GST on real estate: All about GST on flat purchase, rates in 2022 and impact on home buyers


Here is everything home buyers need to know about the Goods and Services Tax regime and how it will impact them financially

Among the many taxes that buyers have to pay on property purchase is the Goods and Services Tax or GST on flats and apartments. In this guide, we examine the implications of the GST on real estate and GST on flat purchase in general and home buyers in particular. We will also discuss GST on flat purchase in 2022 and GST rate on land purchase in 2022.

 

GST on real estate

Home buyers in India have to pay a Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the purchase of under-construction properties like flats, apartments and bungalows at the rate of 1% for affordable housing and 5% for non-affordable housing. In real estate, the GST is also applicable on purchase of developable plots.

 

Also check out our guide on GST  e way bill login.

GST on flat purchase

Those buying flats and apartment in under-construction projects in India’s mega cities are also liable to pay GST on flat purchase in 2022. Note that GST on flat purchase is not application on completed projects. A completed project is that which has received a completion certificate from a competent authority.

See also: A guide to the government’s GST login portal online services

 

Taxes before GST implementation

Before the GST came into force in 2017, a variety of state and central taxes were imposed on buildings, through the course of the construction of a housing project. While these taxes increased the cost of project development for developers, no credit against this tax was available to the builders against the output liability. Some of the taxes that real estate developers had to pay before the GST came into force included:

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Central Excise

Entry Tax

LBT

Octroi

Service Tax, etc.

The cost incurred on these taxes by builders was, then, transferred to the property buyer.

Moreover, the complexity involving rate applicability of the numerous taxes also made it possible for developers to manipulate numbers to charge more from buyers. For a common buyer, it used to be an uphill task to find out the VAT, Central Excise, Entry Tax, LBT, Octroi and Service Tax rate applicable on property construction.

After GST implementation

Launched in India on July 1, 2017, the GST was touted to be the biggest tax reform in India after Independence. The GST subsumed multiple indirect taxes, to offer a uniform regime to the taxpayers. Since its launch, various changes have been made with regard to the bracket under which real estate is taxed under the GST regime.

Types of central and state taxes that GST subsumed

Listed below are the types of central and state taxes that the GST subsumed when it became operational in July 2017:

Central taxes

  1. Excise Duty
  2. Customs Duty
  3. Special Additional Duty of Customs
  4. Service Tax
  5. Central Sales Tax
  6. Central surcharge and cess on supply of goods and services

State taxes

  1. State Value Added Tax
  2. Entertainment Tax
  3. Luxury Tax
  4. State Excise Duty
  5. State surcharge and cess on supply of goods and services
  6. Taxes on advertisement
  7. Purchase tax
  8. Taxes on lotteries, gambling and betting

 

GST on real estate in 2022

With the intent to simulate demand amid a prolonged slowdown, the government has reduced the GST rate on property transactions significantly since its launch. This could potentially lower the buyers’ pay-out by 4%-6% on the overall purchase, believe experts.

See also: All about TDS on purchase of property

 

GST rate on flat purchase 2022

Property type GST rate till March 2019 GST rate from April 2019
Affordable housing* 8% with ITC 1% without ITC
Non-affordable housing 12% with ITC 5% without ITC

Note that while the new tax rate without input tax credit (ITC) will apply on all new projects, builders were given a one-time option to pick between the old and the new rates by May 20, 2019, for their ongoing projects. This offer was valid only for projects which were incomplete as on March 31, 2019. The government’s decision came, after the developer community raised concerns on the tax liability in the absence of ITC.

GST on real estate

What is affordable housing as per GST?

According to the government-determined definition, housing units worth up to Rs 45 lakhs qualify as affordable housing. However, the unit must also conform to certain measurements to qualify as affordable housing. A housing unit in a metropolitan city qualifies to be an affordable house, if it costs up to Rs 45 lakhs and measures up to 60 sq metres (carpet area). The Delhi-National Capital Region, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, the Mumbai-Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Kolkata are categorised as metropolitan cities. A housing unit in any other city barring the ones mentioned above in India, qualify to be an affordable house, if it costs up to Rs 45 lakhs and has up to 90 sq metres of carpet area.

 

What is input tax credit (ITC) under GST?

A unique characteristic of the GST law is its ITC system, which makes it different from the previous tax system in India. From the start of a housing project, till its completion, a real estate developer pays tax multiple times on the purchase of goods and services. Under the GST regime, the builder would get input tax credit when he pays his output tax.

Example:

A developer has to pay Rs 25,000 as tax on his final product. The builder has already paid Rs 21,000 as input tax, while purchasing materials such as steel, cement, paint, etc. In this scenario, he would have to pay only Rs 4,000 as output tax, after adjusting the input tax credit.

 

GST calculation on affordable property

Here’s a look at how to calculate GST on flats’ purchase in the affordable housing segment, before and after the change in rate in April 1, 2019:

Affordable housing GST on affordable housing before April 1, 2019 GST on affordable housing after April 1, 2019
Property cost per sq ft Rs 3,500 Rs 3,500
GST rate on flat purchase 8% 1%
GST Rs 280 Rs 35
ITC benefit for material cost of Rs 1,500 at 18% Rs 270 Not applicable
Total Rs 3,510 Rs 3,553

 

Impact of GST on luxury property

Under the new GST rates, buyers of luxury properties will save more than they would have earlier. Here’s a look at how to calculate GST on flat purchase in the luxury segment:

 

Luxury housing Before April 1, 2019 After April 1, 2019
Property cost per sq ft Rs 7,000 Rs 7,000
GST rate on flat purchase 12% 5%
GST Rs 840 Rs 350
ITC benefit for material cost of Rs 13,000 at an average of 15% Rs 126 Not applicable
Total Rs 7,714 Rs 7,350

 

GST on government housing schemes

The government has clarified that government-led mega housing projects meant for the common man, will attract only 1% GST under the new regime. These housing schemes include as the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, the Rajiv Awas Yojana, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and housing schemes of state governments.

Check out our guide on GST search and GST verification

GST on construction services

While real estate in India does not directly fall under the purview of the GST regime, various activities and services in the sector are taxable under the new regime. Following are the rates at which associated activities in the construction sector are taxed, under the GST regime in India:

Under-construction home bought under the PMAY Credit-Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) 8%
Under-construction home bought without the subsidy 12%
Works contract for affordable housing 12%

 

GST rate on construction and building materials

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) covers real estate in India through works contracts and building and constitution works, as all components used in the development work attract GST. To put it simply, covered under the new regime is the Indian construction industry, which continues to attract high rates of taxes through a blend of levies imposed on the purchase of various building construction materials.

Read out our article on cement GST rate and GST on construction and other building materials, for a comprehensive list of rates.

 

GST on maintenance charges for housing societies

Flat owners are liable to pay 18% GST on residential property, if they pay at least Rs 7,500 as maintenance charge to their housing society. Housing societies or residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) that collect Rs 7,500 per month per flat, also have to pay 18% tax on the entire amount. Housing societies which have an annual turnover of less than Rs 20 lakhs are, however, exempted from paying the GST. For the GST to be applicable, both the conditions should apply – i.e., each member should pay more than Rs 7,500 per month as maintenance charge and the annual turnover of the RWA should be higher than Rs 20 lakhs.

The government has also clarified that the entire amount is taxable, in case the charges exceed Rs 7,500 per month per member. For example, if the maintenance charges are Rs 9,000 per month per member, the 18% GST on flats will be payable on the entire amount of Rs 9,000 and not on Rs 1,500 (Rs 9,000-Rs 7,500). Also, owners with multiple flats in the same housing society will be taxed for each unit separately.

On the other hand, RWAs are entitled to claim ITC on tax paid by them on capital goods (generators, water pumps, lawn furniture, etc.), goods (taps, pipes, other sanitary/hardware fittings, etc.) and input services such as repair and maintenance services.

 

GST rent

Landlords do not have to pay GST on real estate rental income, as long their premises are let out for residential purposes. However, the GST regime treats renting out of residential property for business purposes as supply of services, thus, including GST rent under its purview. An 18% GST rent on residential flats is charged on such rental income under the new regime, if the rent amount per year exceeds Rs 20 lakhs. In this case, landlords also have to register themselves, to pay the GST on their rental income. On letting-out of commercial properties, a GST at 18% is levied.

 

GST on home loan

While there is no applicability of the GST on home loan repayment as far as the borrower is concerned, financial institutions offer several ‘services’ as part of home loans. Based on the fact that these are services, the applicability of GST comes into picture. Consequently, if you are taking a housing loan, the bank would charge GST on the processing fee, technical valuation fee and legal fee.

 

GST as a tool to revive sales

Caught in the middle of an over five-year demand slowdown and high levels of inventory, cash-starved builders in India had extremely low scope for price reduction in the post-Coronavirus lockdown period. However, to make home purchases more lucrative for buyers, a majority of them offered a complete waiver on the GST during the festive season, to boost sales in 2021. Most developers, who were approached by this writer to offer their quotes on festive sales, said they had offered complete waivers on GST and stamp duty, to attract buyers during the much-talked about festive season that was instrumental in helping the economy recover to some extent, after the lockdown.

See also: Will 2021’s festive season bring cheer to India’s COVID-19-hit housing market?

 

GST fact check: Did you know?

  • Residential projects with up to 15% commercial space, are treated as residential properties under GST.
  • The effective GST on commercial property is 12%.
  • You do not have to pay any GST on the purchase of plots.
  • You do not have to pay any GST on buying a flat that is ready-to-move-in.
  • Landlords do not have to pay GST, unless the tenant is a business company.
  • GST on house registration: GST does not subsume stamp duty or registration charges; you still have to pay these duties while buying a property.
  • GST is applicable on the services that banks offer, as part of the home loan, including processing fee, legal fee, etc.
  • GST has subsumed at least a dozen other taxes.
  • Sellers increase the cost of ready-to-move-in properties, to factor in the GST cost.
  • Despite the applicability of GST, under-construction homes are cheaper than ready homes.

 

Must-know facts about GST

GST is not applicable on ready-to-move-in flats; it is applicable on under-construction flats only

It is important to note that the GST does not cover the real estate sector under its ambit. The tax rate applicable on a property building is charged under ‘work contracts’. This is precisely why a developer cannot charge GST on the sale of ready-to-move-in homes. Upon completion and after receiving the occupancy certificate, a property is categorised as ready-to-move-in and is out of the purview of work contract. In short, the GST would apply on the sale of under-construction properties that have yet to receive the OCs. It also begs mention here that in the previous regime, buyers also had to pay service tax on the purchase of ready-to-move homes.

However, since the developer/owner has paid GST as part of the purchase, he would eventually package this expense as part of the overall cost of the property. This basically means that while there is no GST applicability on ready homes, the buyer ultimately pays it anyhow.

GST on one-time maintenance deposit collected by builders 

The GST is applicable to the one-time maintenance deposit that builders collect from home buyers, the Gujarat bench of the Authority for Advance Rulings (AAR) has said. According to the authority, this charge falls in the category of supply of services and is non-returnable in nature. The AAR, however, added that the GST will be deducted from the maintenance amount when this money is actually spent in carrying out maintenance works in future.

Recall here that most real estate developers collect a one-time maintenance deposit from home buyers, before the formation of the residents’ welfare associations or cooperative housing societies that take over the responsibility of maintenance from the builder.  After the formation of the RWA and CHS, they become solely responsible for the maintenance work and can come up with their own set of rules for calculating maintenance charges. The builder would no longer be able to have a say in the matter.

This individual liability of home buyers is calculated on the basis of the size of the property – a certain per sq ft rate has to be paid by the home buyers. The entire amount collected from buyers as a one-time maintenance charge is then deposited into a common fund and is used for its intended purposes as and when required.

Since there has been an absolute lack of clarity on laws governing collection of this levy, there have been various instances, where disputes have arisen between buyers and developers on the applicability of GST on the one-time maintenance charge.

It has been a common practice among developers to deduct GST at the rate of 18%, right after the collection and then deposit the remaining amount into the common fund. After the AAR ruling, developers will have to deposit all the amount without any GST deduction.

Also note that builders were not liable to pay service tax on such maintenance deposits before the GST regime became applicable in 2017.

With the AAR’s ruling, RWAs and CHSs can now collect the GST from society members as and when the time to utilise this amount comes, since the builder would charge this levy initially. In essence, it is only a deferral of the payment, as far as home buyers are concerned.

GST is not applicable on land transactions

Sale of land is also outside the purview of the GST on construction services, as the sale does not involve the transfer of any goods or services. As the cost of land is a crucial factor that determines property prices, GST provides a standard abatement of 33% of the total contract value, towards value of land for taxable real estate transactions.

Example: How to calculate GST on under-construction flat

Suppose that an under-construction property worth Rs 100 is sold by a builder to a buyer. To calculate the GST on building, Rs 33 will be counted out as the land value and the GST on construction would apply only on the remaining Rs 77.

Rate of GST on developable land

In view of the AAR verdict, buyers will have to pay 18% GST, if they are investing in developable plots. Before the GST regime, sale of immovable properties was excluded from the purview of the value-added tax and thus, only direct taxes like stamp duty and registration charges were paid during such transactions. 

What is developable land?

This begs the question: Are not all plots developable? The answer is, no. Only those plots, where the owner has obtained all the necessary permissions from local and municipal authorities to carry out future development over the land parcel, qualify as developable plots. To facilitate the future development, the owner also has to develop the basic infrastructure. If any or all of these activities have been performed on the land parcel, it would qualify as developable land:

  1. Demarcation of plot
  2. Ground leveling
  3. Boundary wall construction
  4. Road construction
  5. Construction of overhead tanks
  6. Laying work of water pipelines
  7. Laying work of underground sewerage lines
  8. Setting up of water harvesting facility
  9. Setting up of sewage treatments plants
  10. Development of landscaped gardens
  11. Setting up of a drainage system

GST on plot

While the sale of plots is also outside the purview of the GST regime, any small construction on the plot would attract GST. In case of the sale of such a plot, one-third of the value of the plot will be excluded and GST will be levied on the remaining two-third value of the land.

GST on sale of developable plots

While there are no GST implications on the sale of plots, the same is not true if the land parcel for which the transaction is recorded qualifies as developable land.

Before the Gujarat Authority for Advance Rulings (AAR) in a ruling specified that the sale of developed plot was a ‘service’ and thus, taxable under the current regime, the general understanding was that the sale of developable land was out of the purview of the GST. This is because a listing in Schedule-III of the CGST Act establishes that the sale of land and the sale of buildings will be treated neither as supply of goods nor as supply of services.

GST impact on stamp duty and registration charges

Despite the demands made from time to time, ever since the GST regime into force, to discontinue stamp duty and registration charges on property, the government has made no move on this front. Hence, property transactions in India continue to attract stamp duty and registration charges. While states levy stamp duty in the range of 5%-10%, the registration charge is either 1% of the property value or a standard fee.

GST on flat registration

There is no GST on the registration charges that are paid while registering a property. But, can we except GST to subsume stamp duty and registration charges in future? Experts do not think so.

“A large part of the revenue earned by states in India, is through stamp duty on property deals. If states were to let go of this income, the exchequer would suffer much higher losses than it already does. This fact leads us to believe the possibility of the GST subsuming the two charges are nil, at least in the foreseeable future,” says Prabhansu Mishra, a Lucknow-based lawyer.

 

GST real estate timeline

2000

The then PM Atal Behari Vajpyee sets up a panel to design a GST model.

2004

The then finance ministry’s advisor Vijay Kelkar recommends that GST replace the existing tax system.

2006

Former finance minister P Chidambaram sets April 2010 as the deadline for GST implementation in his budget speech.

2011

March 22: Government tables 115th Constitution Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha, to introduce the GST.

2014

December 18: Cabinet approves 122nd Constitution Amendment Bill to GST.

December 19: FM Arun Jaitley introduces the Constitution (122nd) Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha.

2015

May 6: Lok Sabha passes GST Constitutional Amendment Bill.

May 12: The Amendment Bill is presented in the Rajya Sabha.

2016

September 2: 16 states ratify the GST Bill; President gives assent to the Bill.

September 12: Cabinet clears formation of the GST Council.

September 22-23: The GST Council meets for the first time.

November 3: The Council decides on a four-slab tax structure of 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%, plus additional cess on luxury and sin goods.

2017

July 1: GST is rolled out; 8% rate proposed on under-construction properties.

2019

February 24: Government reduces the GST rate on under-construction property to 5% from 12%, and 1% from 8% on affordable housing.

May: Government gives builders a one-time option to choose between the old GST rate with ITC or new lower GST sans ITC. Those not making a choice are automatically switched to the new regime after May 20.

Latest news update on GST

GST on supply of bricks increased to 12%

September 17, 2021: In a meeting held in UP capital Lucknow, the GST Council decided to increase the tax on supply of bricks to 12%, with input tax credit benefits. The hike in the GST rate on supply of bricks will come into effect from April 1, 2022 and may significantly increase the cost of property construction. Earlier, supply of bricks attracted 5% GST without input tax credit benefits.

“Brick kilns would be brought under a special composition scheme with a threshold limit of Rs 20 lakhs, with effect from April 1, 2022. Bricks would attract GST at the rate of 6% without input tax credit under the scheme. GST rate of 12% with ITC would otherwise apply to bricks,” the GST Council said after its meeting on September 17, 2021, in Lucknow, UP.

 

Charges other than construction services will attract 18% GST: Maharashtra AAR

Update on September 7, 2021: Charges that real estate developers demand from home buyers apart from construction services, would attract 18% GST, the Maharashtra Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) has said. These charges often come in the form of utilities or amenities in a housing project.

While stating that charges for services, such as installation of electricity meter, water connection, club house, maintenance and development charges, would neither be considered as composite supply nor treated as construction services, the AAR said that the effective GST rate of 5% will not be applicable on such charges. The ruling by the Maharashtra AAR came on a plea moved by Thane-based Puranik Builders.

***

Costs incurred for refurbishment of offices can be available towards input tax credit, rules Gujarat AAR

Update on August 23, 2021: Costs incurred for refurbishment of offices can be available towards input tax credit under the GST framework, the Gujarat AAR has ruled. “Input tax credit is admissible on new locker cabinets and generators,” the Gujarat AAR said in a recent ruling. This input tax credit could be used to set off future tax liabilities under the GST. Note that so far only the cost that contributes towards the output of a company is eligible for input tax credit. These include raw materials, input services, machinery, etc.

The ruling by the Gujarat AAR is likely to have sweeping effects since a large number of companies are refurbishing their offices, to bring employees back to work, after the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic has been contained.

***

Offering ITC benefit under GST will bring down property rates by 10%: CREDAI

Update on August 13, 2021: Developers’ body CREDAI has urged the government to allow input tax credit (ITC) to builders, saying that this move could bring down the cost of purchase for home buyers by 10%.

Under the new GST regime, a 5% tax is charged without ITC on under-construction properties that are not under the purview of the definition of affordable housing. On affordable housing, the GST rate is 1%, without ITC.

“Owing to the prevailing exorbitant construction costs, we strongly believe that such a move could rationalise housing prices by 10% and spur the supply of affordable housing projects across tier-1 markets,” the CREDAI said, in a statement on August 10, 2021.

“Currently, the total value of per sq ft GST cost in India lies anywhere between Rs 360 and Rs 500, varying from project to project. Owing to the prevalent scheme, this results in a proportionate increase in the construction cost, which is ultimately borne by the home buyers, impacting their purchasing power and overall demand for homes,” the CREDAI stated, indicating that the ITC foregone was more than the GST chargeable at 12%.

Considering that the average housing rates across India range from Rs 4,000-4,500 per sq ft, the absence of ITC leads to an approximate increase in housing prices by Rs 400-450 per sq ft, the CREDAI said.

“While the implementation of GST has been a complete game-changer for the entire economy in the last four years, we strongly believe that Indian real estate still requires certain tweaks and measures, to ensure a more conducive environment for all stakeholders,” CREDAI national president Harsh Vardhan Patodia said, adding that the inability of developers to avail of input tax credit under the current composition scheme was adversely impacting construction costs and housing prices.

The association is also of the view that some construction materials like cement, taxed at 28%, need to be brought down to 12%-18%. “With the increase in prices of cement, steel and metals among others, the GST component on input services have gone up tremendously. All such increases in GST affect the general public at large. In such a scenario, it would be better that there is an opportunity for builders to opt for ITC and charge 12% GST,” said Atul Banshal, CFO, Experion Developers.

***

Builders donating medical equipment to battle second wave of COVID-19 seek GST exemption

Even as they scale up efforts to help authorities battle the extraordinary medical emergency caused by the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, the real estate community has demanded they be offered GST exemption on equipment they have been purchasing, to donate to hospitals.

The government levies GST in the range of 12%-18% on equipment used to battle against the various complications caused by the virus in an infected patient, including oxygen plants, oxygen concentrators, oximeters and oxygen cylinders.

The Jodhpur Builders’ and Developers’ Association has, for example, written to the state administration, seeking GST waiver on the purchase of such equipment, in order to be able to buy more such products which India urgently requires in the wake of soaring infections. The association recently started the process to import 25 oxygen concentrators from China.

Failed land transactions can attract GST

The Gujarat Authority for Advance Rulings has said that if a seller exits a contract, by forfeiting the advance money paid by the buyer, this move will be termed as ‘a service’ under the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, and thus, attract GST. This means that even in case of failed property deals, GST will be applicable. According to the Authority, this forfeiture of advance money will be taxed as supply and the person forfeiting the money will be considered the supplier. The ruling by the AAR came, in response to a case related to a textile company, Fastrack Deal.

GST real estate FAQs

Is real estate included in GST?

GST is applicable on under-construction properties that have not yet received the OC (occupancy certificate).

What is the current GST rate in India for real estate?

With effect from April 1, 2019, 1% GST is charged on affordable residential apartments without ITC, while 5% GST without ITC is charged on other residential properties.

What is GST for under construction property?

With GST rate cut on under-construction properties, the GST for under-construction affordable housing units is 1%, while for non-affordable projects it is 5%, without input tax credit.

How GST impact real estate in India

The GST Council’s decision to reduce the GST rates for under-construction residential housing projects will lead to marginal traction in demand and bring in more transparency for home buyers.

Who pays GST on real estate?

GST is paid by the home buyer and investor, when investing in under-construction properties.

Does a builder have to purchase all goods and services from registered suppliers only to claim ITC?

A promoter should purchase at least 80% goods and services from registered suppliers.

I am a beneficiary of PMAY and carpet area of my house being constructed in an ongoing project is 150 sq metres. Am I eligible for new rate of 1% on same?

You are eligible for the new GST rate of 1%, if the developer has not exercised the option to pay tax on construction of apartments at the old rate of 8%.

Can a developer take deduction of actual value of land involved in the sale of a unit, instead of taking deduction of deemed value of land?

No, only one-third abatement is offered towards value of land while charging GST.

Since when do new GST rates apply?

The new GST rates without ITC, will apply on all housing projects launched after April 1, 2019.

What tax rate is applicable if part of the payment for an under-construction unit is paid after March 31, 2019?

The new flat GST rate 2020 will apply on the part payment, unless the builder has decided to go with the earlier tax rate.

What are the 3 types of GST?

GST in India is of three types: Central Goods and Service Tax (CGST), State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) or Union Territory Goods and Services Tax (UTGST), and Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST).

 

Was this article useful?
  • 😃 (121)
  • 😐 (11)
  • 😔 (7)

[fbcomments]