GST and Its effect on affordable housing

Change is the only constant thing in every sector.  With various reforms coming up in the real estate  sector, GST is the recent talk of the town. There are various goods and services which will have different rates prescribed by GST, which may impact their cost. A homebuyer going forward will have to pay 12% GST to purchase an under construction house.

Earlier Real estate sector was heavily taxed but now 12% tax rate is definitely a welcome move in this sector. The previous multiple indirect taxes on the sector was higher and tax impact under GST will be neutral. GST will remove the multiple level tax burdens from buyers and investors, therefore removing the double taxation impact. However, 12% tax rate under GST seems to be favourable for the real estate industry.

Under GST, sale of under-construction real estate properties would be classified as a supply of services and would be liable for the payment of GST. However, the sale of completed real estate properties and land are exempted. Also, the service tax and VAT charges currently payable on the sale of under-construction properties would be subsumed by GST.

Hopefully, GST will boost foreign investment in real estate sector because of its uniformity and simplicity. It will imbibe confidence among NRIs to invest in Indian real estate market.

Further, the exemption of service tax for affordable housing has not been continued in GST. The only mention of affordable housing as per the list of ‘Service Tax Exemptions to be continued in GST ’is at entry no. 66 which reads as below –

Services provided by way of pure labour contracts of construction, erection, commissioning, installation, completion, fitting out, repair, maintenance, renovation, or alteration of a civil structure or any other original works pertaining to the Beneficiary-led individual house construction / enhancement under the Housing for All (Urban) Mission/Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY);

A comparison between the earlier tax regime and the new tax regime under GST for normal real estate and affordable housing is as below –

 

Earlier Tax Regime Normal Real Estate Affordable Hosuing
Particulars Tax Rate Input Credit Tax Rate Input Credit
Service Tax 4.5 % Not Available Exempt Not Applicable
VAT 0.65% Not Available 0.65% Not Available
Total Tax 5.15% 0.65%
GST Regime GST 12% Available 12% Available
Total Tax 12% 12%

Impact of GST will be significant as there is an increase of almost 12% in tax. Since RBI does not allow the funding on indirect tax part of the flats, this additional amount of 12% will be bore by the buyer directly to the builder.

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