Collection Gateway is a unique solution offered by ApnaComplex to make a Housing Society collections 100% Cashless. Collection Gateway was launched in later part of 2015 and is now used by thousands of apartments every month to pay their maintenance and other dues to the society.
Customers using Collection Gateway have immensely benefited from
(a) Automated Receipt issuance for IMPS/NEFT payments made by members
(b) Lower convenience charges (and almost negligible) compared to Payment Gateway
(c) Zero Suspense Entries in the Society’s Bank Account
Societies adopting Collection Gateway shall see the benefits instantly. The efforts put in by treasurer drops by close to 90%. For societies using an accountant to manage book – Collection Gateway saves significant efforts as the following activities are eliminated:
(a) Responding to member’s queries on the payment they have made but receipt was not yet issued
(b) Checking Bank statement every other day to issue receipts
(c) Sending Notices to Owners/Residents on Suspense Deposit Entries in the Society’s Bank Account
(d) Easy/Automated publishing of Defaulters Report as the report is always accurate without any manual intervention
(e) Automated Email/SMS/Push Reminders to Follow up on Defaulters
In short Collection Gateway helps in reducing your society maintenance efforts and thus the Society Maintenance Charges.
Best of all, Collection Gateway works with your existing Bank Account of the society and existing Bank Accounts of the Members. There is NO NEED to open a new Bank account – either by Society or by Members.
Impact of GST on Co-operative Housing Societies Maintenance Dues / Corpus Fund / Common Area Expenses
Co-operative Housing Societies are merely a collecting and pass through mechanism like in case of property tax, water charges, common area repairs and maintenance etc. It can be contended that no activity is carried out by a society for its members. There may be various service providers providing service to the society which is the legal owner of the building including that of common areas, for e.g. repairs service providers, maintenance service providers, security agencies etc. Thus, the society is receiver of service and not provider of service. If a member’s flat or office premises require repairs, the same is obtained directly by the member and the society is not involved in provision of that service. Further no consideration is flowing from the members to the society except allocation and collection of expense. Any such payments without quid-pro-quo of a service cannot be liable to tax. Thus, it can be argued that even under the new dispensation, service tax is not applicable in case of a co-operative society when any activity is carried out for no consideration and the same would be continued under the GST Act.
Service tax on co-operative societies is a contentious issue. In a co-operative housing society, the land and building belongs to the society and the members by virtue of their membership of the society have right to occupy, enjoy and transfer their flats, subject to the prevailing rules and regulations and bye-laws of the society which are required to be approved by the specified authorities under the law. A co-operative housing society is a collective mechanism wherein it make payments of property tax and like payment to the municipal corporation and other Government bodies, incur some expense for common good and allocate and collect the expense in form of certain charges from the members on some basis or as per the resolutions passed in the General Body Meetings. Such collections are generally in the form of reimbursements. Some of the functions of a co-operative housing society are statutory functions like transfer of shares of the members with the underlined interest in the property (flats). It works on mutuality principles as the function of the society is for the members and by the members. Though it is not the objective, it is possible that at the end of a particular period, the society may generate some surplus which is used for members in future. In case of deficit, the same is made good by contributions from its members. However, such surplus or deficit cannot be said to be consideration for providing any service.
It is clear that a co-operative housing society collects the expenditure incurred either for some specific purpose like municipal taxes, water charges etc. on the basis of area of flats or some other appropriate basis. Such recoveries are in the nature of reimbursements. There is no element of service in case of “reimbursement of expense” and thus the charge (S. 66) fails as per the judgement of Hon’ble Delhi High Court in one of the case. If viewed in this context, service tax or GST on Co-operative Housing Societies cannot be applied on mere allocation / collection / reimbursement of expenditure. Some of the expenditures classified as follows are taxable under the current tax regime:
Collection of property tax is statutory levy by a municipal corporation or a local authority under the Constitution of India. A society is a mere collecting agent and pays the same to the authority. There is no element of service in it. Even assuming it as a service, it is not provided for a consideration. Hence service tax is not leviable. As an abundant caution, the society should ensure that the amount collected from the members does not exceed the actual amount. Same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.
Maintenance and Repair Charges:
‘Maintenance’ as the name suggest is the amount collectively reimbursed to the society to upkeep and maintain the building and premises on regular basis. The members of the society pay maintenance charges on some predetermined basis as decided in the General Body Meeting. Electricity charges for common areas, watchman or security charges and other miscellaneous expenses incurred by the society including accounting, audit etc. is part of maintenance charges. Service tax may be applicable on this. If the actual service provider in relation to any input service, charges service tax in his bill, the society would be eligible to take CENVAT credit of the same and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.
Car parking is in relation to regulate the parking place between the members and providing of space by use of vacant land belonging to the society for a consideration. There is an element of service in it and thus service tax may be leviable and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.
Water is “goods” under the Sales of Goods Act, 1935. However, the society is not selling the water to its members. It is just providing the pipeline to deliver water in the members’ premises. So long as it is collecting actual amounts as charged by the municipal corporation, there may not be any consideration. Therefore, charges recovered from members on actual basis are not liable to service tax. In the event of collection of water charges exceeding the payments, only such extra amount can be chargeable to service tax. In relation to water for common use like swimming pool, garden, club house etc., it is advisable to have separate meter and separate collection from the members. Such charges for use of water for common purpose may be liable to service tax and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.
Charges for use of Club House, Swimming Pool, etc.:
These are specific services by the society to the member opting for such facilities. Any consideration paid for this would be liable to service tax and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.
Share Transfer Fees and Donations:
Share transfer fees are the amount charged by the society for transfer of shares when a member approaches for its consent for transfer of his flat. It falls within the definition of service as a consideration for an activity carried out for the member for transfer of his lat. There is an element of service in it and service tax may be leviable on the same and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.
It is a fund which is collected by the members of the society to set aside money over a time of period to meet the eventuality of reconstruction of the building. It is obligatory for a housing society to collect Sinking Fund under the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960 and rules made thereunder. The fund collected from a member is transferred to new member if the original member ceases to be a member. No definite service or contractual obligation is involved so far as collection of sinking fund is concerned. It’s a mere collection from the members of the society.
Repair Fund/Painting Fund:
Like sinking fund, this is also a mere collection to meet eventuality of major repair expenditure in future. There is no promise to provide a definite service with any identified time frame. No expense is also identified. It is also not sure that a member from whom the repair fund is collected would be a receiver of service at the time when it is actually provided. The agreement to provide service to the member is absent. However, as an abundant caution, the society should bring out this candidly in the resolution pertaining to collection of repair fund to avoid any ambiguity.
Non Occupancy Charges
Non occupancy charges are charges levied by a housing society only when a flat or unit is let out by its members. A unit in a co-operative Housing Society is for occupation and enjoyment of its members. The permission of the society is necessary when the unit is let out. The society may accord its permission in accordance with the provision of its bye-laws and on payment of some periodical charge. Such charge is a consideration for agreeing to let out its premises and may be liable to service tax. Thus any consideration for allowing a member to let out his premises may be liable to service tax under the relevant clause of the Finance Act, 1994 and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.
In terms of above discussion, all the charges upon which service tax is leviable if it exceeds the limit of Rs. 5,000 p.m. per member in a housing society. If a person owns two flats, for all practical purpose it would be considered as two members. The exemption would be accordingly computed and then the remaining would be liable to service tax and the same taxability would be continued under the GST Act.
Rate of Tax and Exemption Benefit under GST
As per existing Tax structure currently service tax is charged @ 15% & whereas as per proposed GST tax @ 18% will be charged on Supply of Services but in existing tax structure assesses is not able to take the input tax credit benefit of goods & services whereas in proposed GST system assesses will be able to take credit of supply of both goods & services which will cover difference of additional 3% GST on Co-operative Housing Societies up to a level.
However, the exact rates applicable to particular goods and services have not been yet finalized for GST on Co-operative Housing Societies.
In case of a housing society or residential complex, the exemption is limited to 5,000 p.m. per member for sourcing of goods or services from a third person for the common use of its members.
Total Maintenance Recovery from members of the Society is less than 20 Lakhs per Annum.
RWA / Housing societies will need to charge 18% GST to its members if maintenance recovery is more than Rs.5,000/- per month per member AND if total maintenance recovery by the society exceeds Rs. 20 lakhs per annum. Accordingly, societies who fulfill either of the conditions will need to register under GST and charge 18% on their collections from Members from July 1st on wards. Please note that the Rs. 5,000/- per member per month exemption was available in the Service Tax regime as well and is being continued under GST regime.
Disclaimer: This information is offered as a public service. While we try to make it accurate as possible as on the date of publication, the laws change and more importantly the way we interpret laws could also change. We cannot promise that this information is always up-to-date and correct. We strongly recommend you to consult appropriate professional advisers to understand the actual impact for your society. We are not responsible for any actions or non-actions that are done by you based on the information present in this article or any other article on this blog.
It’s that time of the year when almost everyone around you is coming up with ways of making the incoming year more productive. Some people have been planning their new year resolutions since the latter half of the year. Piling on one promise after another with a failed attempt at each is not the way to go, is it? Well, ApnaComplex is happy to lend a helping hand. Here are 5 easy new year resolutions in case you haven’t got on to the ‘change is good’ wagon yet. Trust us, these are more helpful than you’d know.
Save water –
With all the global warming signs getting bigger and bigger, doing your bit for the planet will only make you feel good about the next year. Tracking water usage levels and avoiding water wastage is one option. ApnaComplex provides you with Water Monitor, a water tracking app that allows you to track the volume of water being used by your society. A plus point is that it tracks the billing as per water usage too. Find out more about Water Monitor here.
Avoid preventable theft –
This one leans towards those who have faced theft issues in the past. Why offer a chance when there doesn’t have to be one? One aspect of this problem is vehicle theft. ApnaComplex’s solution to that is Vehicle Sentry, a vehicle tracking system that lets you stay aware of your vehicle’s whereabouts. Know more about Vehicle Sentry here.
Family safety –
For all those who believe that safety in any form can never be enough, ApnaComplex has Gatekeeper, a visitor tracking app. Gatekeeper lets you know about your visitor beforehand and lets you verify their entry. Be aware of who knocks on your door. Stay alert with Gatekeeper here.
Spend less –
Everyone can cash in on this new year resolution. Spending less is never an idea that is unwelcome. One way of going about with this is by holding less change in your pockets and using cashless services. Collection Gateway by ApnaComplex is another such service that lets you pay maintenance dues via NEFT or RTGS. Here’s why Collection Gateway should be your new year resolution this year.
Make lives easier –
Why not have an easy management system in place for those who work hard at settling the books in your society? Get some good karma under your belt by getting ApnaComplex for your society. Keep track of reminders, bill and maintenance payments and vendors of your society in a more automated manner. This is one of the most easiest ways of fulfilling a new year resolution, don’t you think?
So, this time, let’s all make a promise to ourselves to move forward with the new year resolutions we choose. Good luck chasing the new life!
With the new cashless wave gaining momentum in India, societies all over are adopting various ways of doing their bit to forward this initiative. Here’s why everyone should go cashless starting from today –
(Firstly, to avoid this…)
Track dues and payments automatically
Now, Indians will make payments for most purchases/liabilities online. Automatic withdrawal and payment from connected accounts are also an option. So, there are no dues pending at the end of every month and that gets ticked off your to-do list instantly, without even having to make a confirmation.
Cloud-based auto sync in real-time
All transactions are updated in books online and accounts are kept up-to-date after every transaction. Even people not so good at math will like this number game. Going cashless isn’t so bad after all.
No long queues to wait around in
Queues that move quickly are a crowd favourite. A place where personal presence is optional is looked forward to by everyone, not just by introverts. Anyone who can’t be at a particular place at a specific time would appreciate such a development.
Countrywide acceptance of this stance
This line of thinking will be eventually accepted and put into practice all over the nation. So, purchasing most things gets easier when done directly using an e-account.
Chances of robbery & theft are low
When there isn’t enough to rob, why would someone painstakingly make the effort to break in and steal? Travelling outstation also gets easier since staying connected with your funds becomes more flexible. This is a great move for tourists looking forward to exploring our country.
You can’t get lazier than swiping a card / pre-storing payment details just ONCE!
There will be no such thing as overusing your card, especially during difficult times. Swipe it for a purchase and you’re good to go. No more hunting for change in your pocket / wallet / bag / other nooks and crannies they managed to slip into. Added bonus: It just adds to your laziness. Now, who would want to go against that?
But, a move like this cannot be taken for granted. Regular monitoring of one’s own funds is the primary reason for this move to be able to thrive. You can check your account details online without the hassle of visiting the bank by visiting the website provided by it instead. The web and mobile applications made available by banks equip you with another option to go cashless.
Let’s make a conscious and informed effort towards having a cashless society.
Going cashless in your society is easy with Collection Gateway by ApnaComplex. Try it here. Go cashless today!
A new circular has been released by Service Tax department on 10th Jan 2014 attempting to clarify the confusion surrounding applicability of service tax on dues collected from Members.
Based on the past circulars of March 2012 and June 2012, up to Rs. 5,000/- per month per member of collection is exempted from service tax. Even though there are varied opinions on interpretation of the same, few societies where the collection was above Rs. 5,000/- were only collecting service tax on the additional amount.
The latest circular clarifies this particular aspect – if a member is paying more than Rs. 5,000/- per month – service tax needs to be collected on entire amount and not just on the amount exceeding Rs. 5,000/-.. For example, if some one is paying Rs.5,100 the society is now liable for service tax of 5,100*12.36% = Rs. 630/-.
Couple of other clarifications as well which will reduce some confusion:
Service tax is only applicable on the amount collected from members whose contribution is more than 5,000/- per month per flat. If in a society there are members who are contributing less – the amount collected from them will not be liable for service tax.
Service Tax is not applicable where money is collected by society from members to pay to a third party purely as a convenience – like paying water bills issued to members in bulk.
Read below the extract from the circular that attempts to clarify various doubts:
(i) In a residential complex, monthly
contribution collected from members is used by the RWA for the purpose of
making payments to the third parties, in respect of commonly used services or
goods [Example: for providing security service for the residential complex,
maintenance or upkeep of common area and common facilities like lift, water
sump, health and fitness centre, swimming pool, payment of electricity Bill
for the common area and lift, etc.]. Is service tax leviable?
(ii) If the contribution of a member/s of a
RWA exceeds five thousand rupees per month, how should the service tax
liability be calculated?
Exemption at Sl. No. 28 (c) in notification
No. 25/2012-ST is provided specifically with reference to service provided by
an unincorporated body or a non–profit entity registered under any law for
the time being in force such as RWAs, to its own members.
However, a monetary ceiling has been
prescribed for this exemption, calculated in the form of five thousand rupees
per month per member contribution to the RWA, for sourcing of goods or
services from third person for the common use of its members.
If per month per member contribution of any
or some members of a RWA exceeds five thousand rupees, the entire
contribution of such members whose per month contribution exceeds five
thousand rupees would be ineligible for the exemption under the said
notification. Service tax would then be leviable on the aggregate amount of
monthly contribution of such members.
(i) Is threshold exemption under
notification No. 33/2012-ST available to RWA?
(ii) Does ‘aggregate value’ for the
pusrpose of threshold exemption, include the value of exempt service?
Threshold exemption available under notification
No. 33/2012-ST is applicable to a RWA, subject to conditions prescribed in
the notification. Under this notification, taxable services of aggregate
value not exceeding ten lakh rupees in any financial year is exempted from
service tax. As per the definition of ‘aggregate value’ provided in
Explanation B of the notification, aggregate value does not include the value
of services which are exempt from service tax.
If a RWA provides certain services such as
payment of electricity or water bill issued by third person, in the name of
its members, acting as a ‘pure agent’ of its members, is exclusion from value
of taxable service available for the purposes of exemptions provided in
Notification 33/2012-ST or 25/2012-ST ?
In Rule 5(2) of the Service Tax
(Determination of Value) Rules, 2006, it is provided that expenditure or
costs incurred by a service provider as a pure agent of the recipient of
service shall be excluded from the value of taxable service, subject to the
conditions specified in the Rule.
For illustration, where the payment for an
electricity bill raised by an electricity transmission or distribution
utility in the name of the owner of an apartment in respect of electricity
consumed thereon, is collected and paid by the RWA to the utility, without
charging any commission or a consideration by any other name, the RWA is
acting as a pure agent and hence exclusion from the value of taxable service
would be available. However, in the case of electricity bills issued in the
name of RWA, in respect of electricity consumed for common use of lifts,
motor pumps for water supply, lights in common area, etc., since there is no
agent involved in these transactions, the exclusion from the value of taxable
service would not be available.
Is CENVAT credit available to RWA for
payment of service tax?
RWA may avail cenvat credit and use the
same for payment of service tax, in accordance with the Cenvat Credit Rules.
We strongly recommend you reach out to your auditor for advise. Especially, if you have been collecting service tax from members only on the incremental amount – reach out to your auditor on the impact of this circular for past collections.
Even though adding Service Tax is relatively straight forward in ApnaComplex – do reach out to our ever helpful support team if your society is charging service tax and needs assistance.
A seemingly simple but complex issue in every apartment association is on how to arrive at the maintenance charges to be levied on the members. The issue is complex enough that it is impossible to please all the members with a single way of calculating the maintenance charges.
As discussed in the “Popular methods of calculating Maintenance charges” – societies have option of charging Per Square Feet (PSF) or Per Flat (PF) basis. While the regulations in most states is not very clear (or not enforced with necessary rigor), the model bye-laws of Maharashtra state provide a relatively clear answer to this debate. The answer at a high level is simple – follow a combination of per sft and per flat for various heads.
The same can be adopted by societies of all states (as most model bye-laws are derived works of the model bye-laws from Maharashtra State).
Types of Charges
There are quite a few types of charges that can be levied on members. The periodicity of levying these charges can be decided by the General Body of the Association. Usually charges like ‘Sinking Fund’ will be levied once in an year – and Maintenance Dues will be charged once in a month. Brief explanation of various charges is given below.
Service Charges (a.k.a Maintenance Charges in most societies)
This charge needs to be levied on per flat basis. This charge needs to be levied based on the expenses incurred by the society towards procurement of services. This includes all Staff Salaries (including society office staff, maintenance staff, security staff, housekeeping staff, technical staff etc.), Administration Expenses (internet, telephone, printing, stationary etc.), Auditor Expenses, Common Area Electricity Bill (excluding bill for Lift operations), Conveyance / Travel Expenses, Legal Expenses, Membership to local federations / bodies etc.
Expenses on repairs and maintenance of building of Society
These charges may be decided by General Body subject to minimum 0.75 percent (0.75%) of the cost of construction of flat/shop per annum. For example, if the construction cost is Rs. 1200/- per sft, this charge will be Rs. 9,000/- per annum for a 1000 sft flat. This is calculated on per sft basis and can be levied once in a year. This excludes Lift related repair & maintenance.
Expenses for lift repair, maintenance and for running the lift
This charge should be based on expenses incurred for Lift Repair, Lift Maintenance and Running of Lift, including Electricity Charges for Lift oeprations. This needs to be charged equally on all Members of the building where in lift is provided.
Sinking Fund (a.k.a Corpus Fund)
The exact amount may be decided by General Body subject to minimum of 0.25% of the cost of construction of flat per annum. This is calculated on per sft basis and can be levied once in a year. This is to be collected if the builder has not collected this amount at the time of selling the flats and handed over the corpus to the association.
This charge is to be levied based on number of parking lots in a flat. The fee per parking lot may be as decided by General Body of the Society.
This is applicable only in states where societies are authorized to collect property tax on behalf of Govt. The tax to be collected is determined by the state.
This charge is to be levied based on number of water inlets into a flat. The fee per water inlet may be as decided by General Body of the Society. In modern apartments / layouts, this charge can be calculated based on the reading from the water meters that measure consumption of the water by a flat.
Interest on defaulted Charges
This is the late payment penalty. The penalty scheme / amount is as decided by General Body. Most common practice is to levy simple interest not exceeding 21% p.a. But General body can decide a different way of calculating late payment fees that works best for them.
Non Occupancy Charges (NOC)
This is an additional charge on flats that are rented out. As per the law, this charge cannot exceed 10% of the Maintenance / Service Charges levied. You can refer to this article to get more details. The NOC cannot be charged if the licensee(tenant) is family member(Family Members includes husband, wife, father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, son in law, daughter in law, sister in law, brother in law, grandson and granddaughter).
The expenses spent on insurance of the building and equipment can be levied on the members in proportion to built up area of their flats. Extra premium charged by insurance on account of storage of specified goods in flat/shop should be collected from those flats/ shops whose storage of specific goods was the reason for extra premium.
This is levied based on per sft for the builtup area of the flat/shop.
Any other charges
As decided by General Body from time to time.
Following is a table indicating a comprehensive list of charges that can be levied by the Society / Apartment Association on the members. All charges levied must be derived from the expenses of the society. The table also indicates the correct way of arriving at these charges from the expenses and if they need to levied on per sft basis or per flat basis – as recommended by Model Bye Laws.
The article provides a framework for arriving at dues to be levied that is fair to all its members. A Housing Society that is ‘well managed’ needs to avoid taking the easy way out – by charging per flat or per sft basis. This is especially true for societies where there is no uniformity in size of the flats. Though at a first glance, it looks like there is much work and many heads for the amounts to be charged to adopt this, it is not really so. Once you get started you realize that its not as difficult as it appears. If you are new society, you can put this in practice right from day one. if you are an old society, but not following this model – its never too late for you to adopt this.
Get your Society on ApnaComplex.com – Today! ApnaComplex is India’s most comprehensive web based housing society accounting, management and communication software. It is designed to make the life of residents and owners a lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out the features of ApnaComplex and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer a free 30-day trial as well so that you can try before you buy!