Category: Apartment Owners Association

Goods and Services Tax - Real Estate - ApnaComplex

Impact of GST on Co-operative Housing Society and Real Estate

Basic Introduction of GST and its Perspective as a Contractor and a Developer
GST (Goods and Services Tax) is one indirect tax for the whole nation, which is meant to be a unified indirect tax across the country on construction services and will make India one unified common market. The present structure of Indirect Taxes is very complex in India. There are so many types of taxes that are levied by the Central and State Governments on Goods & Services. It has been long pending issue to streamline and subsume all the different types of indirect taxes and implement a “single taxation” system called “GST”.

Implementing the GST will ease the compliance, uniform the tax rates and structures, remove the cascading effect of taxes levied by States & Centre, will improve the business competitiveness and will benefit everyone doing trade in some or the other form whether as a contractor or as a developer.

In the current system in India, tax is levied at each stage separately, by the Centre and the State, at varying rates i.e. 10.5% / 6% / 4.5% for service tax and different rates by different States, on the value of construction services. But under the GST system that is set to be introduced, tax will be levied only on the value added at each stage by the sub‐contractors, main contractors and developers or builders. It is a single tax collected at multiple value additions with a full set‐off for taxes paid earlier in the value chain by sub‐contractors and main contractors. It is pertinent to note that the inter credit of different taxes paid in the current regime be a service tax, VAT, CST, etc. to Centre or States are not allowed and thus becomes a part of the cost on the suppliers. Thus, under GST the final buyer / client will bear only the GST charged by the last person i.e. developer or builder or the contractor.

Structure of GST in India

In India, a dual GST is proposed whereby a Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and a State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) will be levied on the taxable value of every transaction of supply of goods and services.

The Dual GST is expected to be a simple and transparent tax with one or two CGST and SGST rates. The structure of the model law comprises of CGST Act, SGST Act and IGST Act. The dual GST model would give adequate flexibility to the States to levy taxes on a comprehensive base of goods and services at all points in the supply chain. Thus, financial liberty of the States would be maintained. GST is a consumption based tax. It is based on the “Destination principle”. GST is applied on goods and services at the place where actual consumption materializes.

GST on Co-operative Housing Societies

The Centre and the States would have parallel jurisdiction for the entire value chain and for all taxpayers. The administration of GST under the three components will be as under:

  • Central GST (CGST) – to be levied on intra state trade and administered by the Centre
  • State GST (SGST) – to be levied on intra state trade and administered by the State Governments
  • Inter‐State GST (IGST) – to be levied on inter‐State trade and administered and collected by the Centre.

To the extent feasible, uniform procedure for collection of both Central GST and State GST is prescribed in the respective legislation for Central GST and State GST.

It can be noted that IGST will not be a Tax in addition to the SGST and CGST so one should not presume that IGST is a third tax but it is only a mechanism to monitor the interstate trade of Goods and services and further to ensure that the ultimate SGST is gone to the consumer state since the GST is a destination based tax.

Impact of GST on Co-operative Housing Society as well as Real Estate Sector
Implementation of the GST law will have a positive impact on the Co-operative Housing Society and on the real estate sector with expected reduction in its tax burden. The law will single‐handedly solve many of the challenges faced by the real estate sector. Heavy taxes that are being borne in a non‐transparent manner are expected to be very transparent in GST. It is unclear what would be the rate of GST applicable on construction services, hence it would be difficult to confirm the exact impact on GST on the Co-operative Housing Society. However going by the informal discussion, it is learnt that the rate is expected to be something between 18‐20%, which is what the current rate directly and indirectly being borne by the construction sector. Besides the simplicity in taxation, GST would bring in other advantages like transparency, seamless credits, ease of business by lack of border controls, promoting economic efficiency through a destination based taxation system. Overall Construction costs would be reduced to some extent which would benefit the end consumer. Apart from the advantages, the complexities in the compliance and assessments shall also be greatly reduced as the tax laws would also be unified.

There would be lesser burden of tax on purchases of major inputs like cement and steel, as tax credits would be available for set off at various stages which are currently restricted. The restrictions on credit utilization would be eliminated, thus strengthening the credit chain in the system. If this so happens, there will be increased credits available in the procurement chain and hence better utilization of input tax costs towards output GST Liability.

Since GST may be levied on a single value, the current issue of levying tax on tax (VAT on central excise duty) is likely to be removed. Hence the cascading effect of taxes shall be removed with the resulting transparency which will significantly reduce tax evasion through more efficient transaction‐tracking methods, and improved enforcement and compliance. Hence the implementation of GST will enhance the investment in Housing Societies & real estate sectors.

It is widely expected that GST would reduce the construction cost in the hands of developer and thereby aid in reducing or at least maintaining the current level of prices in the housing societies as well as in the real estate sector.


ApnaComplex now on iOS!

We are excited to announce the availability of ApnaComplex App on iOS from today.

Apple_iOS-new
Users should be able to log and track complaints, check out members and staff directory, get useful contacts, send SMSs to entire community and more.

ApnaComplex is a pioneer who leapfrogged Society Management to the Smart Phone generation with the launch of ApnaComplex Android App way back in May 2012. We have lots of exciting enhancements on the iOS App as well along with Android in coming days! Stay tuned for more!


Habit #5: Effective management committees implement smart financial control

In this blog post, we are going to emphasize on the fifth habit of effective management committees of implementing smart financial control. Smart financial management is the key to success for any management committee. In our earlier blog post, we talked about Habit 4: How effective management committees are highly disciplined. Read more…

Pointers for the committee members to practice smart financial control:

Treasurers need to do more than just signing cheques – In most of the apartments, the role of a treasurer is restricted to signing cheques and issuing receipts. This is not the right practice. The role of a treasurer is a very important one and both the committee and treasurer has to understand that. As a treasurer, ensure you have a budget in place at the start of the financial year. There may be undue pressure on you from other committee members or residents to spend on various new initiatives but do stick to your budget. Always remember it’s easy to spend but more difficult to stick to the pre-decided budget and as a treasurer if you are able to do that, you are certainly doing a good job.

Do not approve ad-hoc expenses – Committee members or residents always come up with new initiatives and every new initiative has an additional cost attached to it. As committee members spend more time with each other, you develop a certain level of friendship and comfort with your co-committee members. The problem arises when you are not able to say “NO” to a co-committee member for an expense, which is out of your budget. As a treasurer, learn to say no to the ad-hoc expenses, which makes a hole in your budget. At times the treasurers need to be ruthless to spend their finances judiciously. For instance, in one of the apartments, one of the committee members suggested a sliding gate, which would have looked great and would have been easier to access, but the treasurer did not approve the budget for the same. Was it a good decision? Yes, because one needs to understand the difference between “feel good things” vs. “necessities”.

Set a strict approval process for payments – As a treasurer, it is both your duty and right to question each and every expense. Keep a strict check on the new expenses being incurred. Set your budget and set a process for slab approvals for fool proofing the system. Create a rule or mechanism for payments approvals, provide the same to the entire committee and ensure it is followed by the whole committee. Do not go easy on the slab approvals and try going around it. Ensure you yourself follow it for making the entire committee follow the same.

Publish monthly reports on budget variance – Show the same enthusiasm to calculate dues as well as expenses. Most of committee treasurers show a lot of enthusiasm while calculating and collecting the dues or maintenance charges from residents. However, when it comes to calculating the expenses or the budget overflow, one loses enthusiasm and the budget variance calculation is always delayed. Ensure budget variance report is published in a timely manner on a monthly basis. Also, publish the report on how much was the overflow every month. This will help you analyse where exactly did you go wrong and will help you and the committee balance it out the next month itself. Otherwise, at the year end audit, one can only realize the mistake of overspending but will have no time to correct it.

Committees and especially treasurers need to understand that the resident welfare cannot be achieved by overspending on “feel good” things instead spend the resident money carefully and judiciously on the necessities and try to achieve small objectives, which are in-sync with your pre-decided budget. This will lead to a higher level of resident satisfaction.

Do you think the management committee in your apartment complex practices smart financial control? Do let us know by commenting on our blog. Log onto www.apnacomplex.com regularly for the post on next habit of effective management committees.


Is controlling domestic help rates in apartments becoming essential?

domestic-helpDomestic help/maids have now become a necessity for almost all households in India. Presently, with both men and women working in the 9-5 shift or more, the basic household chores need to be taken care of by the maids, cooks, nannies, drivers etc. It becomes essential that you hire the right person for all these activities that affect your day-to-day lives.

 Some of the cities such as Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad have several high-rise apartments with 700+ people residing in the same. The amount of domestic help available in such apartments should also be abundant? But this is not the case and the simple rule of economics that demand generates supply fails here. Finding domestic help is not as easy as earlier irrespective of where you stay or how much you can pay. Sooner or later you do go through the pain of finding the right domestic help and retaining the same.

 Essentially, the story remains the same whether you reside in a big apartment or small. The residents of an apartment always complain that how maids, cooks and drivers in general force residents to increase their salary. A lot of household help quit frequently to join new employers who pay them higher or just become very adamant and demand for immediate pay hikes/bonuses forcing their employers to reconsider their compensation.

 Almost all apartment associations have discussed these issues and attempt to come up with regulations to control the rates of maids in an apartment such as below:

  • Prepare a rate card for all the household activities and ask residents to pay only that much.

  • Every maid needs to carry a No-objection-certificate from her previous employer so that the prospective employer ensures she/he is not switching jobs for money.

  • Residents are requested not to deviate from the rate card.

  • Any domestic help asking for more than the agreed rates is penalized.

 The question that arises from the above pointers is that how easy is it to apply these rules to housing societies. A lot of residents were happy with the above mentioned resolutions, however some disagreed to the resolutions claiming that they were quite capitalist in nature and if doctors/engineers can demand their price, why can’t the domestic help do the same? The whole demand and supply economics lies in the scenario that if you can afford a maid for Rs. 8,000 and can very well afford it, it doesn’t matter to you if others in the apartment are paying Rs. 3,000. The others sooner or later will have to succumb to the so called “market rate” pressure and increase the salary bars.

 The resolutions mentioned above can only work if people living in an apartment work as a team with their associations and come to a common resolution wherein neither the domestic help is exploited nor are the employers blackmailed for sudden pay hikes.

 Until then people with maids/drivers working with you for more than an year, good luck in maintaining them. For people searching for a good domestic help, best of luck for your quest to find the right domestic help!


Apartment Complex Events – Tips for Planning Pongal Celebrations

In the rush and stress of urban life, we often forget about the ancient customs and traditions associated with our festivals. In fact, one of the common complaints of parents living in apartment complexes in cities is that their children are unaware of their roots and culture. Yet another complaint often heard is that city living has cut the links that develop between members of a community.

Have a communal Pongal celebration in the apartment complex is a good way to solve these problems. Children get to know more about their culture even as their parents learn to interact and develop friendships with their neighbors.

Tips for Planning Pongal Celebrations


(i) Pongal is a four day festival. While it might not be possible to evoke a good response to an event stretching out over four days – give the hectic pace of urban life – plan to have at least a two day celebrations to create a true impact.

(ii) The first day of Pongal, known as Bogi, is normally marked by a pooja and a bonfire. The bonfire in the evening can be made into a community event.

(iii) Make arrangements for the bonfire well in advance. Keep one person in charge of the entire event. Designate a safe area for the bonfire, which is away from parked cars and other fire traps. Involve children in the activity of building the bonfire. Also ensure that safety precautions are in place. Check that fire extinguishers are in working order.

(iv) On the second day of Pongal celebrations – the Surya Pongal – arrange for women in the apartment complex to draw kolams. Get children involved in the activity, so that they learn about this tradition. Some apartment complexes even arrange group kolam competitions.

Pongal Celebrations

(v) Cooking the pongal can also be an event where all the residents in the complex participate. This again adds to the excitement and fervor of the occasion.

(vi) A community lunch can be organized. The residents of the apartment complex should be encouraged to bring in one dish each for the lunch. This will again involve a lot of planning and interaction – which is the point of holding Pongal celebrations in your apartment complex!

(vii) Have special events for the children. A quiz competition regarding Pongal traditions, a exhibition of Pongal Panai pots painted and decorated by the residents and a cultural program are just some of the ways to get children involved more actively in the celebration. These activities will also build up a special atmosphere in the apartment complex and add to the sense of festivity.

(viii) The success of the Pongal celebrations in your apartment complex will depend on the degree of participation. It is therefore essential that the event is well planned taking everybody’s suggestions and ideas. Discussions should be held and responsibilities assigned to make sure that the event goes off smoothly.

Group celebrations can reduce the feeling of alienation that people living in apartment houses often experience – and Pongal is definitely a good reason to celebrate!


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – 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 trail as well so that you can try before you buy!


Announcing Request Box for your Housing Society – Streamline issuing NOCs, Address Proofs and everything

In yet another first and raising the bar for Society Software, ApnaComplex – India’s #1 Apartment Management Software, now announces Request Box.

Problems that Request Box Solves

In most housing societies, it is a common practice to issue No Objection Certificates, No Dues Certificates, Address Proof Letters, Move Out Letters etc. upon request by Members of the Society.

However, issuance of these letters usually follows a process of verification and approvals. For example, the society office would check among other things if the tenant has returned the club house access cards before issuing a No Objection certificate. Also, the General Secretary or Treasurer may have to approve these requests before a letter is issued.

This is a significant administration overhead on society office. Even for Members, they need to make multiple visits to the society office in order to get the required letter. This often delays the entire process of issuance.

In order to reduce the efforts required, ApnaComplex now supports a new feature – Request Box.

How does Request Box Help / Work?

With help of Request Box, Administrators can first configure various categories of Requests that can be raised by Members. For example, administrators can create a new Request Category called “Issue NOC Certificate”. Each Request Category needs to have configuration defined for:
1. Approver List
2. List of items to checked by the Approvers
3. Template of the Certificate that is issued once necessary approvals are obtained

With help of above configurations, the society can customize who all would approve a given request, the questions or items to be checked before approving, the format of the certificate to be issued.

Powerful all in one!

Along with Request box functionality, we have added two new roles – ‘Request Box Administrator’ and ‘Request Box Assistant’ that would help community admins delegate better. Request Box Administraor can primarily do the configuration activities (like setting up workflows, checklists etc.). Request Box Assistant (typically the society’s estate manager) would be able to raise requets on behalf of members if needed, track the progress on the request and can issue the certificate to the members once all approvals are done.

One of the existing role ‘Purchase Request Approver’ is now renamed as ‘Request Approver’ to be inline with the Request Box. Members with the Request Approver role can now approve both Request Box Requests and Purchase Requests.

Go to Helpdesk->Request Box to get more organized and manage your society professionally!


The Uttar Pradesh Apartment Act 2010, Rules and Model Bye-Laws

Below are copies of different official documents for apartment communities of Uttar Pradesh




Want to manage your apartment easily and financials transparently in your Housing Society? – Get on to ApnaComplex – Today!

ApnaComplex is India’s #1 mobile and web based Apartment Management Software.

ApnaComplex is designed to make the life of residents and owners lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out why we say ApnaComplex is Best Apartment Management Software and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer ApnaComplex – Free Edition with awesome capabilities which you can use free of cost forever.


Launching Complaint Box Analytics in ApnaComplex

These are exciting times at ApnaComplex!
In close heels of the Rules Engine for Dynamic Housing Socities unique feature, ApnaComplex now offers yet another cool feature.

As a first step to provide visual insights into the society happenings, we now support a graphical view of the Complaint Box data.
Complaint Box is the most widely used feature by all our users and now committee members can see the associated data visually in histograms, line charts and pie-charts. Complaints can be sliced and diced on various parameters – category wise, block wise, status wise, turn around time wise and so on to give you an excellent understanding of the areas that need focus and staff that might be over/under utilized.
Trends across Complaint Categories in the Housing Society
Breakup of Complaints filed with a Building of the Apartment Complex Sample Report of a Complaints raised in a particular category across various Buildings of the Apartment Complex

What makes these charts exciting is the dynamic nature of the charts – you can turn on/off some data elements easily and the charts instantly refresh. For example – if you do not want complaints from one block to be shown – just deselect the block name and the graphs are redrawn instantly.

Head to the reports list under reports to access the new graphical reports.


Want to manage your apartment easily and financials transparently in your Housing Society? – Get on to ApnaComplex – Today!

ApnaComplex is India’s #1 mobile and web based Apartment Management Software.

ApnaComplex is designed to make the life of residents and owners lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out why we say ApnaComplex is Best Apartment Management Software and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer ApnaComplex – Free Edition with awesome capabilities which you can use free of cost forever.


Apartment Complex Events – Celebrating Colors with the Kite Festival

Makar Sankranti, which falls in mid January, is celebrated in several ways across apartment complex communities in India. Essentially a harvest festival, it is known as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Sankranti in Karnataka and Uttarayan in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Makar Sankranti celebrates the arrival of warmer days after a cold and dark winter. It is also supposed to be the day when the Gods awake from a long six-month long slumber. Gujaratis and Rajasthanis celebrate the arrival of the warmer days with a colorful kite flying festival.

Given that Makar Sankranti is celebrated in some form or the other all across India, it is a good idea to celebrate it in your apartment complex, and a kite flying festival is the best way to ensure that people from all age groups join enthusiastically in the celebrations. After all, who can resist flying a colorful kite?Celebrating Colours

Celebrating the Kite Festival in Your Apartment Complex


(i) A Day Long Affair: The kite flying festival can be converted into a day-long affair where residents of the complex mingle and socialize with each other. The day can be divided into three sessions – the morning kite flying session, a community lunch and then the night time kite flying session.  However, before organizing the festival, ensure that participation is high by giving people sufficient notice. Chalk out the program details well in advance and circulate it among the residents.

(ii) Buying The Kites: Your housing society can also look into placing bulk orders for the kites. It may be difficult for the busy residents to spare time to go shopping for kites. Senior, retired residents of the apartment complex can be given the responsibility of selecting and placing bulk orders for kites. This will make life easier for the busier residents and will ensure greater participation. Senior residents will also enjoy the responsibility. A donation drive can be launched well in advance in order to raise funds to buy the kites. Be sure to order the famous ‘lantern kites’ for the night session.

(iii) Kite Flying Competitions: Each kite flying session can be divided into two parts. The first part can be non-competitive, where residents fly kites for the sheer joy of seeing the sky fill up with a colorful collection of kites. After this, you can get started on the serious business of competitive kite flying, Arrange the residents into teams and have a faceoff between them.

(iv) A Community Lunch: Once the morning kite flying session is completed, most people will be ready for a hearty lunch. Given the occasion, it makes sense to have a traditional spread. Food is a major part of the Makar Sankranti celebrations and it would be ideal to have a dish from each part of the country.

(v) The Lantern Kites: The session at night where the glow of the lantern kites lights up the sky will be a fitting finale to the day.

Celebrating the kite festival in the apartment complex is a good way to de-stress and to make children understand our customs and traditions.


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – 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 trail as well so that you can try before you buy!


Accounting Enhancement: Automatically Reconcile ApnaComplex Accounts with your Soceity Bank Accounts

In yet another first in Housing Society Accounting Software, ApnaComplex now supports automatic reconciliation of your bank account with the bank ledger account maintained in ApnaComplex.
 
Auto-reconciliation in Society Accounting Software
1. Society Treasurers / Auditors can Upload the bank statement in ApnaComplex reconciliation module.
2. Society Treasurers / Auditors have a choice to ignore those transactions that are already reconciled.
3. ApnaComplex attempts to match the bank entries with the ledger entries based on narration, cheque number, deposit/withdrawal amounts.
4. If a match is found, ApnaComplex marks the ledger entry reconciled and updates the bank date field of that ledger entry
5. If multiple matches are found, the same is updated in the reconciliation notes.

Summary of the reconciliation is presented along with the list of entries present in the bank statement that could not be reconciled. Treasurers can download these entries into an excel to maintain a record. Treasurers / Society auditors can validate and overwrite any records if needed. In addition, the auto-reconciliation can be done any number of times.

Auto-reconciliation should save significant efforts for Treasurers / Auditors using ApnaComplex.


Want to maintain financials easily and transparently in your Housing Society? – Get on to ApnaComplex – Today!

ApnaComplex is India’s best web based housing society accounting software.
ApnaComplex is designed to make the life of residents and owners lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out why we say ApnaComplex is Best Apartment Management Software and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer ApnaComplex – Free Edition with awesome capabilities which you can use free of cost forever.