GST Registration Guide - Everything You Need to Know

Following important Documents are required for Registration:

  • PAN card of society.
  • Bank statement of Society.
  • Authorization letter
  • Society Registration Certificate
  • Authorization person address proof
  • Certified Society Resolution - Conveyance - AGM / SGBM.
  • Authorized person Photograph
  • Digital signature Certificate of Authorised Person

How to avoid GST levy on housing societies?

The GST bill has proposed that a CHS collecting Rs 7500 or more per month from a society member or if the annual maintenance collection is more than Rs.20 lakh.

If you are paying Rs 7500 or more per month as maintenance charges to your co- operative housing society (CHS), then you may have to pay the Goods & Service Tax (GST) at the rate of 18% on the maintenance charges from July 1, 2017.

The GST bill has proposed that a CHS collecting Rs 7500 or more per month from a society member or if the annual maintenance collection of the CHS is above Rs 20 lakh, then18% tax would be levied on the CHS.

However, if you or your society wish to avoid paying GST, your society will have to rework the maintenance bill heads appropriately.

The GST is not applicable on municipal tax, property tax, water bill, non-agricultural land tax, sinking fund, etc. All other charges, including repair fund, attract the 18% GST levy.

Hence, the CHS can create separate heads of expenses that are not liable to tax and the balance maintenance charges and repair fund can be shown separately for the purpose of GST. This would help avoid paying the GST completely or reduce the amount of GST payable by the society.

If the society’s maintenance amount is less than Rs 7500 per member, but if the society’s membership base is large and the total collection exceeds Rs 20 lakh per annum, the society would be liable to pay GST. Such societies can split their buildings to form separate societies so that the collection amount per society does not cross the threshold limit of Rs 20 lakh.

The division of a society into multiple societies may be quite cumbersome and time- consuming, but it would be a good solution to avoid paying the GST.

When is GST applicable on maintenance charges?

Maintenance charges were subject to the levy of service tax earlier, if the aggregate of the maintenance charges levied by the housing society exceeded Rs 10 lakhs in a financial year. Under the GST, this threshold limit has been raised to Rs 20 lakhs. So, a housing society will have to collect GST from its members if the aggregate of the charges during a financial (whether subject to GST or not) exceeds Rs 20 lakhs. The society, therefore, will have to obtain a registration under the GST for this purpose.

However, even if the society obtains this registration, it cannot levy GST, if the maintenance charge for a flat does not exceed Rs 7500 per month.

So, in case the aggregate of the charges levied by the housing society does not exceed Rs 20 lakhs in a year, it need not register under the GST. Therefore, it need not levy GST on the maintenance charges recovered from its members, even though the individual monthly charges for a flat may exceed Rs 7500. In case of flats of different sizes in a housing society, it may happen that the monthly bill for smaller flats may be less than Rs 7500 and thus, outside the levy of the GST. The other members having larger flats in the same housing society, may have to pay GST.

On what component of maintenance charges is the GST levied?

It is not that the society shall collect the GST on all the components recovered from the members. The housing society will not recover GST from you, on charges in the nature of reimbursement of expenses incurred by the society and recovered from members. These include various taxes paid by the housing society on behalf of the members, like municipal tax, property tax, water bill, non-agricultural land tax, etc.

See also:GST on real estate: How will it impact home buyers and the industry

Likewise, contribution towards the sinking fund, is also excluded from the scope of GST. However, the housing society will have to levy GST on the contribution towards the repairs funds, collected from its members.

Rate of GST, input tax credits and the reverse charge mechanism

The housing society will have to levy GST at 18 per cent, on the maintenance charges recovered from its members. The housing society can avail of the input credit, for the GST paid by it on various supplies received by it (for example, services like security or payment of audit fees). Although the society will be able to avail the input credit for such items, it cannot reduce the rate of GST being charged to its members. The society will also have to payGST under the reverse charge mechanism, in case it is registered under GST, on all the services or goods received by it from unregistered suppliers. The society will be entitled to claim set off of the GST paid on such supplies, against its GST liability with respect to maintenance charges.

It may also happen that the society may be paying GST at different rates, for the goods and services purchased by it and availing of the input credit on it.

Hence, the society may recover lower maintenance charges, to pass on the benefits of these input credits. The exact benefit of lower maintenance charges, will depend on the input credit available, as well as its liability under the reverse charge mechanism. With the necessity of having to file monthly returns under the GST regime, the overall costs may go up for the society. Due to the higher rate under the GST, as well as the reverse charge mechanism and increased compliance costs, the monthly outgo of flat owners could increase.

Advantage of Registration under GST

GST provided input credit benefit for all the Goods purchased or services availed by the society i.e. Lift AMC, Housekeeping, Security, Fire AMC, Repairs & Maintenance, Contract staff, Accounting & Auditing Services, Software Portal & other services etc.

For example, if the GST will be charged @ 18% (or at applicable rates/ Reverse charge)) for the services availed or goods purchased for these goods and services, same will be available for input to the society and can claim as refund if no output liability or fall under exemption with minimal compliance cost.(Subject to input tax credit apportionment for taxable and exempted services). Earlier there was no credit available for good purchased for the society, under GST society can avail the benefit of input. This will reduce the overall cost to the society.