this effect. Under the provision, Re. 1 is to be charged for import of goods that are less than Rs. 1,000 in value, while 0.5 per cent stamp duty is to be levied on goods that are over Rs. 1,000 in value. “However, we have proposed to reduce the stamp duty to 0.1 per cent to prevent duty evasions. Otherwise, we can expect at least Rs. 500 crore if the present provision of 0.5 per cent is implemented,” a senior department official told The Hindu. The decision to reduce the duty was justified on the grounds that since Tamil Nadu collects a flat Re. 1 on all imports, many importers could try to evade payment of duty here.
Those goods that have been exempted from customs duty will also receive exemption of stamp duty, the official said. “Though the provision was first introduced in the Indian Stamp Act, and later incorporated into the Karnataka Stamp Act, it had not been implemented in Karnataka,” the official said. At present, this provision is being implemented in Maharashtra and Gujarat. In the Indian Stamp Act enacted during the British period, stamp duty of 20 annas was levied on imported goods that were over Rs. 20 in value, the official said.
To implement the new provision, sub-registrars would be posted at the Mangalore port, BIA and the ICD. “The proposal has been sent to make the online collection of stamp duty as a convenience to the duty payers, while the State Bank of India will also have provision for stamp duty collection,” another official said.
The goods imported through the New Mangalore Port Trust, Bengaluru International Airport and the Inland Container Depot in Bangalore was around Rs. 1.2 lakh crore during 2012-2013.