Tamil Nadu

Vijay moves HC against entry tax on BMW car

Tamil film actor C. Joseph Vijay has filed a new writ petition in the Madras High Court challenging a notice issued by Commercial Taxes Department on September 17, 2021 demanding ₹7.98 lakh as entry tax, along with penalty of ₹30.23 lakh for having imported a BMW X5 luxury car from the U.S. in 2005.

Justice C. Saravanan on Friday directed the Additional Government Pleader Richardson Wilson to take notice on behalf of the department and obtain instructions by Tuesday. He clubbed the actor’s case with similar writ petitions already filed by film musician Harris Jayaraj and Adyar Gate Hotels for hearing them together.

When the actor’s counsel A.N.R. Jayaprathap submitted to the court that government officials had threatened to initiate recovery proceedings him, the actor remitted ₹7.98 lakh under protest, the judge instructed the AGP to ensure that no coercive action was taken until the case was decided.

The actor said he had imported the BMW, on payment of necessary import duty, since there were no authorised dealers in Chennai at that point of time. Then, there was also uncertainty over the applicability of Tamil Nadu Tax on Entry of Motor Vehicles into Local Areas Act of 1990.

In one case related to entry tax, a single judge of the Madras High Court had followed Kerala High Court’s 1999 judgment in Fr. William Fernandez’s case and held that State government could not levy entry tax. However, another single judge had taken a contrary view and hence the matter was referred to a Division Bench.

Finally, the issue got resolved only in 2017 when the Supreme Court overturned Kerala High Court’s verdict. In the meantime, Mr. Vijay said that he filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court in 2005 against demand of entry tax on his BMW and obtained an interim order to get the vehicle registered with the Regional Transport Office concerned.

After using it for four years, he sold the vehicle to Deepak Murali in 2009. However, the 2005 writ petition remained pending and got dismissed by Justice M. Dhandapani only on June 28, 2019. Subsequently, the department had passed the assessment order and demanded the tax with penalty.

Since there was a delay in replying to the demand notice because the actor was busy with outdoor film shootings, the official concerned issued a recovery notice on December 17 stating that non-payment of ₹38.21 lakh could lead to attachment of bank accounts, movable properties and also civil arrest.

“Therefore, the petitioner was constrained to pay ₹7.98 lakh under protest and challenge the September 17, 2021 order,” he said and urged the court to quash the demand notice as well as the subsequent recovery notice.

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Printable version | May 23, 2022 1:19:17 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/vijay-moves-hc-against-entry-tax-on-bmw-car/article38340831.ece