Homebuyers who paid excess GST may seek discounts from their developers. The Tamil Nadu Real Estate Regulatory Authority (TNRERA) on Thursday directed a promoter to return the additional GST the realtor had collected from a customer. The regulator ruled that homebuyers have the right to claim the benefits of input tax credit (ITC). The issue pertains to two homebuyers filing a case with TNRERA demanding that Casa Grande Civil Engg (P) Ltd return the additional 7% GST collected for an ongoing project at Pazhavanthangal. The complainants, Usha Ravikumar and B Ravikumar, paid GST to the tune of Rs 7.33lakh at the rate of 12% for a flat measuring 1,630sqft. Noting that the under-construction project was delayed, the complainant said that GST of 12% was collected instead of 5% for the project.
The homebuyers had entered into a construction agreement with the developer in July 2017. The agreement specified that their flat should be handed over by June 2019. Later, a revised agreement was drafted extending the construction period till November 2019. Meanwhile, the developer responded to the TNRERA saying promoters with incomplete housing projects till March 2019 can exercise an option to continue with old GST rates of 12%. Though demanding that the real estate regulator dismiss the plea of the homebuyer to refund GST, the developer, however, offered to pay rent for the delayed period from July till the flat is to be delivered. In his order, G Saravanan, TNRERA adjudicating officer, said the GST rates for ongoing projects, according to a notification of the GST council, was 5% effective April 1, 2019.
However, the promoters had the option to choose 12%, avail of permissible ITC and pass the benefit of the credit to the homebuyers. “In an emailed communication, the developer assured that the benefit due to ITC will be passed on to the customers, which will be done at the stage of handing over the flat,” the order said. Therefore, the complainants have the right to claim the benefit of ITC, the order added. The TNRERA also directed the developer to pay Rs 8,150 monthly rent to the homebuyer for the delay in handing over the apartment, besides compensation totalling Rs 1.25lakh for causing mental agony and legal expenses to the buyer.