In an effort to crack down on tax evasion, the transport department has announced a 30-day window to the Goan vehicle owners to re-register their high-end cars, which they have purchased and registered outside the state to save lakhs of rupees owing to high taxation here.
The department has initiated a special drive for re-registration of outside state vehicles in Goa and has warned of prosecution under the Motor Vehicle Act and initiation of criminal investigation against those who fail to re-register within the given time frame.
Though it has always been well known that the owners of Mercedes, BMW and Porsche on our streets with the tell-tale PY, DD or JH registration plates have not paid their taxes to the Goa government, there was never a successful crackdown on such tax dodgers.
However, the move has now been initiated, taking cognisance of outstation vehicles plying in the state, especially in the category of high-end luxury vehicles purchased by Goan residents, business entrepreneurs and companies based in Goa, who have purchased such vehicles and have got the same registered in the Union territory of Pondicherry, Daman & Diu, Delhi and states like Haryana, Jharkhand etc as the rate of taxation in these states is lower than that prevailing in Goa.
However, a transport official said that such steps may not help in recovering tax since it is a voluntary approach asking the owners to change the registration within 30 days.
While the transport department has no official count of high-end vehicles with registration plates of Puducherry (PY), Jharkhand (JH) or Daman and Diu (DD) plying in Goa, the official has expressed difficulty, which is next to impossible, to seize and deregister the vehicles and start tax recovery proceedings against those who are operating them.
A senior transport department official said it is not an easy task to prove the ownership of Goans.
There is no way to prove that a car has been plying in the state for a year unless we have confirmed data from the registering state.
High-value cars attract almost 16 per cent tax over the purchase value in Goa whereas in Union territories like Puducherry it is less than one per cent while in Daman and Diu and states like Jharkhand it is just 3 per cent.
As per Section 47 of the Central Motor Vehicles Act, a vehicle once registered in any state shall not be required to be registered elsewhere in the country. But when a motor vehicle registered in one state has been kept in another state for a period exceeding 12 months, the owner of the vehicle shall apply to a registering authority within whose jurisdiction the vehicle has been kept, for assignment of a new registration mark. A no-objection certificate will also have to be obtained from the UT/state where the vehicle was originally registered.
There is also the practice of buying a premium car from a dealer here after which it is taken to a Union territory for registration and is eventually brought back and operated here. This is done with the connivance of car dealers, transport department sources said.
Interestingly, the buyers attach a false affidavit and notarised copy of the rental agreement address given by them of a rented apartment as a proof of residence.