SERVICE TAX ON CONSTRUCTION SERVICES: CLARIFICATIONS

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CIRCULAR NO. 151/2/2012-ST, DATED 10-2-2012
Many issues have been referred by the field formations, in the recent past, seeking clarification regarding the levy and collection of service tax on construction services [clauses (zzq),(zzzh) of section 65(105) of the Finance Act, 1994], in the light of varying business models. Across the country, divergent business models and practices are being followed in the construction sector. Some of these business models and practices could be region specific.
2. From the issues referred by the field formations, important ones have been identified model wise, examined and clarified as follows:
2.1. Tripartite Business Model (Parties in the model: (i) landowner; (ii) builder or developer; and (iii) contractor who undertakes construction): Issue involved is regarding the liability to pay service tax on flats/houses agreed to be given by builder/developer to the land owner towards the land /development rights and to other buyers.
Clarification: Here two important transactions are identifiable: (a) sale of land by the landowner which is not a taxable service; and (b) construction service provided by the builder/developer. The builder/developer receives consideration for the construction service provided by him, from two categories of service receivers: (a) from landowner: in the form of land/development rights; and (b) from other buyers: normally in cash.
(A)  Taxability of the construction service:
  (i)  For the period prior to 01/07/2010: construction service provided by the builder/developer will not be taxable, in terms of Board's Circular No.108/02/2009-ST, dated 29.01.2009.
 (ii)  For the period after 01/07/2010, construction service provided by the builder/developer is taxable in case any part of the payment/development rights of the land was received by the builder/ developer before the issuance of completion certificate and the service tax would be required to be paid by builder/developers even for the flats given to the land owner.
(B)  Valuation:
  (i)  Value, in the case of flats given to first category of service receiver, is determinable in terms of section 67(1)(iii) read with rule 3(a) of Service Tax (Determination of Value) Rules, 2006, as the consideration for these flats i.e., value of land / development rights in the land may not be ascertainable ordinarily. Accordingly, the value of these flats would be equal to the value of similar flats charged by the builder/developer from the second category of service receivers. In case the prices of flats/houses undergo a change over the period of sale (from the first sale of flat/house in the residential complex to the last sale of the flat/house), the value of similar flats as are sold nearer to the date on which land is being made available for construction should be used for arriving at the value for the purpose of tax. Service tax is liable to be paid by the builder/developer on the 'construction service' involved in the flats to be given to the land owner, at the time when the possession or right in the property of the said flats are transferred to the land owner by entering into a conveyance deed or similar instrument (e.g., allotment letter).
 (ii)  Value, in the case of flats given to the second category of service receivers, shall be determined in terms of section 67 of the Finance Act, 1994.
2.2 Redevelopment including slum rehabilitation projects: Generally in this model, land is owned by a society, comprising members of the society with each member entitled to his share by way of an apartment. When it becomes necessary after the lapse of a certain period, society or its flat owners may engage a builder/developer for undertaking re-construction. Society /individual flat owners give 'No Objection Certificate' (NOC) or permission to the builder/developer, for re-construction. The builder/developer makes new flats with same or different carpet area for original owners of flats and additionally may also be involved in one or more of the following:
 (i)  construct some additional flats for sale to others;
(ii)  arrange for rental accommodation or rent payments for society members/original owners for stay during the period of re-construction;
(iii)  pay an additional amount to the original owners of flats in the society.
Clarification: Under this model, the builder/developer receives consideration for the construction service provided by him, from two categories of service receivers. First category is the society/members of the society, who transfer development rights over the land (including the permission for additional number of flats), to the builder/developer. The second category of service receivers consist of buyers of flats other than the society/members. Generally, they pay by cash.
(A)  Taxability:
  (i)  Re-construction undertaken by a building society by directly engaging a builder/developer will not be chargeable to service tax as it is meant for the personal use of the society/its members. Construction of additional flats undertaken as part of the reconstruction, for sale to the second category of service receivers, will also not be a taxable service, during the period prior to 01/07/2010;
 (ii)  For the period after 01/07/2010, construction service provided by the builder/developer to second category of service receivers is taxable in case any payment is made to the builder/developer before the issuance of completion certificate.
(B)  Valuation:
Value, in the case of flats given to second category of service receivers, shall be determined in terms of section 67(1)(i) of the Finance Act, 1994.
2.3 Investment model: In this model, before the commencement of the project, the same is on offer to investors. Either a specified area of construction is earmarked or a flat of a specified area is allotted to the investors and as it happens in some places, additionally the investor may also be promised a fixed rate of interest. After a certain specified period an investor has the option either to exit from the project on receipt of the amount invested along with interest or he can re-sell the said allotment to another buyer or retain the flat for his own use.
Clarification: In this model, after 01/07/2010, investment amount shall be treated as consideration paid in advance for the construction service to be provided by the builder/developer to the investor and the said amount would be subject to service tax. If the investor decides to exit from the project at a later date, either before or after the issuance of completion certificate, the builder/developer would be entitled to take credit under rule 6(3) of the Service Tax Rules, 1994( to the extent he has refunded the original amount). If the builder/developer resells the flat before the issuance of completion certificate, again tax liability would arise.
2.4 Conversion Model: Conversion of any hitherto untaxed construction/complex or part thereof into a building or civil structure to be used for commerce or industry, after lapse of a period of time.
Clarification: Mere change in use of the building does not involve any taxable service, unless conversion falls within the meaning of commercial or industrial construction service.
2.5 Non-requirement of completion certificate/where completion certificate is waived or not prescribed: In certain states, completion certificates have been waived or are considered as not required for certain specified types of buildings. Doubts have been raised, regarding levy of service tax on the construction service provided, in such situations.
Clarification: Where completion certificate is waived or is not prescribed for a specified type of building, the equivalent of completion certificate by whatever name called should be used as the dividing line between service and sale. In terms of the Service Tax (Removal of Difficulty) Order, 2010, dated 22/06/2010, authority competent to issue completion certificate includes an architect or chartered engineer or licensed surveyor.
2.6 Build- Operate - Transfer (BOT) Projects: Many variants of this model are being followed in different regions of the country, depending on the nature of the project. Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) is a popular variant. Generally under BOT model, Government or its agency, concessionaire (who may be a developer/builder himself or may be independent) and the users are the parties. Risk taking and sharing ability of the parties concerned is the essence of a BOT project. Government or its agency by an agreement transfers the 'right to use' and/or 'right to develop' for a period specified, usually thirty years or near about, to the concessionaire.
Clarification: Transactions involving taxable service take place usually at three different levels: firstly, between Government or its agency and the concessionaire; secondly, between concessionaire and the contractor and thirdly, between concessionaire and users, all in terms of specific agreements.
At the first level, Government or its agency transfers the right to use and/or develop the land, to the concessionaire, for a specific period, for construction of a building for furtherance of business or commerce (partly or wholly). Consideration for this taxable service may be in the nature of upfront lease amount or annual charges paid by the concessionaire to the Government or its agency. Here the Government or its agency is providing 'renting of immovable property service' (renting of vacant land to be used for furtherance of business or commerce) and in such cases the concessionaire becomes the service receiver.
In this model, though the concessionaire is undertaking construction of a building to be used wholly or partly for furtherance of business or commerce, on the land provided by the government or its agency for temporary use, he will not be treated as a service provider since such construction has been undertaken by him on his own account and he remains the owner of the building during the concession period.
At the second level, transaction can take place between a concessionaire and the contractor. Where the concessionaire himself does not have exposure to construction sector, he may engage a contractor for undertaking construction of a building on the land, in respect of which right to use has been obtained in his favour, from the Government or its agency. If the concessionaire is himself a builder/developer, this level of transaction may not arise. Where an independent contractor is engaged by a concessionaire for undertaking construction for him, then service tax is payable on the construction service provided by the contractor to the concessionaire.
At the third level, the concessionaire enters into agreement with several users for commercially exploiting the building developed/constructed by him, during the lease period. For example, the user may be paying a rent or premium on the sub-lease for temporary use of immovable property or part thereof, to the concessionaire. At this third level, concessionaire is the service provider and user of the building is the service receiver. The concessionaire may provide to the users, taxable services such as 'renting of immovable property service', 'business support service', 'management, maintenance or repair service', 'sale of space for advertisement', etc. Service tax is leviable on the taxable services provided by the concessionaire to the users.
There could be many variants of the BOT model explained above and implications of tax may differ. For example, at times it is possible that the concessionaire may outsource the management or commercial exploitation of the building developed/constructed by him, to another person and may receive a pre-determined amount as commission. Taxable service here will be business auxiliary service and service tax is leviable on the commission.
(A)  Taxability:
  (i)  the service provided by the Government or its agency to the concessionaire is liable to service tax;
 (ii)  the construction services provided by the contractor to the concessionaire would be examined from the point of taxability as to whether the activity is not otherwise excluded;
(iii)  the services provided by the concessionaire to the user of the facility are liable to service tax;
(B)  Persons liable to pay tax:
Government or its agency and concessionaire are liable to pay tax on the services being provided by them. There could be several other persons liable to pay service tax, depending on the variant of the BOT model followed.
2.7 Joint Development Agreement Model: Under this model, land owner and builder/developer join hands and may either create a new entity or otherwise operate as an unincorporated association, on partnership/joint/collaboration basis, with mutuality of interest and to share common risk/profit together. The new entity undertakes construction on behalf of landowner and builder/developer.
Clarification: Circular 148/17/2011-ST, dated 13/12/2011, particularly paragraphs 7, 8, 9 applymutandis mutandis in this regard.
3. This Circular may be communicated to the field formations and service tax assessees, through Trade Notice/ Public Notice.

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SECURITIES (MNP) (TDS)2007-08 ` 01.07.12 01.09.2008 01.10.2012 06.07.2009 07.08.2012 1 PERCENT EXCISE ITEMS LIST 1 sep 1% excise 10 year nsc 10(10C) 1000 court cases judgements supplied to ITO 1000 rupee note 11-2008 11-2010 130 items 14.08.2008 15 august 150 Rs coin 15g 15h 18-12-2009 192(1A) 192A 194 I 194A 194c from 01.10.2009 194H 194j 194LC 1981-2007 2% cst 2% excise 2004 2008 2008-09 FY 2010 206AA 234A 234B 234C 234c interest calculator 234E 23AC 23ACA 23B 24C 24q annexure II 25 paisa coin 271(1)(c) 271B 271H 272B 27A 280 280 challan 281 282 283 29 AUGUST 29.04.2010. 29/08/2008 29/2008 service tax 2g meaning use 3 idiots 30 MARCH 31st March 32-2010 33 of 2009 35(2AA) 35(2AB) 3CD 3g meaning use 40(b) 43B 44 AB EXEMPTED INCOME 44AA 44AB AGRICULTURE 44AB new limit 44AB NON RESIDENT 44ad 46/2012 45/2012 49C 5 day week 5 years post office deposit 5/2011 50 paisa coin 54b 54EC 54ee 54f 54gb 5th paycommission punjab 6 % excise 6 crore advance limit 6/2005 69/2010 6th cpc 6TH PAY COMMISSION 70% of pan etds 7th Central Pay Commission 8 tips to save tax 80C 80ccc 80CCD 80cce 80CCF 80CCG 80d 80DDB 80EE 80G 80GG 80GGA 80GGB 80ggc 80tta 80U 85% of pan etds 86/2008 DATED 13-08-2008 87A rebate 89(1) 89(1) relief calculator 9.5 % rate for private epf 92E 95% of pan etds 98 dated 04/01/08 aadhaar aakash tablet aam admi aar Aayakar Sampark Kendra abatement abolished ACCOUNT PAYEE DRAFT Accounting ACCOUNTING CODE accounting code for services ACCOUNTING FOR GOVT GRANTS accounting standards ACES ADD IN Add-Ins additional relief in budget 2010 adjustment of advance FBT with advance Tax advance rullings advance salary ADVANCE TAX CALCULATOR advance tax challan ADVANCE TAX CUT OFF AMOUNT ADVANCE TAX DATES AFFIDAVIT AG Projects Technologies Ltd RT age 80 addition pension aibea wage revision aibea wage revision latest news aiboa aiboc aiboc wage revision AIG AIR airline ticket booking tds airlines all is well allowances allownces alphabet of inspiration alteration on check 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Emilio Ruiz Berdejo (2010) 320 ITR 190 (Bom.) cloning of atm card clubbing of income COLLECTION CHARGES COLOR SCHEME COMMISSION ON SMALL SAVINGS common error in 2009-10 common error in itr 4-5-6 compa companies bill 2012 COMPANIES RATE COMPANY BILL 2011 company deposit Company Law Settlement Scheme COMPANY REGISTRATION complusory payment of taxes Composition scheme service tax COMPUTER AS FAX MACHINE computer sytem at ito office CONCEPT PAPER configure yahoo mail in outlook express consolidate account statement construction purchase of house Consultancy Service Consumer Price Index continues services CONTRIBUTION TO NEW PENSION SCHEME CONTRIBUTORY PENSION FUND CONVERT FIGURES INTO WORD EXCEL COPARCENER CorpMcash corporation bank correction etds CORRECTION IN PAN DATA correction in section CORRECTION RETURN CORRECTION RETURN.ETDS cost accounting cost audit cost inflation index cost inflation index 2012-13 COST INFLATION INDEX FY 2010-11 COST INFLATION INDEX FY 2011-12 COST OF INDEXATION CALCULATOR court case in entry tax punjab cpc phone number cpf Credit card CREDIT CARD BILL PAYMENT ICICI BANK credit scores cricket team critical illness CROSSED DEMAND DRAFT CRR crr reducred CS DIVESH GOYAL CST CST 3% OR 2 % cst act 1956 cst form CST FORM STATUS cst rate changed CST REDUCE RATE ctt currency CURRENCY TRADING ILLEGAL custom custom changes in budget cusual leave DA MERGE da rate da rate 01.07.2012 da rate january 2013 da rate july 2012 da rate wef 01.01.2012 date extension DDO ASK RENT RECIPT ddt dearness allowance Debit card DEBT EQUITY RATIO debt funds debt trap declared goods DEDUCTION 80C deduction for higher studies deduction on saving bank interst deduction u/s 80DD Deemed income of employee deemed services defective return defence officers defence pay defence pay scales DELAY IN FILING delete ledger in tally DELHI HIGH COURT demat deposit tax of two quarter in single challan depreciation depreciation on car depreciation on commercial vehicle. DEPRECIATION ON INTANGIBLE ASSETS depreciation rate depreciation rate 2009-10 DETAIL AFTER E FILLING DETAIL OF TIN Determination of value DIFFRENT TYPE OF TAXES digital signature din direct payment in bank account DIRECT SUBSIDY direct tax bill direct tax changes in budget direct tax code direct tax code 2009 Disability insurance discussion Paper distribution of salary dividend distribution tax dividend striping dnd do not call. document identification number document ientification number documents required for service tax registration domestic transfer pricing donation dot double taxation dow jones download download 89(1) relief calculator download direct tax code 2012 download form 16A download fvu download idfc INFRA BONDS FORM draft reply drawback rates dtaa dtc DUE DATE AY 2010-11 due date ay 2011-12