GST Impact on Housing Societies or RWA
Co-operative Housing Societies are entities registered under the co-operative laws of the respective States.
According to Section 2(16) of the Maharashtra Co-operative Society Act, 1960, “housing society” means a society, the object of which is to provide its members with open plots for housing, dwelling houses or flats; or if open plots, the dwelling houses or flats are already acquired, to provide its members common amenities and services.
Simply put these are a collective body of persons, who stay in a residential society. As a collective body, they would be supplying certain services to its members, be it collecting statutory dues from its members and remitting to statutory authorities, maintenance of the building, security etc.
Co-operative Housing Societies – whether amenable to levy of GST
A Society is akin to a club, which is composed of its members. So, can a service provided by a Housing Society to its members be treated as service provided by one person to another. The answer is yes. The following extracts of the GST law will make the position clear.
As per Section 9 of CGST Act, 2017, levy of GST is on supply of goods and services. As per Section 7 expression “supply” includes––
(a) all forms of supply of goods or services or both such as sale, transfer, barter, exchange, licence, rental, lease or disposal made or agreed to be made for a consideration by a person in the course or furtherance of business;
The definition of “person” in Section 2(84) (i) of the CGST Act, 2017 specifically includes a co-operative society registered under any law relating to co-operative societies. Thus a registered co-operative society is a person within the meaning of the term in the CGST Act.
The next question which arises is whether the activity of the society can be said to be in the course or furtherance of business. The definition of business as per section 2(17) of the CGST Act, 2017 is as under
(a) any trade, commerce, manufacture, profession, vocation, adventure, wager or any other similar activity, whether or not it is for a pecuniary benefit;
(b) any activity or transaction in connection with or incidental or ancillary to sub-clause (a);
(c) any activity or transaction in the nature of sub-clause (a), whether or not there is volume, frequency, continuity or regularity of such transaction;
(d) supply or acquisition of goods including capital goods and services in connection with commencement or closure of business;
(e) provision by a club, association, society, or any such body (for a subscription or any other consideration) of the facilities or benefits to its members;
(f) admission, for a consideration, of persons to any premises;
(g) services supplied by a person as the holder of an office which has been accepted by him in the course or furtherance of his trade, profession or vocation;
(h) services provided by a race club by way of totalisator or a licence to book maker in such club ; and
(i) any activity or transaction undertaken by the Central Government, a State Government or any local authority in which they are engaged as public authorities.
Thus, as per section 2(17)(e) of the CGST Act, 2017provision by a club, association, society, or any such body (for a subscription or any other consideration) of the facilities or benefits to its members is deemed to be a business. The activities of the housing society would thus attract the levy of GST and the housing society would be required to register and comply with the GST Law.
Compliance requirements for housing societies under GST
If the turnover of housing society is above 20 lakhs, it needs to take registration under GST in terms of Section 22 of the CGST Act, 2017. However, taking registration does not mean that the housing society has to compulsorily charge GST in the monthly maintenance bills raised on its members. Notification No.12/2017 -Central Tax (Rate) dated 28.06.2017 at sr.no.77 provides for the following exemption to housing societies:
Service by an unincorporated body or a non- profit entity registered under any law for the time being in force, to its own members by way of reimbursement of charges or share of contribution –
(a) as a trade union;
(b) for the provision of carrying out any activity which is exempt from the levy of Goods and service Tax; or
(c) up to an amount of five thousand rupees per month per member for sourcing of goods or services from a third person for the common use of its members in a housing society or a residential complex
In view of the provision contained at (c) above, a society may be registered under GST, however if the monthly contribution received from members is less than Rs.5, 000/-(and the amount is for the purpose of sourcing of goods and services from a third person for the common use of its members), no GST is to be charged by the housing society on the monthly bill raised by the society. However, GST would be applicable if the monthly contribution exceeds Rs. 5, 000/-.
Certain statutory dues such as property tax, electricity charges etc. form part of the monthly maintenance bill raised by the society on its members. The question would arise whether such charges should be included while computing the monthly limit of Rs.5000/- in terms of clause (c) of sr.no.77 of notification 12/2017 -Central Tax (Rate) dated 28.06.2017. As per clause (b) of the above exemption, exemption is available to housing societies for provision of carrying out any activity which is exempt from the levy of Goods and Services Tax assuming that a housing society is a non-profit registered entity; and property tax and electricity is exempt from the levy of GST. Thus, charges, collected by the society on account of property tax, electricity charges and other statutory levies would be excluded while calculating the limit of Rs.5,000/-.
Further, the question would then arise that if the monthly bill is say Rs. 6,000/- (and the same is on account of services for common use of its members), will GST be applicable on Rs. 6,000/- or Rs.1, 000/-. In such cases, exemption is available up to an amount of Rs.5, 000/ and GST would be applicable on the amount in excess of Rs.5, 000/-
Source: Tax Guru (Link)