Fuel, land, vehicles: Know major changes in prices, taxes and rules from today

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With the 2023-24 financial year commencing on Saturday, April 1, the public would have to pay more for several products and services as the change in rates of various taxes, levies and duties announced by the state and Central governments are coming into force. 

While most of the new Kerala Government proposals would compel people to spend more for various goods and services, there are also a few decisions which are expected to ease the burden of the common man and woman.

Major Hikes 
Fuel price:
Petrol and diesel will cost Rs 2 more per litre as the state government has introduced a social security cess.
Land deals: The fair value of land has been increased by 20%, making registration more expensive. 
Stamp duty on flats: The stamp duty on transferring ownership of flats and apartments within six months of construction will go up from five percent to seven percent.

Building tax: Tax on property and related levies will go up by five percent. The monthly fine also increased from one percent to two percent.
Vehicle tax: The one-time tax on private vehicles will increase as per the following rates: Vehicles priced up to Rs 5 lakh: 1% hike; for those costing Rs 5-15 lakh 2%; Rs 15-20 lakh: 1%; Rs 20-30 lakh: 1%; and vehicles costing above Rs 30 lakh: 1% hike.
Motorcycles: One-time tax on new motorcycles goes up by 2%.
Road cess: The road safety cess imposed on new two-wheelers increases from Rs 50 to Rs 100. The hikes for other categories of vehicles are Light Motor Vehicles: Rs 100 to Rs 200; medium motor vehicles: Rs 150 to Rs 300 and Heavy Motor Vehicles Rs 250 to Rs 500.
Electric vehicles: The 50% tax concession given to electric vehicles for five years has been taken away.
Legal expenses: Judicial court fee stamps will cost more. A one-per cent hike comes into force for court fees for other legal procedures.
Court fees: The court fees in cases related to defamation, civil disputes and violation of the law will be one percent of the claim amount.
Medicines: Prices of medicines will increase. However, this will reflect in the bills only when new batches arrive.
Quarry products: Royalty and other rates related to granite rock, sand and laterite brick stone increased.
Liquor: Indian-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) priced between Rs 500 and 999 will carry a social security cess of Rs 20 per bottle. The cess is Rs 40 for liquor costing Rs 1,000 and above.

A few reliefs too
Meanwhile, the state government has also reduced certain taxes and duties. They include:

  • New e-vehicles: Tax on the purchase of new electric vehicles cut from 20% to 5%.
  • Resale of land: The stipulation on payment of stamp duty at double rate if a plot of land is resold within three months of a sale has been waived. The rule on stamp duty at 1.5 times the rate if the resale takes place between three and six months also goes.
  • School bus: Quarterly motor vehicle tax on private school buses for differently abled students reduced from Rs 5,500 to 1,000. 
  • Charity vehicles: Tax on vehicles belonging to charity organisations and rescue homes made on a par with government schools.
  • Private buses: Quarterly tax on private buses and contract carriages cut by 10%.
  • Building tax waiver: No property tax on government and aided educational institutions, playgrounds which could be used free of charge and reading rooms.
  • BPL families: People belonging to below poverty line (BPL) families living in houses of an area under 30 sq m are exempted from property tax. Owners of all houses smaller than 60 sq m also need not pay the tax. 

A comparison of fuel prices
On March 31, petrol costs at Rs 107.98 at Parassala in Kerala and Rs 103.85 at Kaliyikkavila, situated right across the border in Tamil Nadu (a difference of Rs 4.13). After the hike in Kerala on April 1, the prices will be Rs 109.98 and Rs 103.85 respectively (a difference of Rs 6.13)

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Gold jewellery hallmarked with six-digit alphanumeric HUID -- union identification number. Photo: Onmanorama

Other major changes
New rules will come into force in the following sectors too from April 1:
HUID for gold: Jewellery shops in Kerala, except those in Idukki district, can sell only gold ornaments with HUID (Hallmark UniqueIdentification). In other words, jewellery carrying the old hallmark cannot be sold. However, customers can exchange their old gold.

Wallet charge: UPI transactions above Rs 2,000 from digital wallets will carry an interchange charge of 1.1%. However, normal UPI transactions will continue to be free as the new charge will not be collected from customers.

Employment Guarantee Scheme: Minimum daily wage of workers under Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme increased by Rs 22 and will be Rs 333 in Kerala.

Post office account: Mobile phone will be mandatory for transactions.

E-waste rule: The new legislation related to the management of e-waste comes into force on April 1. The manufacturers will be responsible for the phased processing of the e-waste created from their products.

Online gaming: Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) on online gaming apps will be the same as cryptocurrencies: 30%.

Debt funds: Tax concessions on debt mutual funds having a term of above three years are taken away. Tax concessions on dividends from long-term funds and indexation are also not available.

New Income Tax regime: Filing of Income Tax returns will be under the new scheme. However, if taxpayers need to continue the old scheme, they have to choose it on the online site. Under the new scheme, there will be no tax on annual income up to Rs 7,27,777. A rebate of Rs 5 lakh will become Rs 7 lakh and new slabs will come into force.

Used vehicles: The amendment in the Motor Vehicles Act on selling used (second-hand) vehicles will be effective.

Senior citizens’ investment: The amount which could be deposited in the investment scheme for senior citizens (SCSS) doubled from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 30 lakh. The maximum amount in personal monthly income accounts (MIS) would be Rs 9 lakh in place of RS 4.5 lakh. The limit for joint accounts hiked from Rs 9 lakh to Rs 15 lakh.

Life insurance: No tax concession on income from life insurance policies having an annual premium of above Rs 5 lakh.

House sale: Concession on tax related to the sale of residential property has been limited to transactions below Rs 10 crore. 

Leave surrender: The limit of tax concession on leave surrender encashment during the retirement of non-governmental employees is raised from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 25 lakh.

Health card: A health card is mandatory for employees who handle food at hotels, restaurants, bakeries and other eateries.

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