The latest decision passed by the tax tribunal is nothing short of melody to the ears of flat-owners and owners of commercial spaces within housing societies. There are nearly a lakh housing societies in Mumbai and their maintenance charges range from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1, 00,000 and this decision is a good news for all of them. This decision means that those registered under Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act would not have to pay the 12.36% service tax charged against maintenance charges to the owners. The application of this is yet to be confirmed.
The recent decision by the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) derived post a case involving Tahnee Heights (Nepean Sea Road) and Mittal Tower (Nariman Point). Tahnee Heights collected charges for maintenance, repairs and beautification and Mittal Towers charged its apartment owners water charges, security charges, repairs and paid service tax upon the persuasion of the department. They later filed refund claims, which were rejected and this led to the appeal being filed with Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT).
If implemented, how would it work in Mumbai?
Most housing societies in Mumbai have a Resident Welfare Association (RWA) or the managing committee, which handle all the administrative and cultural duties. They collect maintenance charges for purposes like provision of water, electricity for common facilities like lifts, lights, security, repairs and so on. These are majorly collected with the purpose of reimbursement to various vendors or third parties. They may sign contracts for these purposes and pay a certain amount for the same each month. Housing societies were paying a mammoth 12.36% taxes on these amounts to the authorities. If approved this will now no longer be the case.
Certain plush apartment complexes that offer facilities like Swimming Pool, Gym, etc, their maintenance charges even go up to a lakh. The association made the RWA’s or the managing committee pay service taxes for the same stating they were taxable club or association services.
If approved, the residents would heave a huge sigh of relief.