Watchdog comes to homebuyers' rescue, asks builder to pass on GST benefits

The National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) has come to the aid of homebuyers by concluding that a builder of affordable houses has profiteered by not passing the benefits of input tax credit to the buyers. It has asked officials to ensure that the profiteered amount is passed on to the buyers. 

“This is the first case where the authority has found evidence of profiteering in terms of input tax credit. All other orders relate to tax cuts,” said Harpreet Singh, partner KPMG. 

A total of 109 homebuyers had filed an application against a builder before the Haryana state screening committee for not passing input tax credit of the GST paid on construction services. They had booked flats under the Haryana Affordable Housing Policy 2013, and paid excise duty and Value Added Tax (VAT). 

After the GST rollout, 12 per cent tax was levied on the construction service, which was further reduced to 8 per cent from January 25, 2018. 

But the benefit accrued to the builder post-GST had not been passed to the flat buyers. The builder had argued that there has been an increase in tax rate as earlier VAT was levied at 5.25 per cent and, hence, no benefit could be passed on to applicants.  

However, the NAA opined that sale consideration did not include taxes, surcharges, etc, and homebuyers were liable to pay all taxes, thus, the builder was obligated to pass on the benefit of input tax credit.

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