Real estate to come under GST? Arun Jaitley sees strong case for it, Council to take up issue next month

The government is poised to take a call on including real estate in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. The GST Council is set to take up the topic of bringing real estate services under GST's ambit next month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday. He went on to acknowledge that real estate is one sector with highest amount of tax evasion and cash generation occurs.

The matter will be discussed when the GST Council meets for its next meeting scheduled on 9 November in Guwahati, Jaitley said while delivering the 'Annual Mahindra Lecture' on India's tax reforms at the prestigious Harvard University.

"The one sector in India where maximum amount of tax evasion and cash generation takes place is real estate and which is still outside the GST. Some of the states have been pressing for it. I personally believe that there is a strong case to bring real estate into the GST," Jaitley said. The Indian real estate market is expected to touch $180 billion by 2020. The housing sector alone contributes 5-6 percent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to India Brand Equity Foundation, a Trust established by the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

"In the next meeting itself, we are addressing one of the problem areas or at least having discussion on it. Some states want, some do not. There are two views. Therefore, by discussion, we...

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