WB AAR | Will GST be applicable for assignment of leasehold right on land? GST applicability discussed

West Bengal Authority for Advance Ruling, GST (WB AAR): A Division Bench of Susmita Bhattacharya and Parthasarathi Dey (Members) while addressing the present application with regard to the applicability of GST on “assignment of leasehold right” held that,

The activity of assignment is in the nature of agreeing to transfer one’s leasehold rights. It does not amount to further sub-leasing, as the applicant’s rights as per the Deed of sub-lease stands extinguished after assignment. Neither does it create fresh benefit from the land. It is in the nature of compensation for agreeing to do the transfer of the applicant’s rights in favour of the assignee. It is a service classifiable under “Other miscellaneous service‟ (SAC 999792) and taxable @ 18%.

National Company Law Tribunal, Kolkata Bench admitted the applicant as the corporate debtor and passed an order under Section 33 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 to start the process of liquidating the corporate debtor.

One of the assets under liquidation is the leasehold property unit along with care parking space (Demised Premises). West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation Ltd. granted the applicant possession of the Demised Premised for 99 years under a registered deed.

Applicant submitted that according to clause 12.28 of the deed, applicant, after the expiry of at least five years from the date of the Deed coming into force, is entitled to assign to another person the unexpired residual period of the sub-lease after taking written approval of the sub-lessor and on payment of transfer fee, being 10% of the prevailing market value of the property as assessed by the Registering Authority of the State Government.

Question for consideration:

Liquidator raised the question as to whether GST is payable on the consideration receivable on such assignment. If so, what should be the SAC and the rate applicable? He also seeks clarity on whether he can claim input tax credit for the GST paid on the transfer fee.

Officer Concerned from the Revenue submitted that the assigning of the sub-lease is a service classifiable under the heading “Other Miscellaneous Services‟ (SAC 99979) and taxed accordingly.

Observations of the Authority

Scope of supply under Section 7 (1) of the GST Act includes all forms of supply of goods and services, including a sale, transfer, barter, exchange, license, rental, lease or disposal made or agreed to be made.

Bench noted that the benefits arising from land in the forms specified in paragraph 2 of Schedule II are not to be treated as transactions in immovable property but as the supply of service for the purpose of the GST Act.

Deed | Service Contract of Lease

Authority stated that the Deed confers upon the applicant no better title to the Demised Premises other than a service contract of lease.

Applicant can only transfer to the assignee his right to receive the service of the lease for the unexpired period after obtaining prior approval of the Sub-lessor on payment of the transfer fee.

Conditional Possession

Hence, it is clear that the applicant, apart from the conditional possession of the Demised Premises, enjoys no title or ownership, which is central to the sale of any immovable property within the meaning of Section 54 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882.

Therefore, the assignment does not amount to transfer of any benefit other than leasehold rights in terms of the Deed for the unexpired period of the lease and is no transfer of any immovable property in the context of the GST Act.

Thus, the activity of assignment of leasehold right is a service classifiable under ‘Other miscellaneous service‟ (SAC 999792) and taxable @ 18% under Sl No. 35 of Notification No. 11/2017 – CT (Rate) dated 28/06/2017 (State Notification No. 1135- FT dated 28/06/2017), as amended from time to time.

Further, the transfer fee charged by the Sub-lessor is in the nature of a consideration for tolerating an act that the applicant is otherwise refrained from doing in terms of clause 12.28 of the Deed. It is also a service classifiable under “Other miscellaneous service‟ (SAC 999794) and taxable @ 18% under Sl No. 35 of the Rate Notification.[Enfield Apparels Ltd. In Re., 2020 SCC OnLine WB AAR-GST 7, decided on 10-08-2020]

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