Check GST from builders before buying a house

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HYDERABAD: Goods and Services Tax (GST) is often confusing for new house buyers as builders quote different rates for under construction projects. Some builders are even demanding GST for completed projects having occupancy certificate (OC) — a case where it is not applicable.

According to the GST Council, different tax rates are applicable to various materials and services used during construction. It leads to builders paying different GST amount from project to project. As builders are eventually transferring the GST burden on to house buyers, it is essential for the people to know what should be kept in mind while buying a new house.

“Different GST rates are applicable on different construction materials. Cement is charged 28 per cent, works contract 18 per cent and building bricks 5 per cent. As the GST varies from item to item and also from location to location, builders are calculating the whole amount and charging buyers. These variations are adding to the confusion,” says Gummi Ram Reddy, president, CREDAI’s Telangana unit.

“It is difficult to come up with a uniform rate. Therefore, the best way for a buyer is to inquire about each project separately and find out how much GST amount is being incurred so that they don’t end up paying more.”

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According to the GST Council, new under construction house sare defined as a complex, building, civil structure or a part thereof, intended for sale to a buyer, wholly or partly (the value of land is deemed to be one-third of the total amount charged for such supplies) and the rate is fixed at 12 per cent. But,
realtors are quoting rates ranging from 6 to 12 per cent to the prospective buyers.

“Builders are charging different GST rates depending upon market conditions prevailing in cities and project locations. While some builders are paying GST  thmeselves and absorbing the amount into the final sale price, some are directly transferring the GST burden on home buyers,” asserts Samantak Das, Chief Economist and National Director-Research, Knight Frank India.

“Therefore, buyers should ask a builder whether the price quoted is including or excluding the GST. If it is excluding the GST, then they should ask the builder as to how much input credit will be reimbursed to them after the GST payment. They should demand reimbursement of the input tax credit, which home buyers are entitled to.”

Buyers can take advantage of completed projects which have got Occupancy Certificate (OC), for avoiding the GST.

“There is no GST on completed projects which already have Occupancy Certificate. Therefore, when a builder quotes GST on a completed project, then a home buyer should ask him whether the project has got an Occupancy Certificate or not,” says K Sreedhar Reddy, treasurer, Telangana Real Estate Developers Association (TREDA). “If it has got an OC, then GST should not be paid.”

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