Category: Society Billing Software

GST on Co-operative Housing Societies Maintenance Dues / Common Area Expenses

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:

  1. Property Tax:

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.

  1. 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.

  1. Parking Charges:

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.

  1. Water Charges:

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Sinking Fund:

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Update on 31st May 2017:

Following exemptions are provided under the GST Regime for Housing societies (Source : Schedule of GST Rates for Services)

  • 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.

Update on 13th July 2017:

Govt. has issued a press note on GST applicability on RWAs. You can read the press release here – http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=167386

GST needs to be levied only if monthly maintenance per member crosses Rs. 5,000/- and annual collection is more than 20 Lakhs. This blog post is updated accordingly.

ApnaComplex strongly recommends Housing Societies to talk to their respective auditors and get professional advice to understand the actual impact for your Society and if you need to register for GST. 


**Visit GST Section on ApnaComplex Help site to see answers to various frequently asked questions on GST**


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.


new year resolution

5 Ways To Decide On A New Year Resolution That Doesn’t Need Work

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.

new year resolution

 

  • 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.

new year resolution

 

  • 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.

new year resolution

 

  • 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.

new year resolution

 

  • 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?

new year resolution

 

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!


Swachh Bharat Cess – Service Tax Changes for Housing Societies and Apartment Owners Associations

As per the recent service tax notifications (Notification No. 21/2015-Service Tax and Notification No. 22/2015-Service Tax), all organizations that offer services covered under the ambit of Service Tax, should charge an “Swachh Bharat Cess” at 0.5% of the service value from November 15th 2015.

Housing Societies need to collect and pay service tax at the rate of 14% for all members where the monthly collection is more than Rs. 5,000/- (Refer Jan 2014 Circular on Service Tax on Apartment Associations for more details). Other key aspects of interest are listed below.

Swachh Bharat Cess needs to be on a separate line item on invoice

From Nov 15th, the invoices need to have another line item called “Swachh Bharat Cess” charged at the rate of 0.5% value of the taxable amount. Based on our understanding, Swachh Bharat Cess needs to be charged separately on the invoice, needs to be accounted separately in the books of account and needs to be paid separately under separate accounting code which should be notified separately.

Swachh Bharat Cess paid for services availed cannot be claimed as Input Credit

Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004 determine if a tax / cess can be claimed as input credit. Howver, there is no amendment in the Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004 regarding Swachh Bharat Cess. In the absence of the same, Swachh Bharat Cess levied by the Housing Society vendors and paid by the Housing society cannot be claimed as input credit. So, at this point in time, this would be extra cash outflow on the society due to Swachh Bharat Cess.

What should you do in ApnaComplex to take care of this additional cess on the invoices you raise?

If your society is levying Service Tax, identify the best scenario that fits you among the below to know the steps.

Scenario 1: If you are using recurring invoice with automatic service tax calculations, you need not do anything. ApnaComplex is enhanced to charge this as a separate line item on the invoices raised after Nov 15th.

Scenario 2: If you are using recurring invoice with service tax as a calculated line item, you need add a new charge type with name “Swachh Bharat Cess” and move the same to Taxes accounting head in Chart of Accounts. Post that update your recurring invoice setup to add one more line item with net value equivalent to 0.5% under SB Cess head.

Scenario 3: If you are using manual mode, you need add a new charge type with name “Swachh Bharat Cess” and move the same to Taxes accounting head in Chart of Accounts. Now, go to Income->Add charges (or upload charges) with net value equivalent to 0.5% under SB Cess head.

In all scenarios, we would always recommend you to check with your accounting firm or auditor to ensure they are on board with your understanding.


Announcing “Bill Approval Workflow” to streamline Expenditure Approvals in your Housing Society

We are pleased to announce the release of Approval workflow for Bills.

Almost all societies have the process of bills submitted by vendors to be approved by one or more committee members before the payment is released to the vendor.  With this new feature, accountants will now be able to trigger a approval workflow when ever a new Bill is received. The approvers can approve / reject the bill with comments. A bill can re-submitted for approval with updated data to the approvers. Unless a minimum number of approvers  approve the Bill, no one would be able to record payment against that Bill.

The approver list is same as PR Approvers and Request Box approvers and thus can be reused.

To enable the approval process, please go to Complex->Settings – Accounting Settings – click on the setting “Should bills be approved before being paid?” to enable the same

Once this is done, when a new Bill is created, you have to select the Approver List to trigger the approval work flow. When ever the setting is disabled – the bills will be treated as automatically approved. To see the approval history of a Bill, click on the ‘Print button’ in actions column to see the approval/rejection history with remarks.

Coupled with the fact that you can attach any number of docs with a bill, you can now easily create a Bill – scan the physical copies of the bill and then trigger the workflow. All approvers can see the physical copies of the bill and then approve/remark with their comments.

Yet another nifty automation by ApnaComplex to save your time and efforts!


Utility Billing Software Enhanced – Raise Utility Bills right from Mobile or Tablet

Gated communities and Apartments having Metered Utilities (like Piped Gas, Water Meters) face this issue every month when they are ready to raise utility bills on members – capturing of Meter Readings and then raising bills.

There is too much of manual work involved in capturing the meter reading. Typical steps involve:

1. Maintenance staff go door-to-door to note down the readings in a log book. This itself is usually takes few days based on the size of the community.

2. The readings noted will now have to be digitized and entered into excel and upload or into the portal one by one. This is a place where quite a few issues can crop up with respect to data entry – illegible readings, typos while entering.

3. Raise Bills. (This is a breeze if you are using ApnaComplex)

4. Now starts the disputes by members – the bill is incorrect, reading is incorrect – largely due to the data entry errors that crept in and more importantly due to lack of validation from concerned members when the meter reading was taken.

In ApnaComplex you can address issues like these with the enhanced Metered Utility Billing module (which is part of the Society Accounting Software).

We now have Metered Utility App available as a part of ApnaComplex Android Application.
Metered Utility Billing now from your Tablet
With the help of the Metered Utility on Android App:

1. Maintenance staff can now move with in the complex / layout with a mobile device (android phone / tablet) when they go door-to-door for collecting the reading.

2. The closing meter reading can be noted against each plot / flat with in the App. The app instantly sends an SMS to the resident confirming the meter reading noted down by the staff. If there is a discrepancy or error the resident an instantly alert the staff or the maintenance office about inaccurate reading. The staff can then re-enter the reading.

3. Once the data collection is done, the society office can validate the data and raise the bills. The meter readings can be overridden if needed by the society office before raising the bills.

Less disputes and more peace of mind.

Now for the icing on the cake:
The meter reading app works even with out internet! This has the capability to store all the readings locally on the device and push the readings to server when ever internet connectivity is available.

This takes care of the cases where internet / GPRS connection may not be easily available across the complex consistently.


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – Today!

ApnaComplex is India’s most mature and comprehensive web based society management platform. The platform also include Utility Billing Software for Housing Societies to easily generate bills for the members of the society against their Flats / Villas / Shops for their consumption of water / gas / energy etc. ApnaComplex is designed to make the life of treasurers a lot better by reducing efforts and at the same time bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing finances of a housing society. Check out the features of ApnaComplex and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer a free 15-day trial as well so that you can try before you buy!


Society Billing Software: Easily print invoices for flats that prefer Paper invoices

One of the frequent questions that we hear from committee members regarding ApnaComplex is that – “what about members who do not have internet access?”. This especially comes up in the context of Society Billing Software – which helps in emailing invoices / demand notes that are being raised to members. Committee members are concerned about members who are not internet savvy and thus may not get to see a proper invoice in time. Hence committee members want to print the invoices for all those members and drop a paper copy of the invoice in these members’ mail boxes.

In ApnaComplex we always had the ability to download all the invoices / demand notes of a billing cycle in a single PDF. Using this, the estate manager can print only invoices of those flats that require a paper invoice. While this solves the problem to a large extent – it becomes very cumbersome for the estate manager to remember the flats that needs paper copy and then to identify them in the PDF file.

To solve this, we now have an ability to capture if a flat needs a paper invoice. This preference against every flat/plot can be captured in the Complex->Residential Units screen. Once this is done, when invoices are raised in a billing period – admins will be able to download another PDF which only contains the invoices of those flats who need a paper invoice. This PDF can be downloaded from Income->Invoices->Billed Invoice Groups screen. This PDF can directly be printed by estate manager. There is no need to remember and then search for the invoices of these flat. ApnaComplex does the heavy lifting for you. You just need to click the print button 🙂


Interested to know more about ApnaComplex? Visit ApnaComplex.com and sign up for a free 15-day trial.


Announcing Rules Engine in ApnaComplex for Dynamic Housing Societies

Continuing with the tradition of innovation, ApnaComplex now offers, a first of its kind in any Housing Society Software, a rules engine for housing societies to implement automated billing to members based on any number of conditions.

So, what is this rules engine?

Rules Engine offers ApnaComplex administrators a mechanism to get list of units (flats / villas) based on criteria conigured by the administrator. Let us say, you want to know list of rented flats where vehicle count is more than 3 and resident count is more than 6. In life with out ApnaComplex you would have to get the data from multiple sources and then try and count manually or write couple of excel macros. Its super easy to get this with the rule engine. Create three rules, combine them to create a rule set, execute the rule set to get the list of flats.

Committee Member of a society that adopted ApnaComplex 🙂

That sounds fun. But what is the real utility of this in a Society Accounting Software?

Imagine if you were to do billing to members based on a conditions like number of parking lots owned, number of residents in the house, who occupied the flat etc. This data is dynamic and can potentially change every month when you are ready to invoice. It takes enormous amount of time to accurately raise an invoice. With help of rules engine, you can create the conditions that impact your billing as rules, group them as rule sets and save them. When you are ready to invoice, just execute the rule set to get list of flats and then use that to raise the invoices on selected units.

Can I use the rules engine with recurring invoices feature of ApnaComplex?

Absolutely yes, you can now configure recurring invoices to execute one or more rule sets and then add charges for ONLY those units that meet the conditions mentioned in the rules. Now, that is mighty powerful – the system automatically executes rules that are defined by the admin on a periodic basis and then generate invoices to only those flats that meet the conditions. Zero manual intervention.

What if billing criteria in my housing society changes?

You can change the conditions and the threshold values for the conditions any time you want.

I can’t wait to use it. Where do I find it?

If you already using ApnaComplex, go to Income->Member Income. Click Setup Rules to get started.
If you want to get started with ApnaComplex, register your society and get started!

Is there anything else I can do with the rules engine other than billing?

Stay tuned for more ways of using this unique feature in ApnaComplex 🙂


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.


Refund to Members Made Easy in ApnaComplex

A New Year gift to ApnaComplex Treasurers!

ApnaComplex – your favorite Society Accounting Software now supports giving refund to members easily. One of the not-so-frequent scenarios that happen in a housing society is to refund money paid by members.

This usually happens when members pay excess amount to the society and later claim refund or when caution deposits made are to be refunded to tenants. In one of the cases we are aware of, a member has paid Rs. 90,000/- instead of Rs. 9,000/- by mistake to the society via NEFT only to claim a refund later.

We have been advising our treasurers a series of steps to issue a refund to members. Now, we have automated all these steps and issuing a refund is now as simple as any other financial transaction in ApnaComplex.

Just go to Income->Member Income. Filter on flat and select the ‘Add Refund’ icon against the flat to issue refund to members who have advance payment in their accounts. All you need to do is fill the amount of refund, mode of payment etc and you are done!
Like with all other scenarios, ApnaComplex takes care of all the accounting entries behind the scenes.

You can also view refunds given across the society, against specific flats easily – view the details of the refunds given and even delete refunds given if needed.

Happy Giving 🙂


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.


Accounting Enhancement: Reconcile Cash/Bank Transactions in Bulk

As a latest enhancement to our Housing Society Accounting Software, auditors accountants and housing society treasurers can now reconcile bank and cash transactions with the actual bank account in bulk in ApnaComplex. Select one or more ledger entries (or Select All) and click ‘Reconcile’ or ‘Unreconcile’ to do bulk reconciliation of the ledger entries – saving time and efforts.

Also, you will now be able to see the book balance and bank balance right below the reconciled statement which gets auto refreshed as you mark ledger entries as reconciled/unreconciled.


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.


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.