Hike in stamp duty for partition, gift deeds to be rolled back

Finance Minister Thomas Isaac (file photo)Thiruvananthapuram: Finance Minister T. M. Thomas Isaac said in the Assembly on Wednesday that the hike in stamp duty on partition, gift, release and settlement deeds announced in the revised Budget for the current year would be rolled back.

The duty had been raised from one per cent three per cent.  The extent of reduction of duty and registration fees would be decided at the Subject Committee, the Minister said while piloting the Kerala Finance Bill.

The House later referred the Bill to the Subject Committee.

Dr. Isaac said that the stamp duty and registration fees were the most equitable levy as it works like a tax on capital gains. However, he was willing to adopt a practical approach though his stand was different.

He said that criticism about cascading tax on residential flats would be examined. The demand of purchase tax on gold merchants was raised in view of an observation of the Accountant General that the tax had been imposed during UDF rule. The gold merchants had complained that they had not collected the tax in view of communication from the previous government. The demand could be dropped if the Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala and former Finance Minister K. M. Mani stated in the House that the tax was not intended but was a mistake that had crept into the Finance Bill.

The Minister said that the Finance Bill, now before the House, would be the last of its kind. With introduction of Goods and Services Tax, States would not have much scope to amend tax rates through Finance Bill.