Mumbai: Stamp Duty Muddle : need for many clarifications

As usual it is always the honest home owner who is harassed. The muddled thinking of Maharashtra government on Stamp Duty has lead to unnecessary harassment of flat owners. Rules are not clear, clarifications only add to the confusion.

A letter from a blog reader is below.

This refers to news item in Mumbai edition of TOI about Flat Owners told to pay stamp duty arrears of earlier tenants, on August 8, 2008, please publish the following in your esteemed Mumbai edition of TOI:

Your news item “Whose Duty is it?” clearly outlines the sad state of affairs about the government’s handling of Stamp Duty issue in the State. The circular issued by those in charge must have been to raise additional revenues for the State, however it has not considered all the legal issues as many court cases have been filed against the circulars, as we understand.

Now it is humbly requested to the Chief Minister to promptly step in and take corrective action immediately. He should ask his trusted officials to make a on the spot study at the serpentine and confused queues at MMRDA offices in Mumbai and find out the mood of the honest citizens including many senior citizens- who are being penalized for no fault of theirs due to in-imaginative circulars.

It is suggested that following steps may be taken to mitigate the problem faced by those who have been asked to pay Stamp Duty before September 8,2008 under the Amnesty Scheme:

a) As there are court case filed against the circulars, the decision from the court may take some time and my not come before Sept. 8, the last date for the scheme should be extended say for 3 months so that correct picture would emerge as to who has to pay and how much.

Since at present papers are being submitted under duress and many persons are misguiding citizens and charging Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000/- for filing the papers, which it may turn out need not be submitted at all. Is it not causing extra workload at MMRDA offices unnecessarily?

b) Govt should review the circular issued and study whether they are legally correct since to charge stamp duty retrospectively does not seem correct. Also to charge stamp duty at current market price when the flats were bought over 20 to 25 years back when the prices were say 1/100 of price now is illogical. Thus who bought flats before the circular was issued should not be asked to pay stamp duty if the law did not exist when they bought the flat. Thus those who bought flat between 1980 and 1985 should be spared and no stamp duty should be levied.
c) Those who are affected by previous transactions of buyers/sellers should not be asked to for others and if applicable they should be asked to pay only what is due from the current owner and only his transaction.

We hope Chief Minster will take a correct decision and announce the corrective measures before 15 August and issue circular in newspapers in this regard.

From Mumbai: Stamp Duty Muddle: Flat Owners Harassed, 2008/08/11 at 9:04 PM

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