The Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced by the Indian government to boost the ease of doing business in India and improve the global rankings. GST is an indirect tax that has replaced all other forms of indirect taxation in India. It is a comprehensive tax module that charges taxes based on the value additions in multiple stages. The main objective of this taxation system was to remove the cascading effect of the tax, that is, the tax charged on the tax amount already included in the price of goods and services sold.
On 1st July 2019, the Goods & Services Tax Act came into effect and changed the business landscape for good. The tax was introduced on the principle of one-tax for the entire nation. There are three nodes of this taxation system; the central GST, the state GST and the integrated GST. Intra-State (within states) sales are eligible for both the central and the state GST whereas the Inter-state (between two states) sales are eligible for an integrated GST.
GST in the Real Estate Sector
The real estate sector is one of the most crucial economic growth simulators for any nation. The real sector that accounts for 6-8% of India’s GDP has a major role to play in the nation’s economic health. There has been a significant positive impact of introducing GST into the real estate sector. The real estate sector is considered as a safe investment option by the majority of Indians, and the residential property segment has witnessed a fairly large influx of investments over time.
The recent change in GST rate for residential properties (non-affordable housing segment) that came into effect from 1st April 2019 gave a major push in investment towards the real estate sector. The implementation of GST on property has simplified a lot of taxation hassles that were present earlier. The GST applicable to the real estate segment ranges from 5% to 18% depending on some crucial factors. Let’s peep into the impact of these recent changes on the real estate sector and how it has changed the tax estimates.
- GST levied on residential properties in the affordable housing segment: 1% without Input Tax Credit (ITC)
- GST levied on residential properties in the non-affordable housing segment: 5% without Input Tax Credit (ITC)
- GST levied on commercial properties: 12% with Input Tax Credit
- GST levied on under-construction properties: 12% with Input Tax Credit
The affordable housing category was redefined with special parameters to classify as affordable housing. The properties under this segment were divided into three categories:
- For metropolitan areas like Delhi NCR, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) the total carpet area of properties should not exceed 60 square meters.
- For other non-metropolitan cities, the total carpet area should not exceed 90 square meters.
- The total value of the property for both metropolitan and non-metropolitan category should not exceed Rs. 45 lakhs
GST Charges for Construction Materials
A lot of raw construction material goes into building a property, and the final value of the property reflects the cost of raw materials used. Since GST is charged on a multi-stage value addition basis, it is also applied to the cost of construction materials required to build a property. Let’s delve into the GST rates levied on some key real estate construction materials.
- GST levied on roofing tiles: 5%
- GST levied on natural sand: 5%
- GST levied on building brick: 5%
- GST levied on fly ash blocks: 5%
- GST levied on granite blocks: 12%
- GST levied on refractory bricks: 18%
- GST levied on bamboo flooring tile: 18%
- GST levied on glass for construction: 28%
- GST levied on Portland/ Slag cement: 28%
- GST levied on granite other than blocks: 18%
- GST levied on crude granite or marble rubble: 5%
- GST levied on wall-coverings and wallpapers: 28%
- GST levied on ceramic, support tiles and fillers: 28%
- GST levied on prefabricated structural components for buildings: 28%
GST Charges for Construction Services
Other than raw materials, there are construction workers and builders who are involved in the process and provide their services in the process of construction. These services are also a part of the real estate industry. Let’s peep into the GST rates applicable for construction-related services and see how they vary.
- GST levied on under-construction properties (included under Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme): 8%
- GST levied on under-construction properties (not included under Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme): 12%
- GST levied on the composite supply of work contracts for affordable housing: 12%
- GST levied on the composite supply of work contracts to government agencies: 12%
- GST levied on the composite supply of work contracts (not included in government agencies or affordable housing): 18%
- GST levied on work contracts (non-government bodies): 18%
Input Tax Credit for the Real Estate Industry
Input Tax Credit is a tool using which taxpayers can get a rebate on the additional tax paid for goods. It is introduced to remove the cascading effect of tax that we talked about earlier. In the simplest term, the Input Tax Credit can be explained as removing the taxes paid on inputs from the taxes to be paid on the final output. ITC can be claimed on a wide range of inputs used in the construction process by the real estate developers.
This could help the builders to reduce the price of the property for the final customer. This benefit was, however, not fully incorporated by the builders. One of the major disadvantages of GST is that the benefit of this taxation system is not fully passed on to the final customer, like the Input Tax Credit availed by developers is not reflected in the property prices.
The real estate developers also face challenges while availing Input Tax Credits when it comes to thoroughly analyzing the wide range of input costs individually. The problem is not just limited to this, the cost of materials used in the construction process can fluctuate throughout the construction cycle, and calculating ITC for the inputs can get very complicated. Also, there is no mechanism in place to exacerbate the increase in non-GST costs, whereas the benefits of ITC are only limited to the GST paid.
A Closer Look At Phantom Loads And How They Increase Your Energy Costs
Ever wondered how you ran up a high electricity bill while you were away on vacation for the whole month?
Or how your monthly bill payment is so exorbitant even though you are at work almost 9-10 hours a day with all the appliances in your home turned off?
The answer to this confusion is phantom load, also known as vampire load or standby power. It refers to the electricity consumed by an appliance when switched off but plugged into a socket.
What Is Phantom Load?
Modern households are filled with electronic appliances that are always plugged in. The role of phantom power is to maintain the settings of these appliances, which allow them to power up as soon as you switch them on.
Phantom power is the reason your TV powers up in seconds, or your microwave, sound system, or washing machine is ready to go as soon as you turn on the switch.
Wireless devices also draw a significant amount of phantom power through the time like your wireless printers and voice-controlled devices like your Google Home and Amazon Echo so that they can listen in on your voice commands.
The most common devices that continuously draw phantom power are your entertainment devices such as the TV, gaming devices, audio systems, and device charges.
Phantom load keeps your electricity meter ticking and keeps adding to your energy costs. Needless to say, it is also not an energy-efficient solution.
How Much Does Phantom Load Cost?
The cost of your phantom load is dependent on a variety of factors.
1. The Cost of Electricity In Your Area
Based on how much the cost of electricity in your service area is, your phantom load can account for a massive amount of your electricity bill.
For example, Pennsylvania Electricity Rates would be different from that of New York, and therefore, your phantom load cost would also be different in these two cities.
2. Your Phantom-Load Pulling Devices
You need to work out how many devices in your house are pulling phantom power. The more the number of devices that extract electricity even when switched off, the higher your cost of the phantom load.
If you have a home with just the basic electronic devices such as a small TV, laptop charger, and a wi-fi router, your phantom cost may not go beyond $7-$10.
Moreover, if your home has an extensive range of electronic appliances, you might end up paying as much as $25-$30 extra per month on an average.
3. The Amount Of Electricity Pulled By Your Dormant Devices
It is quite obvious that some heavier appliances pull more electricity than others. For example, the amount of load a microwave or a washing machine would pull is much higher than that of a phone or laptop charger.
4. The Amount Of Time These Devices Are Left Plugged In
How long you keep the devices that pull electricity plugged in also has a significant effect on the cost of your phantom load.
If you forget to take your charger out for 10 minutes as opposed to leaving your microwave plugged in all day and night, you will end up getting wildly different figures on your electricity bill.
How To Reduce Your Phantom Load
All these factors determine how much extra money you end up paying for electricity – a cost you can easily avoid by being a little careful with your usage.
Here are 5 ways to smartly reduce your phantom load and make your home more energy-efficient while lowering your electricity bill.
1. Unplug Devices When Not In Use
This is the most basic solution of them all! When you are not using a device, be it your washing machine, hairdryer, or microwave, simply unplug them from the socket.
It will cost a few extra seconds to plug them all back in, but the next time you use a device, imagine the amount of phantom load cost you will be saving!
2. Unplug Charged Devices
You may often forget to unplug your laptop or phone charger once it is at 100%. It isn’t difficult to miss out on the full battery notification at the top right corner of your device’s screen.
To combat this, you can turn on notifications to inform you that the battery is full. This way, even if you are engrossed in work, you can always remember to switch off the charge and take it out of the plug point.
3. Use Smart Strips Or Power Bars
A great way to regulate or reduce your phantom load is by using a power bar.
The power bar ensures that when you turn it off, all the peripheral devices connected to the main device are also turned off. When you turn it on, everything automatically switches on.
Take all your ‘offending’ devices, including your computer and television, and plug them into one of these for bigger savings.
4. Use Sleep Mode Instead Of Screensaver
Remember the last time you got an important call and left your desktop on with the screensaver playing over and over? That act cost you a significant amount of money in phantom load cost!
Enabling the power-save or sleep mode allows your PC to conserve energy, so the next time you leave your workstation, you aren’t adding to your Chicago Electricity Rates.
You can even automate your device to go to sleep after it has been on for a certain amount of time.
5. Go For Appliances With Energy Star Labels
Appliances that come with Energy Star labels are more energy-efficient and consume almost 50% less power than those without it.
The higher the Energy Star rating of a device, the greater their energy-saving capacity. Therefore, when you buy a washer-dryer, refrigerator, microwave, or TV, keep a sharp eye out for its Energy Star rating!
The phantom load is sneakily adding to your electricity bill without you even taking note of it. But with the correct measures, you can knock 10% off your electricity bills while also being more energy-efficient.
Identify the devices that add to your cost and take measures to reduce their contribution to your phantom load!
Lesser Known Facts About The On-Ground Reality Of The Trucking Business
The trucking industry is pretty huge and is a vital part of keeping the economy of the country up and running. Despite employing thousands of personnel and a large workforce, there are many things that people are unaware of the trucking business, its impact on the economy, and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Employment Offered by the Trucking Industry
One of the most significant reasons why the trucking industry makes such a massive impact on the economy is because of the number of people it employs. To be more precise, the trucking industry supports virtually 6% of all the full-time jobs in the United States.
According to the United States Census Bureau and Business Insider, there are around 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States of America (USA) who move nearly 71% of all cargo. Further, there are over 200,000 female long-haul drivers in the United States alone!
According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), the trucking business had cumulative employment for about 7.8 million people as of 2018.
Economy Footprint of the Trucking Business
The humongous nature of the trucking business means a large economic footprint. With over 15.7 million operational trucks in the US and over 3.5 million truck drivers, the trucking industry accounts for about 5% of the GDP of the United States, according to HNI.
To put this into perspective, the revenue generated by this business is over $700 billion in 2017 alone, which is more than the GDP of Bangladesh! This number only went on to increase by another $100 billion (approximately) in the following year.
What Does Trucking Have to Offer to Other Industries?
Trucking business and operations are closely tied to almost every industry in the country. With its massive economic footprint in the United States, the country would essentially come to a halt without a trucking industry to move freight.
The trucking business transported about 11.5 billion tons of cargo in 2018 alone, which accounts for more than 71% of the total domestic tonnage, according to the American Trucking Association (ATA).
Trucking Business and the Food Industry
The trucking industry is an integral part of maintaining the food supply chain. Trucks are used to deliver food items and groceries in large quantities to retailers. Without the trucking industry, the movement of transporting large quantities of food would come to a standstill and cause a food shortage.
So, what exactly does this mean for the agricultural industry? Well, the agricultural industry thrives upon the consumer market. As long as there is a bridge between agricultural production and the civilians, which is often the trucking business, the revenue is constantly generated.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), agriculture and food provide about 13% of the USA’s GDP and 18% of employment. Without the trucking industry, this entire revenue generation could shatter and throw millions of people out of their jobs.
Now that you have a good enough idea about the trucking business and its impact on the lives of people keep reading to know what goes into making this business sustainable and indispensable.
Trucking is Stressful
Truck driving can be very stressful. The driver has to stay alert and agile every second he is on the driver seat, and it is certainly not an easy task, especially when the durations are for hours on end. Traffic en route only complicates things further.
Some drivers may choose to drive for long continuous hours to earn some extra money. Such decisions and behavior can result in Hours of Service (HOS) violations. Samsara’s ELD compliance solution helps in the Hours of Service (HOS) compliance.
Speed Is Not Your Best Friend
It is a common misconception among drivers that it is good to drive faster as they can cover longer distances in a shorter time. But they do not factor in the risks associated with speeding a large truck with expensive and heavy cargo. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), 4,761 large trucks were involved in traffic fatalities due to speeding in 2017.
The further downside to this is that such accidents can result in heavy lawsuits for the company causing further damage both financially and to the company’s public reputation as well. Such damage is seldom repairable.
With Large Fleet Comes Great Responsibility
Fleet managers have to constantly keep an eye on hundreds of trucks are drivers. Managing a huge fleet is not an easy task.
Managers have to look out for any operational errors in the fleet and their systems in addition to addressing the drivers’ concerns. Furthermore, it is the managers that are often under the spotlight during accidents or other damages.
GPS fleet tracking can help ease some of the managers’ tasks by providing real-time visibility into fleet operations.
Trucking Is Not Luxurious
Contrary to popular belief, trucking is not a very luxurious niche. You might think that truck drivers get rich easily because they put in a lot of hours, but it is far from the truth, and this has a lot to do with the cost of operating on the road.
The cost of operating on roads has increased over the past years because of which the profit margin has shrunk. The median income for a full-time salary worker was about $48,672 per year in 2019, whereas the median pay for a truck driver was about $45,260 in the same year.
Trucking Is A Business with Stability
The contribution of trucking to the economy and the dependence of people on this business results in this being a very stable industry. The job of people in the trucking business id usually more secured. Furthermore, the workers get ample opportunities to visit new places, people and increase their network.
Trucking is a difficult and demanding business. But its profound impact in uplifting the lives of people all across the globe makes it indispensable. Educated usage of the current technology can help ease a lot of the trucking business processes and activities.
The dependency of most industries on the trucking business plays a large part in the success and growth of this industry.
The trucking industry by itself is not as dependent on other industries as others are dependent on trucking. This improves the flexibility and profitability of the trucking business, its owners, and operators.
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