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BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT TAX ON DEVELOPERS
The Government of Maharashtra has amended the definition of “Sale”
under the Maharashtra Value Added Tax Act, 2002 wit h effect from 20
2006 thereby including in the said definition “ the transfer of property in
goods involved in the execution of works contract, including an agreement for
carrying out for cash or for deferred payment or ot her valuable consideration,
the building , the construction, manufacture, the p rocessing, fabrication,
erection, installation, fitting out, improvement, m odification, repair or
commissioning of any moveable or immoveable propert y.” As a result of this
amended definition, the builders and developers bec ome liable to pay tax on
the sale of their under construction flats to the prospective buyers with effect
th June 2006 in respect of the transfer of property i n goods involved in
execution of such contracts. However, it is abundan tantly clarified that if sales
takes place after the construction is completed the n the tax is not applicable
on the sales of such flats or commercial complexes etc.
The constitutional validity of the said amendment w as challenged by the
The Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry and oth ers by way of a writ
petition bearing number 2022 of 2007 filed before t he Hon’ble Bombay High
Court whereby the hon’ble Court was pleased to grant a conditional interim
stay with regards to applicability of tax on said s ale. But on 10
th April 2012,
the hon’ble Bombay High Court after the final heari ng was pleased to uphold
the constitutional validity of the amendment made t o definition of “Sale”.
Hence in view of this judgment, the applicability o f tax upon the builders
and developers in respect of the transfer of proper ty in goods involved in
execution of building/construction contracts is hel d valid and the same
becomes effective from the date of amendment i.e. 2 0
th June 2006.
For the sake of bringing in simplicity of calculati on of this tax, The
Maharashtra Value Added Tax Act provides for three options to the builders/
developers to discharge their tax liability under a ny one of this option as
OPTION-1:As per rule 58 of the Maharashtra Value Added Tax R ules, 2005
the sales price may be determined after deducting f rom the
agreement value; the value of land, labour, charger s for planning,
designing, architects fees, hire charges of machine ry etc. The tax is
computed on the value arrived as above. The tax com puted as
above is reduced after considering the tax paid on the purchases of
building material (i.e. input tax credit). The tax so determined is
required to be finally paid.
OPTION-2: The rule 58 also provides for the standard deductio n at 30% as
given in the Table. The deduction towards the land value is taken
from the total agreement value, the sales price is computed by
further taking standard deductions (@ 30%) as provi ded in the
Table. The tax is computed after applying the sched ule rate of tax
on sales price so arrived. The tax computed as abov e is reduced
after considering the tax paid on the purchases of building
material (i.e. input tax credit). The tax so determ ined is required to
be finally paid.
OPTION-3: The section 42(3) of the Maharashtra Value Added Ta x Act
provides for tax at the rate of 5% on the entire co ntract value. The
developer may opt for this and calculate the tax li ability at the rate
of 5%. This tax liability is reduced by the amount of taxes paid on
purchases i.e. Input Tax Credit. The balance tax li ability so
computed is to be discharged.
Further, during the intervening period of litigat ion, various
developers associations had made representations be fore the State
Government to bring in a more simplified method of taxation in this respect.
Accordingly, the State Government, on examination, announced a scheme
and issued a notification. As a result in respect o f the agreements made on or
st April 2010 the applicable tax rate is fixed at 1% of the agreement
It is now learnt by the Sales Tax Department on t he scrutiny of
the books of accounts of certain developers after t he passing of the judgment
of the Bombay High Court, that many developers have collected taxes from
their customers but have failed to discharge their tax liability by depositing
the collected tax into the Government Treasury.
Now considering the three options as discussed ab ove, it becomes
apparent that the tax liability of developer for th e period 20.06.2006 to
31.03.2010 may come to much less than 5% of the agr eement value after
adjustment of the available set-off as may be avail able to him.
The law being clear on the point of leviability o f tax upon such
developers, it is advised that they discharge their tax liability as may be
applicable to them immediately without any further delay.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS [FAQs] ON TAXATION
1. What is the effective date from which the VAT will be applicable for
sale of under constructed flat? -
Ans: The VAT is payable from the date of amendment i.e. 20 Jun e,
2. On what type of contracts the VAT is payable?
Ans: VAT is payable in respect of sale of under construction flat.
3. Whether VAT is payable on the sale of completed flat?
Ans: VAT is not payable if a completed flat is sold by the develop er.
4. How is VAT calculated? Is it on under construction or ready fl ats?
Ans: It is on under construction flat not on ready flats.
5. Who has to pay VAT; Flat buyer or Developer?
Ans: The liability to pay VAT is on developer.
6. Who has to pay VAT if a developer has not told the buyer of VAT to be
paid when he purchased flat post 2006?
Ans: The developer has to pay the VAT.
7. What is the rate of tax under VAT Act applicable for agreement to sell
for under construction flats?
Ans: Tax rates would be those which apply to the goods in whi ch
property is transferred.
8. The agreement to sell the flat was executed before 20.06.2006 and the
building was under construction and possession is given after
20.06.2006. Whether the VAT will apply in such case because the
agreements were executed prior to 20.06.2006? If yes how the sale
value will be determined for calculation of VAT? Whether the amo unt
received prior to 20.06.2006 will be exempt from VAT? .
Ans: Yes. VAT will apply. It will be levied on value received or recei vable
after 20th June, 2006.
9. Whether the levy of VAT on agreement for under construction fla ts/
shops etc. is covered with in the amended definition of Works
Contract? When is it not leviable?
Ans: Yes. It is covered. If the sale is after completion, there is no l evy of
10. What are the various options available to the developers for disclo sing
Ans: Developers can discharge their tax liability by any of the fol lowing
option:- From 20.06.2006 to 31.03.2010
1. Composition Scheme U/s 42 (3) - Under this scheme developer
has to pay 5% tax on the agreement value. Land deduction is n ot
available. Input tax credit is available subject to the reductio n of 4
2. Actual Expense Method U/r 58- Under rule 58, the deduction of
Labour & service charges is available on actual basis. Land
deduction is also available. Set-off will be calculated subject t o the
conditions u/r 53 and 54.
3. Standard Deduction Method U/r 58- Under rule 58, the
deduction of land cost will be allowed. Thereafter, 30% stand ard
deduction from remaining amount will be available as per pro viso
to sub-rule 1. Set-off will be calculated subject to the condit ions
u/r 53 and 54.
The developers can opt for fourth option also, under this
option u/s 42 (3A), developer has to pay 1% tax on agreement
value. No land deduction and input tax credit is available.
Needless to mention that, the developers will be required to
make the payment of interest according to the provisions of law.
11. Whether the developers will be eligible to claim set-off of VAT pai d on
Ans: Yes. The Purchases made on or after 20th June, 2006, will be
eligible for set off subject to MVAT rules. However, if the develop er
opts for 1% composition scheme for agreements registered from
1/4/2010 onwards, then no set off is eligible.
12. If composition scheme is not opted then what is the rate of ta x and
how the sales price will be determined? What are the deductions
permissible like labour charges, profit margin etc. In such cases how
the set off will be worked out?
Ans: Deductions are available as per rule 58. Set-off will be worke d out
as per rules 52, 53 and 54.
13. In the system, return cannot be accepted for old period prior to date of
registration. What is the situation?
Ans: The periodicity for earlier period will be set manually. Necessar y
instructions have been issued to help desks. Developers are requested
to contact to help desk officer.
14. Whether the credit of input tax paid while effecting purchases of
materials like cement, iron & steel etc. required to be used in the
Construction project, will be available?
Ans: Yes, they will get input tax credit of the taxes paid on pu rchases
subject to the set-off rules.
15. If an Agreement to Sell is prepared much in advance at the time w hen
a prospective buyer book the accommodation in a building under
construction and the developer concerned undertakes to give
possession of the accommodation so booked after obtaining
completion certificate. At what point of time the VAT und er the
amended law would be payable?
Ans: Tax is levied as and when the installments become due and
payable or are received, whichever is earlier.
16. Many times mere advances are received and agreement is executed
much later. What will be the point of liability whether at the time of
receiving the advances or at the time of execution of the agreement or
thereafter on possession?
Ans: Tax will be levied from the date of the agreement. The amount o f
advance, as and when it is adjusted towards the agreement
amount, will be taxed.
17. The builders receive non-refundable deposits and other charges under
the agreement such as electricity deposit, water charges, legal
charges, development charges etc. Whether such receipts will also
form part of sale price for VAT?
Ans: The amounts which are received as deposits will be a deduction to
the extent such amounts are actually paid to other authori ties.
18. In under construction flats, the amounts are received in
installments. How the sale price will be determined? Whether the
actual receipts will be taken as sales or the whole of the agreemen t
value will be taken as sale at the time of execution of the agr eement,
even though the amount is yet to be received?
Ans: Received or receivable. Receivable means due and payable.
19. Can the VAT applicable in above cases be collected by raising a d ebit
note or the same should be mentioned in the agreement itself?
Whether VAT should be collected on each installment or at one go
upon execution of the agreement?
Ans: Yes. It can be collected by raising a debit note. Specific mention in
the agreement is a choice of the contracting parties. It will b e
payable on the installments received.
20. Whether any interest or penalty will be attracted for non-
registration with sales tax authorities under VAT and non-
submission of VAT returns for the transactions executed for sale
of flats/ shops under construction between intervening period i.e.
20.06.2006 to 07.02.2007?
Ans: Please refer to circular 14T of 2012 Dt. 6
th August, 2012.
21. What will be the VAT implications where mere advances are
received from buyers and agreement for sell is not executed with
Ans: There is no tax liability.
22. If a project based partnership firm is created for the project which
commenced in the year 2006 and completed in the year 2008 and
stands dissolved as on today and the bank account is also closed as
of now, then what would be the legal implications of produ cing the
partnership deed that is already dissolved for obtaining MVAT
Ans: The developers have to provide evidence for the period when the
firm was in existence. The necessary instructions have been
issued to the registration authorities. Dealer may contact to
respective registration authority in this regard.
23. Whether a possession letter or letter from architect can be termed as
completion of building. Who is the proper authority to gran t the
completion letter? Sometimes application for completion is made but
completion is granted much later in such case whether date of
application is considered to be the date of completion?
Ans: Whether sale is of a completed flat is to be ascertained from bo oks
of accounts. Necessary clarification had been issued in Trade
Circular 12 T of 2007 dt. 7/2/2007.
24. In the event where an agreement entered into is cancelled and said
flat is sold to someone else and the agreement is again entered. Wha t
would be the VAT implication for the first sale and the second one?
Ans: If the first sale of flat is cancelled then the subsequent sale of the
same flat by the developer is taxable. The tax paid on first sale can
be adjusted towards subsequent sale.
25. If builder constructs the flat on the land which is owned by land
owner and out of the constructed flats some flats are given to land
owner and other flats are sold by builder to prospective buyer. Land
owner sales the flat afterwards to buyers. In such instance what will
be the point of taxation? Whether land owner is liable to pa y the VAT
on sales of flats which were handed over to him by builder?
Ans: Builder is liable to pay tax only in respect of sale of fl ats to
prospective buyers. The flats which are given to land owners will
not be taxable. The land owner when subsequently sales the flat
will not liable to pay any tax as he is not a dealer.
26. Out of the three different methods of tax working, the
builders/developers are given option to choose a method of their
choice with a restriction that method should be applied to wh ole of
the project concerned and no deviation is permitted. It may h appen
that in a project having execution period of more than 2 ye ars, there
may be possibility that some flats may have been sold before
31.03.2010 and some may be sold after 31.03.2010. In tha t scenario,
whether the flat purchasers who have entered into an agreement af ter
31.03.2010 will be entitled to pay VAT to the developers @ 1% of
Ans: The composition scheme of 1% is applicable in respect of
agreement registered on or after 1
st April 2010, irrespective of the
method adopted for periods prior to 01/04/2010. However, set -off
or deductions earlier claimed in respect of such agreements will
have to be reversed.
27. Most of the development/redevelopment projects involve purchase of
Transferable Development Rights (TDR) as these are related to land
only, the cost of TDR should also be available as deduction from sale
price, along with cost of land.
Ans: Yes, the cost of TDR will be available for deduction from sale price
along with cost of land.
28. A scheme was launched in 2005-06. Major purchases of cement and
steel were effected during the year 2005-06. The purchases effected
after 20.06.2006 are much lesser as compared to those effect prior to
it. Sales of flats were effected during 2007-08, 2008-09, 200 9-10 etc.
that is after 20.06.2006. Dealer is liable to pay tax on all these sales
as there was no completion certificate. Even if he chooses to dischar ge
liability by way of composition @ 5%, he is losing set-off of taxes paid
prior to 20.06.2006. In the normal course this set-off is not admissible
as per provisions of law. Whether such cases can be dealt with
administratively? In addition to taxes whether there will be b urden of
interest for these old periods?
Ans: Developer will not be entitled for set-off on purchase effected pri or
to 20/06/2006. Interest will be payable in addition to taxes paid.
29. If the builders/developers commences project of 100 flats and the said
project is sold for three years 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-1 0, like 30
flats in first year, 40 flats in next year and 30 flats i n third year.
Whether builder/developer is allowed to claim land deduction
proportionately in three years or in first year only?
Ans: He may claim land deduction in first year or proportionat ely in
30. The builder had sold and registered one flat in January 2010 and
three flats in May 2010. Can builder pay VAT for one fla t as per
Standard Deduction Method u/r 58 and on balance three flat pay 1%?
Can he pay 1% tax under Composition Scheme u/s 42(3A) for all the
four flats as on today? Can he change the method of tax in same
project after 01.04.2010 under Composition Scheme u/s 42 (3A )?
Ans: He is not allowed to take benefit of 1% Composition Scheme u/s
42(3A) for flats sold and registered in January 2010. The co mposition
scheme u/s 42(3A) at 1% of agreement value is applicable for
agreement entered on or after 01.04.2010.
31. In the course of construction project what will be the impact of land
cost when it is incurred or paid prior to 20-06-2006 and there is no
land cost there after i.e. within the period: 20/06/2006 to
Ans: You may claim the deduction of land cost at the time sales.
32. Developer has started construction of a project prior to 01.04. 2006
consisting of about 100 units. The work was started in the yea r 2005
and completed in 2008.
Whether it has to pay MVAT in respect of all the 100 units or only
the units sold under construction i.e. 30 units and not on 7 0 units
which have been sold after construction was completed, occupation certificate obtained and documents registered.
Ans: The taxability will arise only in respect of transfer of property after
20/06/2006. Please refer to Trade Circular 14 T of 2012 da ted 06
33. While calculating the liability for the period from 20/06/ 2006 to
31/03/2010, some developers have effected purchases in one year
and there are no sales in that year. As a result there is a refu nd. In
the second year, there are sales. Can we adjust the refund of first year
to second year?
Ans: As per the provisions of MVAT Act, refunds cannot be carried f orward
from one year to next year. However, it has been decided
administratively that in respect of developers the carried forward of
refund from one year to next year will be allowed for the period from
20/06/2006 to 31/03/2010.
34. A buyer has purchased ready flat in April 2006 when no VAT was in
place. Building society got formed in 2008/2009. Can the develo per
ask VAT from such buyers?
Ans: Since it is a sale of completed flat, no VAT is payable.
35. A buyer has purchased under construction flat in 2009. Follo wing
discussions with the developers, he put 5% as VAT to be paid in a n
escrow account. Will VAT remain at 5% or would the buyers ha ve to
shell out extra for interest for not paying VAT over the past three
Ans: Considering the various options available to developers, the lia bility
may come much less than 5 %. However, the developers are also
required to pay interest for late payment of taxes.
36. If the buyer refuses to pay VAT more than 5% as per Government ’s
order, does the developer have any right to demand more VAT?
Ans: The liability to pay VAT is on developer. It is not contingen t on
collection by developer. However, whatever option the developer
chooses to discharge the tax liability, the net burden will be less than
37. Was the recent Bombay High Court order in reference to paying 1%
Ans: High Court has upheld the composition scheme of 1% w.e.f.
01/04/2010. Also, the High Court upheld the amendment to
definition of “Sale” from 20/06/2006.
38. If the Builder, Developer has commenced the construction in 2006- 07,
initially for two years there was no sales, there were only pu rchases
for first two years, i.e. 2006-07 and 2007-08, the sales ag reements
were effected in the year 2008-09. Whether the dealer can claim
refund for the first two years or can he carry forward th e set-off of first
two years to next financial year.
Ans: He can carry forward the set-off of first two years to next financial
year for the period from 20/06/2006 to 31/03/2010.
39. If the dealer has effected purchases in one year and part sales of f lats
has taken place in that year and part of the sales in next y ear, How
the set-off to be granted, set-off to be granted proportionat ely or full
set off in first year.
Ans: Set-off is based on purchases. He may claim full set off i n the year in
which purchase are made. However, if he discharge the liability @ 1%
under composition scheme for agreement entered on or after
01/04/2010, then he is required to reverse the set-off proportio nately,
if it is already claimed.
40. In the first year of construction projects, purchases, expenses and
land purchases are more in comparison to less sales or less
agreements, therefore whether the Builders, Developers can carry
forward the ITC, land Deductions to periods of next year as sales in
next year are substantial.
Ans: The Builders, Developers can carry forward the ITC; land Deduct ions
to periods of next year for the period from 20/06/2006 t o
41. At what point of time deduction has to be given in respect of va lue of
undivided share in Land u/r 58(1A). Whether such value of lan d be
deducted from first few installments till the value of land i s covered
and thereafter deduction for payment made (or to be made) t o sub-
contractors and from the final installments reduction on accou nt of
other services (as per Table), or all these deductions have to be
apportioned proportionately on all the installments (as and when
amount received from the purchaser/s). And the periodic taxable
value should be calculated accordingly.
Ans: The developer may apply the initial installments towards cost of land.
42. During the period 2006-2010, since there are huge purchases of
material during 1st year, so developer has to claim refund and after
that there are dues due to sell of flats. What will be the posi tion? Can
he carry forward his refund to the next year?
Ans: Yes. He can carry forward it to next year for the period from
20/06/2006 to 31/03/2010.
43. The developers have complained that contrary to the High Court order
of 2007 and 2012, sales tax department have erred in considerin g
them as dealers and demanding high tax from them?
Ans: Hon’ High Court had upheld the amendment to MVAT Act and levy
of tax on sale of under construction flats.
44. What action is the government planning to take on behalf of
consumers if VAT of 5% is collected post 2010?
Ans: The excess collection of tax if any shall be liable for for feiture.