Impact of The Goods & Service Tax - GST
The most ground-breaking tax connected reforms in some decades to be seen in India is the Goods and Service Tax – GST that will eradicate the incompatible as well as mounting taxation arrangements which have confused various industries over the last few decades.
It would positively tend to have a deep effect on the economic prospects of India. An individual indirect tax covering the goods and services would tend to increased tax collection in the long run by making it simple for retailers together with many other businesses in complying as well as regulating the overall taxation stages. The favourable outcome of this new taxation administration would only become apparent within 2-3 years after its implementation.
In spite of the announcement of the tax structure of the goods and services tax – GST, a lot of speculation would be there with regards to tax rate being applicable to the real estate as well as construction industry. It would be untimely to comment at this point of time since the tax rate has not yet been decided. Prospects for the real estate would be in the bracket of 12% but the GST rate does not seem to be the only significant element.
GST – Tax Neutral/Tad AdverseIt is a known fact that real estate sector tends to play a vital part in employment generation in India and ranks second after agriculture. The significance of real estate segment is comprehended with its average 5-6% GDP contribution as well as stimulating demand for over 250 subsidiary industries.
The real estate segment is said to have a considerable growth of about 22% in its private equity reserves from 2015 to 2016. During the third quarter of 2016, there was an increase of 9% in investments for residential properties from previous quarter.
The reduction rules for developers applicable under service tax system together with the input tax credit facility would be determined if the effective tax incidence on real estate would be lower or higher under GST. Meritoriously the composition system enables reduction against the cost of land up to 75% of the cost of the house for residential units at a price under I crores IND and less than 2000 sq.ft. tends to make the effective rate at 3,75%.The reduction in other cases seems to go below 70% thus making the effective rate at 4% which will go a long way in defining whether GST would be tax neutral or tax adverse in the case of real estate.
Uncertainties to Rental Housing MarketSome clarity on reduction for under construction houses as well as input tax credit benefit for developers has been offered by the government. Considering the residential property sector, the sales have not only been obstructed by tax rates but also by sentiment as well as on account of the trust deficit that the Real Estate Regulation & Development Act or RERA, it now seeks to report. Under GST, if cost tends to go higher, the lower prevailing current home loan rates to some extent could ease the impact.
Investors and buyers together with the developers are reasonably anxious that the final ticket size of the homes would escalate if the Government levies GST at 12% as against the prevailing service tax rates. Further clarity on this is anticipated by the developers though they are aware that it is in the interest of their business in keeping ticket sizes range-bound.
Developing market dynamics have already made a change in a way the developers tend to work. Other uncertainties relate to the rental housing market that would logically be the obstructed if the Government tend to tax residential leases under GST.
Rental Profit/Capital Value AppreciationThe common anxiety is that should this occur, the rental housing segment would see a big slump over the medium-term as residential leases are not taxed at all presently. It is appropriate to note that the residential leasing could be an essential demand that would not disappear just by increased taxes.
Undoubtedly, we could be viewing at rental lack of progress or marginal decline while the market readapts to the new dynamics that GST would permeate. Rental housing demand however tends to be sticky and end-user-driven in nature. Hence we are certainly not watching for major slump in this sector due to GST even if it does not tend to tax residential leases.
Nonetheless it is true that most of the investors in the residential segment do not tend to invest for rental profit but for capital value appreciation and so reduced rental profits would not freely control sentiment. With regards to the impact of GST on the commercial office real estate market, with the prevailing service tax for commercial leases at 15%, GST overall would be probably neutral.
Presently reasonably priced housing has been exempted from service tax and it is possible that the government would come out with a clarification with regards to the applicability or tend to continue the exemption under the GST.