IRREGULARITIES TO the tune of Rs 227.83 crore in the Haryana revenue department have come to the fore as the department officials either did not levy or short levy stamp duty and registration fee in immovable property transactions during the financial year 2014-15.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its report tabled in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha last week, pointed out that during the scrutiny of records of the Haryana revenue department, as many as 1,441 cases were found involving irregularities of Rs 227.83 crore.
Stamp duty and registration fee amounts to a significant source of state’s own tax revenue. For the financial year 2016-17, out of the total 41.58 per cent state’s own tax revenue proposed by the Haryana government in the recent budget, stamp duty and registration fee has a share of 3.76%.
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The auditors found that 89 deeds were assessed at Rs 258.45 crore — instead of assessing at Rs 566.65 crore, based on the rate fixed by the Collector, resulting in short levy of stamp duty of Rs.14.53 crore. It was found that these property deeds were assessed on the basis of the rates fixed for agricultural land but as per land records most of these properties were either commercial or residential.
Other factors responsible, as per the auditors, for irregularities by the revenue department are undervaluation of immovable property, non-charging of residential rates on purchase of land, irregular exemption of stamp duty on mortgage deeds or compensation certificates to land acquired.
The audit report points out that a total number of 65 such cases were found wherein the revenue authorities short levy stamp duty of Rs. 1.23 crore due to application of non-prime rates on land containing prime khasra numbers.
The government had issued orders in May 2010 that stamp duty shall be levied on the Collector rate of land to be sold and not on the basis of value agreed between the buyer and the seller.
However, the audit noticed that in 21 cases, the registering authorities assessed the value of land on the basis of the rates agreed to between the parties earlier but the actual value of the immovable property was much higher that resulted in short realisation of stamp duty amounting to Rs. 71.25 lakh.
The state government had in January 2011 taken a decision to exempt stamp duty in respect of sale deeds executed by farmers whose land is acquired by the Haryana government for public purposes and who purchase agricultural land in the state within two years after receiving the amount of compensation.
The CAG report, however, mentions that during the audit it was found that 25 such cases were found where farmers were illegally exempted from stamp duty since they purchased commercial and residential properties after two years of getting the compensation for their acquired land by the government.