What is GST?
Goods and Service Tax (GST) is the tax which amalgamates various central and state taxes into one which aims to build a common market in India, and also avoids paying tax in multiple stages.
In-detail, GST, under one roof, includes many taxes, viz., excise duty, additional excise duty, service tax, additional customs duty, surcharges and cess, value added tax, sales tax, entertainment tax, central sales tax (levied by center and collected by state), octroi, entry tax, purchase tax, luxury tax and tax on lottery, betting and gambling.
Though the expected GST was in between 20% and 23%. The final rate is decided by the finance council and its members and is fixed to 18%.
GST on Real Estate Sector.
At present the consumers in the real estate sector who opt to take an under construction property pay sales tax, value-added tax, stamp duty and registration charges to the builders. With the introduction of the GST, it is made clear that the indirect taxes, viz., sales tax and value-added tax will be replaced by GST. Whereas the developer or builder pays various elements of non-creditable tax costs like excise duty, customs duty, CST, entry tax, etc which are inbuilt in the pricing of the units. All these tax costs add upto anywhere between 22%-25% of the price of the units. Also, for the builder while procurement of goods and services, GST would be applicable. This GST would not be creditable and the developers would have to load this in the price of the property. Hence, there are chances for the increase in the pricing of the under-construction properties.
But post demonitisation, the things turned out different with respect to real estate prices. The unorganized sector now offers at 30% lower prices whereas the organized sector remained neutral.
Also, for the projects which are under construction in different stages, the builder might have already purchased the raw material needed for the whole project. Which means the builder might have paid all the taxes which were supposed to be during the purchase. If the GST is implemented and if the builder is to claim the input credits, the cost of the unit might reduce to 20% of the value of the property. But, under GST, he can not get the credit of what he paid as consumer pays tax on taxes paid by the builder. Hence, the builder surely fits the price in the units. For example, if a builder wants to sell an under-construction property of Rs. 1000, the price of it is Rs. 1000 + service tax + VAT + stamp duty. With the implementation of GST, the price of it will be Rs. 1000 + GST + stamp duty. GST is beneficial in real estate sector, if the builder is benefited and if he passes on the same benefit to the customer.
If the consumer is looking out for a ready to move in apartment, the consumer need not pay the service tax or VAT, but has to pay the stamp duty which varies from state to state. So not much of price change is expected even with the implementation of GST.
So, what needs to be analysed and understood is, with the 18% replaced GST rate, how will the impact of the pricing of the under construction property will be? And how will the builder charge you at the end of the day.
The budget session clearly mentioned that the goal is affordable housing. So, even with the implementation of GST, the under construction projects’, the unorganized and organized sector real estate prices remain neutral. This gives another hope for the investors, and a big move for the real estate market after demonetisation.