Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) in Mumbai and other parts of the state have launched a special drive against the high-end imported vehicles, which are plying in Maharashtra but are registered in other states to save lakhs of rupees owing to high taxation here. The RTOs have started recovering the difference.
The transport department has till now initiated action against 200 high-end vehicles costing as high as Rs1 crore. Majority of the vehicles facing action are found in Mumbai with the highest number of such evasions from Borivli RTO, according to the sources from Motor Vehicle department.
In Maharashtra, vehicle tax for imported vehicles is above 20%, whereas in few other states likes Jharkhand, Nagaland and Union territories such as Pondicherry and Diu Daman, it is less than 10%. Car owners save in lakhs, if they register their high-end vehicles in states with lesser taxation. For instance, if a car costing around Rs1 crore is registered in Jharkhand, the amount of tax would be just Rs 5-7 lakh, as against more than Rs 20 lakh in Maharashtra. Vehicles owners thus opt to register their vehicles outside the state to save money.
Pradeep Shinde, deputy transport commissioner, said the special drive that began on January 18, will continue targeting locations like airport, pubs, five-star hotels and business districts, for some more days.
The department has also asked the people to inform them if they spot any such vehicles. RTO officials said generally they should confiscate such vehicles registered outside the state, but the department is just issuing them memo. The department does not have dedicated space to keep the seized vehicles which are too costly and need special care.
The vehicle owners, who faced RTO action for alleged tax evasion, are now facing another trouble because new VAHAN 4.0 system for vehicle registration does not have any provision for accepting the difference of tax evaded by such vehicles, said RTO sources.
Transport commissioner offices has directed RTOs to accept the tax manually. But the sources said it will be a trouble in future for the administration and the owners as the system would not allow the vehicle to be transferred in the state unless it is reflected in the system after having paid it.