A reduction in effective GST from 8 percent to 1 percent to propel buyer sentiment
Under-construction properties to see improved demand due to GST rate cut to 5 percent minus ITC benefits
Sales of affordable houses to witness an upswing across cities
Enhancement in the exemption limit of monthly maintenance charges from Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,500 for levying an 18 percent GST came as a relief for the tenant community
Replacement of the age-old tax policy with a new unified taxation system - Goods and Services Tax (GST), in July 2017 was perceived as a game changer for the economy of the country. The high-ticket transaction industry - real estate, which had been awaiting relief from multiple taxes such as VAT, Service Tax, Central Excise and hoped for a reduction in tax burden on homebuyers, landed in the 12 percent (now 5 percent) GST slab. Two years later, majority stakeholders are in favour of GST on real estate and approve of its role in simplifying realty transactions.
Summarising the initially announced norms under GST for real estate -
GST on under-construction properties – 12 percent (land abatement included) with ITC benefits
GST on under-construction properties linked with CLSS – 8 percent with ITC benefits
GST on commercial properties – 12 percent (land abatement included) with ITC benefits
New GST rates prevalent in the real estate sector
In February 2019, new GST rates were introduced for residential properties, which came into effect from April 2019 onwards. The Council also abolished the ITC benefits and offered a transition plan to the developers. Now, the new GST rates prevalent in the real estate sector are:
GST on under-construction properties – five percent without ITC benefits
GST on affordable houses (within Rs 45 lakh) – one percent without ITC benefits
GST on commercial properties – 12 percent with ITC benefits
The Council redefined affordable housing units at this time. The following are the qualifying criteria for the same -
Here’s a thorough account on the impact of GST on real estate and the impending challenges:
Impact on property sales
GST on real estate has reversed the dynamics of sales in the sector. While properties with a possession certificate are completely exempted of tax, under-construction units attract a 5 percent tax. Moreover, removal of the ITC benefit is expected to increase overall property prices, resulting in a paradigm shift in buyer interest towards ready properties.
Prolonged delays in delivery of under-construction properties and growing instances of developers filing for insolvency have further aggravated the buyer’s wariness towards investing in this category.
Impact on property prices
Contrary to the expectations, GST failed to trigger a downward correction in property prices. Although, the construction costs have plummeted owing to a subsumed layers of taxes and a more rational GST without the benefit of ITC, the overall costs have remained more-or-less the same owing to exclusion of Stamp Duty and Registration Charges.
The exclusion of the ITC benefits hurt homebuyer sentiment for a short-term as it forced developers to increase the overall cost of the property.
Elimination of unscrupulous transactions under GST has definitely improved the transparency and accountability in the sector. Any translation of this on property prices has not been noted until now.
Affordable housing sector and GST
The affordable housing sector has been on the government’s radar for a long time. The reduction in GST slab from 8 percent to 1 percent was a direct attempt to boost property sales in the low-budget segment. The exemption is expected to prove instrumental in firming buyer’s confidence and demand under the country’s flagship program – Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). Although a significant impact on property sales has not been noted post the reduction of tax liability, it has definitely improved buyer sentiment and is touted to propel transactions in the longer run.
Rental market and GST
Unlike the previous tax regime, GST norms encouraged the rental market, thereby, boosting the same in the last one year. The exemption from GST on renting a residential property for residential purpose came as a relief to many. An extension in the monthly limit of maintenance charges from Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,500 for levying an 18 percent GST, too, relieved the tenant community.
Further, the extension of the threshold limit from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh per annum for the applicability of GST, on rent attracted from a commercial property or from a residential property used for commercial purposes, eased the tax liability on property owners.
Challenges still prevalent
While the GST regime has been accepted by real estate stakeholders, there are still a few challenges that need to be addressed –
• Multiplicity of tax slabs – As per the India Development Update, published by the World Bank, in March 2018, India is one amongst the four nations which uses the most complex taxation system involving four or more rates of GST.
• Does not support ease of doing business – The complex GST calculation and filing structure make business more complicated. The GST regime is not user-friendly.
• Ambiguity in real estate – The realty sector continues to be a long-term challenge for GST since abatement of land values and anti-profiteering clause is still unclear. Further, calculation and passage of ITC is a major concern in an industry where all raw material falls under a different category of tax ambit.
• Non-inclusion of Stamp Duty and Registration Charges – The exclusion of these taxes pose an extra burden on the homebuyers, increasing the overall payout by 3-4 percent.
• Delayed deployment of IT Infrastructure – The absence of requisite infrastructure to implement GST has also caused further confusion for tax filers.
By Parth Mehta, Managing Director, Paradigm Realty
By Raja Mukherjee, Chief Marketing Officer, Sowparnika Projects
By Amir Husain, President, Sales and Marketing, Orris Infrastructure Private Limited
By Manas Mehrotra, Chairman, 315 Work Avenue
By Rituraj Verma, Partner, Nisus Finance Services Co Private Limited
By Gunjan Goel, Director, Goel Ganga Developments
By Anuj Puri, Chairman, ANAROCK Property Consultants Pvt Ltd
By Ramesh Nair, COO- Business & International Director, JLL India
By Surendra Hiranandani, Chairman & Managing Director, House of Hiranandani
By Sukhraj B Nahar, Chairman and Managing Director, Nahar Group
By Harsh Shah, Partner, Economic Laws Practice
By Harjith D Bubber, MD & CEO, Rivali Park, CCI Projects
By Hari Challa, Managing Director, Aliens Group
By Anamika Gupta, Director, PurpleYo Technologies
By Chetan Kapur, Director Golden Bricks
What is Goods and Services Tax (GST)?
GST is a comprehensive indirect tax system charged on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services at the national level. It has replaced multiple cascading taxes levied by the central and state governments.
The biggest tax reform that the country has ever witnessed, GST was officially launched on the midnight of June 30th 2017 at the Parliament House. It was introduced as part of The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty Second Amendment) Act 2017, subsequent to the passage of Constitution 122nd Amendment Bill.
How are Intrastate and Interstate GST different?
What does Zero Rated supply under GST refer to?
There are certain products and services which fall under the ambit of GST but are not taxed. Such supply is referred to as Zero Rated. This concept is covered under Section 16 of the IGST Act and applies to exports and supplies of goods and/or services to a SEZ developer or an SEZ unit.
Additionally, the credit of input tax may be availed for making zero rated supplies notwithstanding that such supply may be an exempt supply.
Who does GST apply to?
GST is applicable for all businesses* and persons**
*trade, commerce, manufacture, profession, vocation or any other similar activity regardless of the volume of trade.
** Individuals, company, firm, HUF, LLP, co-operative society, and trust. GST is not applicable to Agriculturists.
For further, inclusions or exclusions please refer below:
For GST rate on goods, please click here
For GST rate on services, please click here
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is aimed at replacing the multiple taxes levied by the Centre and the State on sale and purchase of goods and services. The new tax regime offers a unification of various taxes, including –
1. Taxes levied by the Centre
2. Taxes levied by the State
All these levies are clubbed under GST into a single tax and charged by the Centre and State separately to meet their revenue requirements. The consumption-based nature of GST makes a State consuming the goods and services liable to pay the tax, instead of the one manufacturing or offering the goods and services.In order to keep it defined and simple, there are three types of taxes under GST against which tax-payers can take credit –
A developer from Uttar Pradesh purchases cement from a dealer in Uttar Pradesh worth Rs 1 lakh. The 28 percent GST on cement will be shared between Centre and State on a 50:50 equity share model. Thus, out of the total Rs 28,000 tax levied on the builder, Rs 14,000 will be received by the Centre and another Rs 14,000 by the UP government.
Now, if a developer from Gujarat purchases cement from a dealer in UP worth Rs 1 lakh, they will still be levied with a GST of Rs 28,000. However, in this case, IGST would apply and the entire amount will be received by the Centre.
The first country to introduce GST in 1954, France launched the tax regime to eliminate extremely high tax rates that encouraged smuggling and forgery. France implemented under a two-fold system:
|Year of implementation||1954||1991||1973||1986||2015||1994||2017|
|Challenges||-||Price distortions||-||Rates changed twice||Protests, inflation & weak consumer sentiment||Protests by social activists, inflation spiked||IT systems, adherence to anti-profiteering clause|
Standard rate: 20%
Reduced rate: 5.5% & 10%
Standard rate: 20%
Reduced rate: 5%
|Peak rate: 15%||6%||7%||5%-28%|
China concluded VAT reforms in 2016 and replaced the existing business tax framework with GST. This helped deflate the Chinese real estate bubble. The country also implemented partial GST on certain select goods.
The country implemented consumption tax in 1989 at three percent. In 1997, this percentage was increased to five and soon Japan hit recession. In 2012, the tax was doubled to 10 percent.
After talks of implementation for 26 years, GST in Malaysia was finally executed in 2015. Some of the immediate challenges faced were low consumer confidence, inflation, anti-GST protests.
GST was introduced in Canada in 1991. The dual model mechanism is similar to India (state and central level). However, Canada gives options to provinces to go for state or central GST.
GST was implemented in New Zealand in 1986 at 10 percent followed by a two-time revision - 12.5 percent in 1989 and 15 percent in 2010. The change was made in an attempt to drive higher revenue and eliminate falsifications in the tax structure.
Singapore announced GST in 1994. Post the implementation, inflation spiked and NGOs and social activist groups opposed the tax regime. Today inflation has eased and GST is the second largest source of government revenue after corporate IT in the country.
As many as 160 countries have adopted a unified tax system like GST. And, they all faced issues pertaining to inflation, scheme complexity, non-compliance, digital-dependence, and others. While the degree of challenges varied, like anything new, every country had their share of teething troubles with the radical tax reform. But mending the loopholes and addressing the impediments paved way to advantages such as easy input credit and reduced compliances. The table below summarises the major challenges some of the countries had to face.
The demonetisation move and Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 have already stirred the Indian real estate industry. Now with the confusion prevailing over the inclusion and extent of GST on realty, stakeholders are left in a state of bewilderment. 99acres.com tries dissecting the impact the tax reform is anticipated to have on all stakeholders –homebuyers, developers, brokers and others.
According to the GST regime, all under-construction properties will attract an effective 12 percent (Five percent post February 2019) charge on property values (excluding stamp duty and registration charges). It will not apply to ready-to-move-in projects as there are no indirect taxes levied on the sale of completed projects. The charge of stamp duty and registration fee will remain unchanged. Let’s begin with studying the probable impact of the aforementioned alterations.
GST and its impact on realty
The real estate sector will benefit as the subsidiary industries will also bear the positive effect of the new taxation regime. The introduction of Input tax credit under GST, which means that taxes are liable to be paid at the time of production stage or service delivery will ensure that the taxes apply only on value addition at every stage.
This implies that the consumer ends up paying taxes to the last dealer in the supply chain. In order to ensure smooth and seamless benefits from this provision, the government has added an anti-profiteering clause in the GST Bill under Section 171 of the law.
What is input tax credit?
The Goods and Services Tax allows manufacturers to avail input tax credits (ITC). To understand the term, we simply need to understand that GST is levied on purchase of both the raw materials (inputs) and the final product/service (output).
Input credit means that one can subtract the tax paid on inputs from the tax paid on output to reduce the total tax bearing.
For instance, in real estate, the raw materials include cement, steel, sand etc. A developer will be paying taxes on the purchase of these raw materials (inputs). Later, the developer will also incur tax on the completed product (output). Here, the developer will be allowed a credit equivalent to the tax paid on inputs which they can get deducted from the tax on output. Thus, if the input tax is lower than the output tax, the developer will be liable to pay the balance, whereas, if the input tax is higher than the output tax, they can claim a refund.
A developer purchases multiple raw materials for constructing a project –
Cement worth Rs 1, 00,000 – GST of 28 percent = Rs 28,000
Steel worth Rs 1, 00,000 – GST of 18 percent = Rs 18,000
Cement bricks worth Rs 1, 00,000 – GST of 28 percent = Rs 28,000
Glass slabs worth Rs 1, 00,000 – GST of 28 percent = Rs 28,000
Total tax paid on inputs = Rs 28,000 + Rs 18,000 + Rs 28,000 + Rs 28,000 = Rs 1,20,000
Total cost of property constructed = Rs 50 lakh
GST on under-construction property (Total tax on output) = Rs 6,00,000
Tax to be paid by developer = 6,00,000 – 1,20,000 = Rs 4,80,000
Conditions for availing Inputs credits
Input Credits are allowed to manufacturers, e-commerce operators, supplies, agents and any persons registered under GST. However, in order to claim inputs credits, these entities will have to fulfil certain criteria –
How to claim input credit?
Seller A sells goods to Buyer B
Details of all tax invoices will go under GSTR 1
Buyer B to verify purchase of inputs
Details from GSTR 1 will reflect in GSTR 2A. Buyer B will either accept or reject the sales notification made by Seller A
Buyer B files for GSTR 2
GSTR 2 will fetch details of inward supply (recieving of goods/services) from GSTR 2A (approved by both buyer and seller)
If buyer rejects the entry in GSTR 2A, seller can review it in GSTR 1A
Generation of GSTR 3
When both parties accept the sale and purchase of goods and services, GSTR 3 is generated with payment of taxes
Tax gets credited to Electronic Credit Register
Taxes paid on inputs get credited in the Electronic Credit Register. Buyer B can adjust these against output tax liability incurred later
*GSTR 1 – Details of outward supply of taxable goods and services
**GSTR 2 - Details of inward supply of taxable goods and services
***GSTR 3 - Monthly return based on final details of outward and inward supply of goods and services along with the payment of amount of tax
Transitioning to a new tax regime of this gravity entails will entail several challenges that might hinder the progress of the implementation. Let’s take a closer look at the roadblocks that might impede the successful execution of the new tax system:
Being GST-Ready: The IT systems are overworked in an attempt to be GST-ready. Decentralised registration, invoices having multiple copies, deduction of GST per item for multiple slab rates and printing of these invoices have posed a challenge for now. IT systems will need to be overhauled in order to incorporate these changes.
Anti-profiteering clause: Strict adherence to the anti-profiteering clause is another challenge. In the absence of specific guidelines pertaining to the amount of benefit to be passed on to the consumer, it will be difficult to identify the actual advantage for all stakeholders. The anti-profiteering rules by the GST council have not addressed the calculation of profiteering, the level (product of service) at which the anti-profiteering enquiry has to be done and lastly, whether the gains or losses offset across sector can help determine the pricing.
Migration challenges: Due to complex rules and rate structure that have increased compliance burden, especially for small and medium companies, GST implementation has almost caused a near-term supply-chain disruption. A section of the economists believe that this might go against the ease of doing business in India.
Digitisation challenges: A number of businesses are not online yet and the proprietors do not have access to Internet, especially in Tier II and III cities and also in rural areas. However, everything under GST is online now. A business will have to file 37 returns in a year - three returns per month and one annual return- per state. The shift from offline to online filing of returns is the biggest challenge that the country faces right now.
Major policy changes such as demonetisation, the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) and GST are aimed at streamlining the real estate segment in the country. However, the contribution of these initiatives in bringing down property prices is still debatable.
While GST will undoubtedly facilitate a more comprehensive and uniform tax system in the real estate sector, the reform is unlikely to alter the pricing mechanism in the sector.
Before the implementation of GST, the applicable service tax rate for an under-construction property was 15 percent. Under the GST regime, the council in 2017 fixed the tax for under-construction properties at 18 percent, which after the abatement of the land costs comes to an effective GST rate of 12 percent. For the homebuyer, the good news is that a deduction of land value equal to one-third of the total amount will be charged by the developer for the purpose of GST calculation. In February 2019, the GST Council further slashed the GST rate on under-construction units to five percent (without ITC benefits), giving a sigh of relief to the already burdened homebuyers.
Let’s understand the computation better with an example. If the value of your property is Rs 70 lakh, a developer can subtract up to Rs 22 lakh (one-third of Rs 70 lakh) as land cost and calculate GST at five percent on the remaining value of Rs 47 lakh.
The popular opinion is that excluding the stamp duty and registration cost from GST is a spoiler for the sector. The ongoing stamp duty fee hovers at around 5-7 percent.
The biggest game changer in GST is the introduction of Input Tax Credit (ITC), under which credit of taxes incurred at each stage of construction can be availed by the developer. The benefits accrued from this can be passed on to the consumer.
ITC plays a critical role in the deduction of the final cost of the property. The proper implementation of GST will determine the final effect of tax credits. As per the latest revision, five percent GST is applicable without the benefit of ITC.
Concerns have been raised by the developer fraternity regarding the effective 18 percent tax applicable for the construction sector, including land tax of six percent. Therefore, all new real estate projects will be taxed at 18 percent (Five percent from February 2019 onwards).
Cement will now attract an additional two percent tax while there has been a deduction of five percent for coal, limestone, and lignite.
Ready-to-move-in projects are kept out of GST ambit. Therefore, the overall prices of possession-ready apartments will largely remain unchanged.
The Indian real estate sector has been undergoing a metamorphosis, triggered by reforms such as demonetisation and RERA. While these reforms have already begun addressing the issue of non-transparency and accountability within the real estate sector, the implementation of GST will help resolve the multiple taxation system in the realty sphere.
While GST may not be instrumental in the property price movement, it will benefit all stakeholders in the industry backed by a uniformed and simplified tax structure. Inefficiencies in the supply network will reduce significantly resulting in better capital management and power in the hands of all stakeholders in the value chain including buyers, developers and middlemen.
Predominantly conceptualised around a ‘One Nation, One Tax’ philosophy GST is anticipated to usher the following benefits, thereby benefiting market sentiment:
Backed by the above benefits, trust in the Indian real estate market is going to see an improvement, thereby increasing investments.
For the real estate sector, GST reform is an initiative to regulate the unorganised and fragmented industry, however, its full-blown impact on homebuyers is yet to unfurl.
In the short-term, homebuyers might defer buying decision to gain more clarity over GST’s impact on property prices. Transactions and sales volume have currently taken a hit owing to the volatility in the market on the back of consecutive policy reforms such as demonetisation, the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 and now GST. Buyers, hence, are skeptical about taking the leap right away. A section of the buyers are also awaiting price correction.
A lot will depend on the benefit that the developer passes on to the buyer for the input tax credit received. This aspect of GST will ensure that the end user bears the GST charged by only the last dealer in the supply chain, offsetting long-term savings for the homebuyer.
Developers were earlier levied central excise duty, VAT, and entry taxes for the raw material and construction inputs. Additionally, 15 percent tax on services such as labour, approval costs, legal and architect fees was also levied.
Under the new regime, construction costs will be rationalised. The input tax credits will ensure that some portion of the GST paid is refunded at the output stage, when the developer files for ITC. The overall reduction in cost of logistics will benefit the developers. In February 2019, the GST Council revised the GST charges levied on under-construction properties to 5 percent (without ITC benefits). For affordable segment (priced under Rs 45 lakh), revised GST rate is fixed at one percent.
Real estate allied services such as construction, labour and others are going to be heavily impacted – some positively, some otherwise - with the new tax regime that has taken the Indian economy by a storm. Any increase or decrease in the tax levied on these goods and services is going to have a consequential impact on real estate prices, as well. Cement, for instance, will now be taxed at 28 percent instead of the earlier effective rate of 27-31 percent. The surge in cement prices would mean an increase in the overall cost of construction. Let’s look at other major alterations that have been announced under GST.
Real estate - goods
|Item||Rate (in %)|
|Marble and granite||28|
|Blocks of marble and granite||12|
|Sand lime bricks and fly ash bricks||12|
|Natural sand, pebbles, gravel||5|
|Lifts and elevators||28|
Real estate - services
|Description of service||Input tax credit||Rate (in %)|
|Construction of a complex intended for sale to a buyer, wholly or partly, where value of land is included in the amount charged from customer||Full input tax credit allowed||12|
|However, in case there is an excess input flow, no refund to be allowed|
|Composite works contracts (relating to immovable property)||Full input tax credit allowed||18|
While the aforementioned changes may take the price pendulum in one direction or the other, GST is likely to create the right climate for real estate to grow in the country. By bringing in more transparency and uniformity to the sector, it is going to boost market sentiment. Since VAT and service tax have been subsumed in one single tax now, property prices might become consistent across states, restricting the artificial surges in capital ‘asks.’
For the central and state governments, the introduction of GST will encourage ease of administration of taxes as multiple taxes at the central and state levels will not be levied anymore. Tax compliance will also be a smoother process. The seamless transfer of input tax credit from one stage to another in the supply chain will ensure tax compliance by traders. GST is expected to result in an increased revenue efficiency for the government.
What is GST?
Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a value-added tax that is applicable at each stage of the supply chain of goods and services. It is levied on the exact amount of value addition. The aim behind the implementation of GST is to eliminate all other indirect taxes in the system such as octroi, customs, VAT, excise among others. It is a destination-based tax and has two equal mechanisms - central and state.
What is input tax credit?
As part of GST, credit for the taxes paid at the previous stage in the supply chain is granted. This is done to ensure that tax is levied only on the quantum of value addition at every stage. This is likely to reduce the final cost of a product or service that is passed on to the consumer.
Who has to pay GST?
Individuals, traders and businesses with an annual turnover of above Rs 20 lakh are required to pay GST. In the case of northeastern states and some special category states, the starting point for paying GST is Rs 10 lakh.
Which existing taxes have been included in GST?
The following taxes have subsumed into GST:
Tariff barrier on imports, part of customs duty, however, is not part of GST.
Who decides the GST tax rates?
The CGST and SGST rates would be jointly deduced at the central and state levels. The notification would come on the recommendations of the GST Council.
What will be the advantages of GST?
What is the anti-profiteering clause under GST?
Clause 171 under GST Bill mandates that the benefit of input tax credit has to be passed on to the consumer via reduction in prices. The establishment of this authority will take counteractive action again complaints of profiteering and reverse the benefit of the reduced tax burden to the consumer with 18 percent interest. The business that is found practising profiteering business could also lose registration title under GST.
What products are not under the ambit of GST?
Products such as crude oil, diesel, petrol, natural gas and jet fuel have been kept out of the GST ambit for now. Liquor too has been kept out of GST as part of a constitutional provision.
The word business encapsulates trade, manufacture, commerce, profession or any other similar activity. The term is expansive with reference to GST and includes transactions in services as well.
For manufacturers, capital goods is restricted to only those items used at the place of business. The definition is in line with the current definition in Rule 2(a) of CENVAT Credit Rules, 2004.
With respect to supply of goods or and services to any person, consideration includes
Services denote anything apart from goods. These include intangible property and unlawful claim but does not include money. Similarly, goods are defined to exclude intangibles. It is contested that inclusion of actionable claim might trigger an ambiguity with respect to certain financial and commercial provisions. Under distinct provisions, software supply, works contracts and any rental transactions will fall under the ambit of services.
Works contract is regarded as an agreement pertaining to building, construction, creation, installation, retrofitting, modification, repair, facelift or commissioning of an immovable or movable property.
Composite supply includes any arrangement of services and/or goods delivered in the development of furtherance of trade. Such contracts might be regarded as bundled supplies as the primary principles of classification have not been encompassed in the Model GST Law. Specific rules might be announced for the same.