People may be spared of hike in tax rates
Without burdening the public with direct tax proposals, the State Budget for 2014-15, to be presented by Finance Minister K.M. Mani in the Assembly on Friday, is likely to lay accent on identifying fresh avenues for additional resource mobilisation.
Various departments had furnished proposals for mopping up revenue without burdening the common man, who is already reeling under the impact of inflation.
The Registration Department had mooted a 50 per cent increase in the fair value of land and cut in stamp duty from eight per cent to five per cent for increasing revenue returns. The current fair value of land was fixed in 2010. The revision had been mooted considering the increase in the market value of land across the State during the past three years. Another proposal being considered is the stamp duty revision of gift deeds. A natural corollary of the revision in fair value is an increase in the registration fees. On comparing the revenue returns from registration fees in 2011-12, the Inspector-General of Registration had reported that the government would earn an additional income of Rs.377.5 crore through the fair value revision. The reforms were expected to mop up an overall increase of Rs.280.49 crore. The revenue loss from stamp duty cut was expected to be adequately compensated from the increase in registration fees.
But such reforms call for an amendment to the Kerala Stamp Act in force at present.
The Motor Vehicles Department had proposed a one per cent increase in the value-added tax for vehicles priced above Rs.20 lakh from the current 13.5 per cent and do away with the two per cent essential necessity cess levied on output tax at present. It was also pointed out that there was a justification for imposing a 20 per cent tax on vehicles priced above Rs.25 lakh. The validity of the one-time tax being levied on a new vehicle was proposed to be increased from 15 to 20 years. Another proposal was for imposing a five per cent value-added tax on the sale of used vehicles.
It had been proposed to enhance the rent of forestland leased out to public sector undertakings from the current Rs. 1,300 a hectare to Rs. 5,000 a hectare and to private individuals from Rs. 1,300 a hectare to Rs,10,000 per hectare. The Finance Department had been mulling such options for raising resources, which may figure in the Budget, sources said.