5 reasons why living in housing society will be expensive under GST

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It is being anticipated that post July 1, 2017, homebuyers will pay a uniform rate on their purchase under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. Experts feel that the move will bring down property prices in the country. While buying a house may or may not become cheaper, living in a gated society is surely going to burn a big hole in your pocket in the coming months, courtesy GST

Magicbricks explains why living in a housing society is set to get costlier.

Higher maintenance charges

If you stay in a housing society where your monthly maintenance charges are in excess of Rs 5,000 then brace up to shell out GST at 18%. Although the existing rate stands at 15.55%, which includes 15% service tax, 0.5% Swachh Bharat cess and 0.05% non-agriculture tax, the change post-GST will lead to an additional burden of 2.5% on residents.

“In the GST era, it appears that any unregistered dealer purchase made by any cooperative housing society (CHS) will attract GST on reverse charge mechanism (RCM) basis. This means that the liability to pay tax is cast upon the receiver and not the seller,” says chartered accountant S Satish, Executive Director, RSM Astute Consulting Group. He adds that expenses such as legal fees, security expenses, transport charges, labour charges might attract GST on RCM irrespective of whether the CHS billing exceeds Rs 20 lakh or not in the previous year. “Housing societies are not business entities. It is unfair on the part of the government to levy taxes,” says Rajesh Tandon, a housing activist in West Delhi’s Vikaspuri area. This major issue requires a serious rethinking on the part of the government.

Property tax not subsumed

The government has not subsumed the property tax in the new tax regime. This means that a property owner will continue to pay property tax on a yearly basis as per the state law concerned apart from the GST. There cannot be GST on property tax since, there cannot be double taxation under GST.

Additional charges

Apart from the annual maintenance charges, utility bills such as water charges too, will be taxed under a separate head in the new tax regime. “CHS does not act as a supplier of services of water or power supply and, thus, it would not attract GST,” says Satish. But, like in the past, residents would have to pay tax on water and power usage.

But KPMG partner (Indirect taxes) Priyajit Ghosh differs on this aspect. He says, “While electricity usage has been kept out of the purview of GST, water charges will attract concessional GST rate.”

“RWAs will now have to tweak their maintenance bill heads wherein multiple heads will have to be generated to show levies directly being paid by the society. This will help in lowering the balance maintenance amount on the basis of which GST would be calculated,” says chartered accountant Manjeet Chahal.

Repair work to cost dearer

In case a housing society carries out maintenance or renovation work and buys commodities such as cement, paint or steel, it can get deducted the tax paid on the purchase of these commodities from the total amount paid under GST. “But this is only possible if the concerned Residents’ Welfare Association makes full use of the input tax credit as the repair fund will attract 18% tax,” says Chahal.

Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/5-reasons-why-living-in-housing-society-will-be-expensive-under-gst/articleshow/59348193.cms

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