GST for Housing Societies Issues .& Challenges

Government of India is pushing for Implementation of GST on the 1″ of July 2017. In the latest GST Council .meeting held on the 3rd of June 2017, all the States have also agreed to the implementation date as it of July 2017.

Since GST deals with all sorts of goods and . services, manufacture, import, export, trade, etc. while addressing the requirements of the specific sector of Housing Societies , many practical issues arise and are not addressed properly.

This article is an attempt to understand these constraints.

1. Registration : Every Society with an aggregate turnover of over Rs 20 lakhs is required to be registered under GST. The aggregate turnover includes all maintenance charges (Other- than Municipal Tax), any miscellaneous income, and includes Bank interests.

Further, every society engaging an advocate or an advocate firm, needs, to register. under GST , even if the aggregate turnover, is less than Rs 20 lakhs, since Advocate Services is categorized under Reverse Charge.

While a simple window of  “Composite Levy” is available for Manufacturing/ Trading Sectors, the same is not available to Housing Society Sector.

2. Exemption: Payment of Municipal Tax may be considered as Payment on behalf of Member as an Agent, and maybe treated as outside the purview of GST and hence not taxable.

Water charges, may be treated as Supply of Goods, and hence attracts GST at “zero %” as per the GST Rate table.

Members in a GST Registered Society are exempted and will not be charged GST, if the maintenance charges on “Charges”/ Contributions” are less than Rs 5000 per month. Here, only ‘Charges for “Sourcing’ of goods or services from third party, for the common use” are to be considered. Thus, while ‘water charges, electricity charges, service charges, repair fund / maintenance charges, insurance premium, etc, are included while calculating the amount of Rs 5000/-, vehicle parking charges, non _occupancy charges, share transfer premium, hall booking charges and similar other charges are not included.

The challenge for a housing society is to identify the members for application of GST and also identification of billing heads for considering the limit of Rs 5000/-.

Also it is not clear whether for a member who is not in the exemption category, GST is to be charged on the amount exceeding this limit or for the entire amount. Going by Service Tax provisions, from which the exemption criteria is picked, GST is to be applied on the entire amount and not on the amount exceeding Rs 5000/-.

3. Invoicing : GST provisions require that Taxable and Exempt amounts must not be included in the same invoice. For Taxable amounts, tax invoice has to be issued, and for exempt amounts, bill of supply has to be issued.

4. Arrears : Even if a member has not made the payment, the GST charged to the member must be paid. Interest on arrears also attracts GST. Even this has to be paid once interest bill is raised on the member. Arrears problem itself is a challenge to Housing Societies.

5. Advances : GST has to be paid on the Advance Maintenance Charges Received; and adjusted against the invoice. when raised later. To distinguish the Advance against Taxable and Non taxable amount, and to calculate the GST on the same, keep a track of the same month after month is again a challenge.

6. Reverse Charge:  On certain services, in particular for Services by an Advocate, GST will not be charged by the Supplier, But the GST has to be calculated and paid to the Govt. by the Society. Similarly, if the Society is procuring Services from any Unregistered Vendor, [ which is very common for Housing Societies], GST has to be calculated and paid by the Society. The GST rate may change from Vendor to Vendor depending on the kind of Supply [ service or Goods] , and its category. Again , since the invoice does not reveal the GST rate, it is again a challenge to know the GST rate for each category and pay.

7. Input Tax Credit : The Societies are allowed to avail Input Credits on GST paid by them to the various Vendors or through Reverse Charge. [ In case of Reverse Charge, the credit is available only in the month next in which GST is-paid: ] . Again, if the Vendor has not made the payment of the GST before the due date, the ITC availed by the Society will be reversed by the GSTN

Input Tax on Capital Goods [Fixed Assets] is adjustable over a period of five years. To keep a track of this is a challenge.

If the Society has all its members under the exempt category, then the entire ITC, that are
attributable to exempt services will not be available. If the Society does not have any member under the exempt category, all the input Tax is available is ITC. However, where there is a mix of these two kinds,-the situation becomes challenging. Only proportionate Input Tax is available. for ITC. This proportion is required to be calculated every month and applied accordingly

8.Accounting: Most of the Accountants book expenditure directly without creating any vendor. Under GST, every Invoice has to be booked first, and then payment made against this invoice is required to be accounted: The Voucher posting work of the Accountant increases almost three fold.

9 Rectification of the Accounting Entries: Since all the rectifications in accounting entries.made are ‘required to be reported in subsequent Reports, of GST, one has to keep a track of the rectifications done.

10. GSTN : All GST related issues [Reports and Payments] are handled through an online application GSTN. For making payments, one has to download a challan and make the payment online or through any authroised Bank. Many Societies do not even have Computers and transactions online itself becomes a Challenge.

11 Reports : This becomes the most challenging part. Most of the Societies do not have any full time Accountant. But the requirement of Reports is very much time bound. GSTR -1 is required to he filed on or before 10th of each month. GSTR-2 is required to be filed on or before 15th of each month, Between 15th and 17th of each month, one has to tally the GSTR- 1 of the input Supplier with our GSTR-2 , and ensure that the two match each other By 20th one has to pay the Tax, and Submit the Tax return in GSTR- 3.

In addition, there will be GSTR- 9 , an Annual Return and GSTR – 9B [ GSTR Audit Report, if the aggregate turnover, exceeds Rs 1 Cr ] to be filed on .or before 31st of December. This will reconcile the GST-payments vis-a-vis the audited statement of accounts, of the Society.

The compliance requirement of GST is very high. For very big societies, the cost increase is shared by a larger number of members. But for smaller societies, the cost increase becomes a very high burden on,the members. But this should not be a reason for not complying with the GST requirements. Since the invoices raised by Registered Suppliers on Unregistered persons are all uploaded in the GSTN, the chances of getting detected, if not Registered, is very high. While interest and penalty will be charged on the detected evaded tax, input Tax credit, including the One on Reverse Tax basis, which May be a very huge, will not be available.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Mohanraj Yenagudde is a the Director of a Leading Company providing Billing / Accounts / Management / Consultancy and _Compliance Services under the name Society123 Support Services Pvt Ltd (Formerly Pangal Computer Services Pvt Ltd) to Housing Societies. for the last thirty years. Ph:- 9820090808 email : Mohanraj@society123.com

Courtesy : MSWA’s Housing Societies Review – August 2017

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