The budget has proposed a stamp duty of 0.5 per cent on the total value of products imported to the State.

The State government will enter into a memorandum of understanding with airports, ports and banks for the purpose. The government has turned towards the import of goods to mop up revenue, with the increasing focus on collection of stamp duty from non-registrable transactions.

The section 67B inserted to the Karnataka Stamp Act in August 1999, had, in fact, identified import of goods for imposition of stamp duty along with 30 other non-registrable transactions. Collection of stamp duty from these transactions, which are also referred to as “optional registrations,” gained momentum after an audit by the Comptroller an Auditor General (CAG) in 2008 that pointed out deficiency in collection of stamp duty on non-registrable documents.

“Though this article was there before, we have to start collecting the stamp duty now,” a senior official in the Office of the Inspector General of Registration and Commissioner of Stamps, told The Hindu . According to another official, 76B is an enabling provision that brings more such transactions under the stamp duty ambit. “Currently there are at least 70 non registrable transactions that attract stamp duty.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Stamps and Registration has been set a revenue target of Rs. 6,500 crore. While the department collected a revenue of Rs. 4,971.53 crore in 2011-2012, it collected Rs. 5,265.44 crore in 2012-2013. In his budget speech, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also said that revision of guidance value, introduction of anywhere registration and reduction in stamp duty has not helped the State mop up adequate revenue, and pointed out that there were leakages.

He also announced that an expert committee will be set up to suggest reforms to protect the interest of buyers of sites from housing cooperative societies and land owners.

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