Wheels of freedom to move punctured at Karnataka border

Bangalore: We, as citizens of India, are supposed to have the fundamental right to move freely throughout the territory of our country.

However, if you happen to go from Kerala to Karnataka in your own vehicle, be ready to dump your faith in the fundamental right to travel at the border check post. Because, if the vehicle you are travelling in is not registered in Karnataka, you stand the risk of losing up to a few lakhs of rupees.

As an outsider, one is not given a chance to explain his side of the story in offices, crowded with middlemen looking to fleece visitors, and is even forced to pay tax twice for the same vehicle.

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Officials have been on a hunt from the beginning of this year for vehicles from other states and this has caused mental distress and harassment for many owners of vehicles with Kerala registration. Even those who were ready to pay taxes in Karnataka have been troubled by the authorities.

Keralites residing in Bangalore have horrible stories to tell. Many have lost tens of thousands of rupees in taxes, fines and bribes, apart from having to miss work for several days, as vehicle related hassles kept them busy in government offices instead of their own.

Financially poorer and richer in experience from their own sufferings, Karanataka’s Keralites now have a few tips to offer on how to go about this issue.

Kalyan Nagar resident Tijo advises against falling into the trap of brokers, who, in his experience, promise help and swindle up to ten thousand rupees. Tijo describes the process in detail.

At the entrance of R.T office itself one will be surrounded by agents who promise to get a discount on the payable tax. They are so good at convincing that the majority of vehicle owners fall for it.

The rare few who carry on to pay tax on their own have to face the demand for higher taxes by corrupt officials who are hand in glove with the agents. Tijo said that he has also faced this issue. He was asked to pay Rs 34,000 by the R.T official while an agent offered to settle it for Rs 25,000. The tax was supposed to be paid in demand draft but the agent insisted on cash. Tijo saw a few fellow sufferers from Kerala giving cash to their agents and his fighting spirit gave way to herd mentality. He yielded, and has regretted it ever since.

Each day, as he went to the RT office to follow up, he was given a new excuse. At last, a frustrated Tijo knocked at the RT inspector’s door. The inspector blamed him for approaching agents and asked him to pay Rs 34,000 via demand draft at the treasury. Meanwhile, Tijo managed to recover 18,000 from the agent and after much struggle another Rs 4,000.

Tijo now frequently visits the RT office to spread awareness among unsuspecting visitors the risk of approaching agents.

There is always a right way to pay taxes

The first step is to obtain a no objection certificate from the place where the vehicle is registered. For this purpose, one has to get a verification certificate from the police station of the locality by submitting the original copies of documents.

This certificate is to be submitted at the RT office where the vehicle is registered for a tax refund and for obtaining a no-objection certificate for the vehicle to be registered in a different state.

The documents to be submitted at the Karnataka RT office include the so obtained NOC certificate, registration certificate of the vehicle, copies of proof of residence in Karnataka and the vehicle insurance.

It is advisable to take a Kannada-speaking friend along when you visit the RT office. There are separate divisions for tax related matters at the office. Officials there, after taking the age of the vehicle into consideration, will arrive at the amount of tax to be paid.

Fifteen year’s tax needs to be paid for vehicles that are up to two years old and for vehicles that are more than two years old, a seven percent discount is calculated for every additional year above two years. Once the tax is calculated, a demand draft is to be taken for the amount, upon payment of which, one is given the original as well as the carbon copy of the receipt of payment. One has to keep these safe to be used later for the refund application of tax in the state from which the vehicle was brought to Karnataka.

Source: Manorama Online (English)

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