Linking income tax returns with Aadhaar No and PAN is a welcome step, but not enough to identify every person who is a potential tax payer or a perennial tax evader. It is important to link all real estate acquisitions with these unique identification numbers.
The Benami properties act amendments that came into effect from 1st November 2016, days before the announcement of demonetization needs to be further reinforced and augmented with tools that facilitate auto identification of the property holder. The newly amended law prohibits the transfer of Benami property from benamidar by the real owner. It also permits seizure without compensation of the Benami property by the Government. However, there is some work that needs to be done in tightening the laws for identification of Benami properties.
Each property needs to be identified with Aadhaar
For such identification, every property bought should be linked to Aadhaar numbers, to make the system foolproof. Black money in India has stashed away either in form of liquid cash or in the form of movable or immovable assets. Nearly sixty percent of the black money is pumped into immovable assets in form of both residential and commercial property, by individual or family managed trusts or closely held charitable trusts.
To ensure that such property is not bought in the name of their pet dogs and cats of India by thousands of ultra rich tax evaders, or in the name of loyal servants, fictitious unregistered trusts, each piece of property bought in the last ten years needs to be tagged with an Aadhaar number. True this will be a mammoth exercise. As per estimates over 25000 high-rise structures have been built ever since the high rise buildings act was amended in 2005, creating over two million dwelling units in the high-rise apartment sector alone that would be each costing over Rs 10 Lacs. Another 20 million transactions would have possibly happened in other residential and commercial properties. All these could be linked with the buyers Aadhaar number over the next financial year, so that every property bought becomes Aadhaar linked. If necessary new legislation should be introduced but the mechanism should, however, be simple, fair and un-dimensional to make this massive property identification exercise easily executable.
Transparency and ease of business are equally important
Of course, there will be a shakeup in the real estate market following such legislation. Price rationalization will take place as people who invested massively in Benami property will want to disinvest in a hurry. It is, therefore, imperative that alternative avenues for investing in the real estate businesses are opened up while tightening the screws on Benami property. For years real estate agents have been buying large holdings from property developers and selling them off at a profit without payment of taxes. The builder is usually in league with the dealer syndicates who indulge in property booking. This syndicate reserves four to five lower floors at the start of the project in each building, paying the builder advances in both cash as well as through cheques.
All that practice encourages black money because a lot of the early reservations are not in the form of legal ownerships, but kuccha agreements. This because it would need property tax payment for a flat to change hands from the builder to a broker to flat owners, that is usually avoided by kuccha deals. The legislation change must also have a clearly defined provision by which the property developer takes advances from property dealers as an investor without having to do kuccha deals. To create transparency you have to facilitate ease of business and models abroad exist that make property investing a legal and profitable function without resorting to kuccha deal making. It is time India takes heed of such practices and modernizes its archaic laws in real estate business.
Source: Financial Express
Under Construction Flat Booking Finds Tax Deduction Under Time Constraints
If a buyer makes a transaction to book an under-construction flat and if he acquires it within the three-year period of the sale of his old house, then he is entitled to a tax deduction, says a ruling from the Mumbai bench of the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT). If an apartment is booked in an under construction project than it must be viewed as a method of constructing residential tenements, says the December 18 judgment.
That means if the buyer uses the entire gain from the transaction to buy another house within two years or construct another house within three years. The two- and three-year period applies even if the buyer bought another house a year before selling the first one. But the property should have been bought in the name of the seller.
It is mandatory that within a period of two years after or one year before the date of transfer of old house, the taxpayer should construct a residential house or acquire another residential house within a period of three years from the date of transfer of the old house. The date of receipt of compensation will determine the period of acquisition or construction in a case of compulsory acquisition.
This exemption is effective and can only be claimed in respect of one residential house property purchased/constructed in India. In the case of multiple house purchases or constructions, the exemption under section 54 will be available in respect of one house only. Any purchases made outside the country does not fall under any kind of exemption. Section 54 gives relaxation in such cases by providing relief to the taxpayer who sells his residential house and acquires another residential house from the gained capital.
After the sale of an asset, the difference between the buying price and the selling price is a capital gain or a capital loss. These are further classified as long-term or short-term. If a property is held for 24 months or less, with effective from 2017-18, then that asset is treated as Short Term Capital Asset. Then an investor can make
treated as Long Term Capital Asset. Then only a Long Term Capital Gain (LTCG) or Long Term Capital Loss (LTCL) can be made on that investment.
ITAT agreed that booking of a new flat in an under-construction apartment should be considered as a case of “construction” and not “purchase”, hence following the earlier decisions of the Bombay high court and the tribunal itself. Further ITAT allowed the fact that the construction can began prior to the date of sale of the old asset. Same was stated in the earlier judicial decisions of the Karnataka high court and Ahmedabad ITAT, that the date of commencement is not relevant but it is the completion of construction that comes in relevance to section 54.
HDFC and Quikr Make A Deal
According to a deal between HDFC and Quikr, a stake of more than 3 percent will be given to the mortgage giant in return to its transfer of offline and online real estate brokerage business to the classified ads platform.
After acquiring Commonfloor in 2016 Quikr already has a major presence in online real estate broking.
“Most of the searches for real estate are moving online. Quikr has a much bigger presence online. Through this deal, we are partnering Quikr in the broking business,” said HDFC MD Renu Sud Karnad. According to her, this deal will strengthen Quirks position with offline support.
The deal suggests that HDFC will transfer to Quikr its entire shareholding in HDFC Realty, a real estate brokerage platform, and HDFC Developers, which runs the HDFC RED online platform.
Karnad added that the deal expects Quikr to generate home loan leads for HDFC. The transaction consists of a co-branded alliance between both parties and the HDFC brand will continue to be used online for a year.
The e-real estate classifieds platform HDFC RED has around 7,000 project listings and generates traffic of over 80,000 unique visitors per month. HDFC Realty has a 300-member, in-house sales team, and 7,000-strong nationwide broker network. Avendus Capital was the exclusive financial adviser to Quikr while Kotak Investment Banking acted as the exclusive financial adviser to HDFC on this.
30 million monthly users make Quikr India’s largest classifieds platform. It runs multiple vertical businesses across real estate, automobiles, jobs, services, and goods. The Quikr Home, its real estate vertical generates 3.5 million monthly unique visitors.
Both companies intend to work closely and conduct analytics and identify potential homebuyers, and therefore home loan customers, early in their home-buying journey. Quikr founder and CEO Pranay Chulet said, “We see great synergies between Quikr and HDFC as we start working together to bring a seamless online-to-offline platform to developers and consumers.”
Retaining The Sustainability: GRIHA Launches Star Rating For Urban Homes
Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), is the National Rating System of India, a Sanskrit word meaning – ‘Abode’. Human architecture has always consumed resources in the form of energy, water and material from the environment. From their construction to operation, these habitats absorb the resources throughout their life cycles, emitting wastes in the end. This emission could be direct in the form of municipal wastes or indirect emission into the atmosphere, such as from electricity generation. Hence GRIHA was formed to reduce an architecture’s resource consumption, waste production and overall environment impact up to certain national acceptable limits.
In attempt to quantify all these aspects, like energy consumption, waste generation etc. GRIHA tries to manage, control and bring down the respective to the best possible limit. Being a rating tool, it helps people to assess the performance of their respective projects against the national benchmarks.
Hence it becomes an evaluation of the environmental performance of an architecture on a holistic level. Covering its entire life cycle, this evaluation provides a specific standard for a ‘green building’. This rating system aims to strike a balance between established institutions and emerging concepts, on a national as well as the international level.
The process starts with an online submission of documents according to the criteria. Then a team of professionals and experts from GRIHA Secretariat takes a site visit for the evaluation of the building. There are four different sections categorized by 34 criteria in GRIHA rating system. Some of them are site selection and site planning, conservation and efficient utilization of resources, building operation and maintenance, and innovation.
Sanjay Seth, CEO, Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) Council says, “A rating between one and five stars is being provided, helping the costumers to know about the sustainability of the houses”.
According to the Union Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, the climate resilient and sustainable buildings are the need of the hour. As the government is aiming to construct around 1.2 crore houses for the urban poor under the affordable housing scheme.
In one of his keynote addresses, Andreas Baum, Ambassador of Switzerland to India and Bhutan said that the Indo Swiss collaboration is operating with the Indian Bureau of Energy Efficiency in the development of guidelines for energy efficient housing.
“At present India is witnessing a rapid urbanisation, if each building becomes greener than the last one, then we have a huge opportunity and hope for our country. We need to look beyond the conventional methods of building, in order to provide our citizens with a good quality of life. Hence, GRIHA gains important in meeting our national goals with respect to a sustainable society”, says Dr Ajay Mathur, director general, TERI & president, GRIHA Council.
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