Guide to Income Tax for Apartment Associations

Income Tax for Housing Societies

For most apartment associations, member contributions form the major chunk of their income. These contributions by members are credited to different heads by the housing association. These include Maintenance charges, Property Tax, Sinking Fund, Municipal taxes, etc. This income that the society generates is used to meet the day-to-day expenses of the society. The expenses and any amount that is left over after making payments are not subject to income tax. Because of this some members assume that housing associations are exempt from paying any kind of tax. This is not so. Apart from member contributions, a housing society may generate income from other sources as well, some of which can be taxable. As per the provisions of the Income-tax Act, Co-operative Societies are treated as an association of persons and are supposed to file the Income Tax returns if this income is in excess of Rs.20,000/.

To pay Income Tax, a Co-operative Society should get a Permanent Account Number by making an application in Form No. 49A. Since housing associations generate income to provide services to themselves rather than to generate profit, there are many exemptions that they can avail of. The deductions in respect of income are provided under Section 80P of the Income Tax Act. Each of these deductions is distinct and independent and the category of income needs to be considered to decide under which head the deduction belongs to.

Let’s take a look at some of the heads under which income is taxable and the exemptions available:

Non –Occupancy Charges

If monthly charges paid by members are not taxable, why should that paid by non-occupying members be taxable? The logic that the Income Tax department uses is simple. It levies tax on non-occupancy charge on members because the owner of the apartment / flat is paying for facilities that he/she is not enjoying. This is in contrast to residing members who are paying for facilities that they are utilizing.

Transfer fee

Whenever a member transfers his share, rights and interest in a property, the member has to pay a transfer fee to the housing society. According to the Model Bye Law, the transfer amount is to be fixed by the general body meeting. However, the amount shall not exceed Rs. 25,000. This amount is taxable under the Income Tax Act.

Rental income from advertisement hoardings

The amount earned as rent from advertisement hoardings in the society premises is fully taxable under the head Business Income / Income from other sources. However any expenses that can be directly attributable to the earning of this income can be claimed as deduction.

Rental from Cable and Mobile Towers

Similar to the revenue earned from advertisement hoardings, the rental earned from Cable and Mobile Towers is taxable under the head Income from House Property. Under this head, it is also eligible for standard deduction u/s 24 (a) @ 30 % of the rent. In case the society has borrowed capital to construct any infrastructure to support the Cable / Mobile Towers then a proportionate deduction can be claimed for interest paid on the borrowed capital.

Rental from Open Spaces/Terraces

Open spaces and terraces can be rented out to members as well as outsiders. If the area is rented out to Members then the income will not be taxable. However, if the rent has been received by non-members then the income is taxable under the head Income from House Property & will qualify for deductions as mentioned earlier.

Parking and Shop Rental Charges

Parking charges levied by members is not liable for tax as it is part of the income that is paid by members for the services used by the members. However, the amount that is earned from outsiders vehicles is liable for Income Tax.
Some societies have shops within its premises. The maintenance charges and any other income earned from these shops are taxable if it serves non-residents. But if it is only for the purpose of the residents, then any income earned from it is not taxable.

Interest on investments and Dividends

Housing societies may invest their excess funds to earn interest on it. This investment can be in Co-operative banks or any other institution. The interest that the society earns on investments made in Co-operative Banks qualifies for deduction @ 100% under section 80P (d). Other income, however, is fully taxable. Similarly dividend income received from Indian Companies under section u/s 10 (34) and Co-operative Banks under section 80P (d) are 100% deductible.

Miscellaneous Income

Sometimes, the housing society may receive an additional amount from a builder for additional floors to be built. In such a case, the income earned will be termed as short term capital gains if the society is less than three years old and the entire amount will be taxable. If the society is more than three years old then it will be treated as long term capital gains which it can invest in suitable instruments to gain tax exemption u/s 54EA/EB.

Slabs and Deductions

A Co-operative society qualifies for a general deduction of Rs. 50,000 under section 80 P (2) (c) against any business income.

The income tax slab for societies is as follows:

Income up to Rs. 10,000 10 %
Income up to Rs. 20,000 20 %
Above Rs. 20,000/- 30 %

The applicable Education and Higher Education Cess would have to be added to this.

This article aims at collating and providing a ready to use guideline for treasurers of the association for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. While ApnaComplex has taken every care to ensure the information is accurate, we suggest to please use the information in the article as a guidance and do your own due diligence before calculating the tax. If you need professional advice on this topic and any other property related matters, please send your request through our contact us form.