'Lavish marriages may come under tax net'

'Lavish marriages may come under tax net'

Terming extravagant marriages as an obscene show of wealth, Law Minister T B Jayachandra has mooted a new law to tax marriage expenditure beyond Rs five lakh.

This follows a detailed discussion on the subject by members during the last Assembly session. The minister said that the tax will be levied on people who show off their ‘influence,’ by way of hosting extravagant marriages.

“We are contemplating taxing expenditure above Rs five lakh or invitations to more than 1,000 people for weddings hosted by several rich people in the State,” said Jayachandra.

He said that the government may consider appointing ‘observers’ to attend these weddings and see whether the marriages conform to the criteria for being ‘simple’ and ‘adequate’. The legislation will be incorporated in the form of an amendment to the Karnataka Marriages Regularisation and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1976 . He said that the government may push for a mandatory registration of marriages, which is being largely ignored.

The minister stated that the government will consider bringing in the law, only after consulting people in the State.

“Let there be a debate in this regard. The government is serious on the tax, so as to ensure that obscene show of wealth is put an end to,” the minister said.

The government may consider depositing the tax collected from such marriages into an independent marriage fund, Mangalya Fund, which can be utilised to grant Rs 25,000 and above, for those from the lower strata of society who get married. The fund may even be utilised to conduct mass marriages.

Previous attempts to impose tax on marriage halls in the State have not been implemented properly. In Bangalore, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has been collecting a paltry 1.55 per cent of the total earnings of marriage halls as tax.

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