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GST Calculation for under construction property

01, Sep, 2017

Bangalore resident Rohit Kumar had bought an under construction flat in 2014 for Rs 35 lakh. Since then he has been regularly paying service tax and VAT. Post GST, he is baffled as to how he would pay taxes under the new regime because service tax and VAT were no longer relevant in the present scheme of things. 

Like Kumar, there are thousands of home buyers who are in a fix about taxes that have to be paid and in what proportion.

Under construction properties to be taxed at 18%: Under the new tax regime, under construction properties will be taxed at 18%. This includes 9% State GST plus 9% Centre GST. With 1/3rd abatement of the land cost, the effective rate will be 12% which too, will be shared by the Centre and state in equal proportion. However, in the previous regime a person was taxed at 5.5% (which included 4.5% service tax and 1% MVAT) in Maharashtra. Does this mean that under the new regime the tax outgo would be outgo would be more?

Satish S, Executive Director GST, RSM Astute Consulting Pvt Ltd, does not agree with this inference. “In the previous regime, for example in Maharashtra, VAT was charged on a composition scheme of 1%. This meant that the developer could not claim the input tax credit (ITC) for all the raw materials used in the construction of property. For any inter-state procurement, a developer had to bear all costs without getting any benefit of ITC. But this will be possible under GST,” he said. This means that a Maharashtra developer who has bought cement from Gujarat will now be able to claim ITC on the commodity. “Henceforth, credits can be claimed freely with more credits getting freed up,” added Satish. 

Whether or not credits can be claimed and how they can be claimed is yet to be seen.
No clarity on anti-profiteering clause 
Designed and launched as part of the GST regime, the anti-profiteering clause is yet to take shape. Likely to be enforced on the lines of the Competition Commission of India, the ‘Anti Profiteering Authority of India’ will take steps to check collusion between businessmen who may not pass on profits to the consumer. A five-member team headed by a Secretary-level officer is likely to be constituted to entertain individual complaints. “As of now, no modalities have been worked out by the government on how this authority or the clause will shape up. Although the government has promised to introduce penal provisions, there is still a lot of ambiguity on how the government plans to deal with such cases,” adds Satish.

Ahead of its 2011 GST roll-out, the Malaysian government had too unsuccessfully tried the anti-profiteering and price control law in 2011. “It turned out to be a catastrophic decision which proved to be counter-productive and the move was finally aborted,” says Chandigarh-based chartered accountant Manjeet Chahal.

Apart from this, purchases made from unregistered vendors will be a headache on recipients, thus, adding to their compliance cost. “Owing to reverse charge mechanism, many corporates may not prefer purchases from unregistered dealers,” says Satish.

KPMG partner (indirect tax) Priyajit Ghosh says that complying with the anti-profiteering provision will be a big task for industries because the cost structure changes over a period of time. “By the time you do the reprising, prices might possibly have moved up. So while there is a good principle that can be applied in case of tax saving but if the same mixed with change in the procurement cost is a grey area. Does it have to be applied on a project basis, state basis, pan-India basis? Is there an index for reference?” he asks. Ghosh adds that no one has any clarity on these aspects.

Undoubtedly this transition period is a pain for developers and consumers in the construction industry. The sale of flats, billing of commodities, milestone completion and accounting do not go hand in hand. “Additionally, there are gaps between rendering of service, invoicing, measurements, certification of billing, payments, retention money, liquidated damages etc. which have complicated the matter further,” sums up Satish.



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