Saturday, May 28, 2016

'Magicbricks' isn't a dominant player in market of real estate brokers in India: CCI


a) The Confederation of Real Estate Brokers' Association of India ('Informant'), was a confederation of thirty five real estate brokers association, having combined membership of approximately 20,000 real estate brokers. The informant filed case against,,, and ('OP's) alleging that advertising 'No Brokerage Policy' (NBP) on their websites, mobile applications, newspapers, etc., were imposing unfair and discriminatory conditions on the traditional real estate brokers who were doing real estate business on the basis of commission.

b) It was alleged that because of the practice of these top players and other online real estate listing portals of not charging broking charge/commission or charging much less compared to traditional brokerage fee of 2 per cent of the sale/purchase value of a property, the traditional real estate brokers had not been able to compete with them and, therefore, they had been losing their business. The informant also alleged that OPs were dominant players as they were top real estate listing websites in India.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) held as under:

1. CCI observes that India is one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets. With the growth of e-commerce, the number of online portals engaged in the activities of real estate listing, property finder solution, etc., have been increasing. It is observed that besides OPs, there are also many other real estate listing sites which are offering similar services, providing various options to the consumers.

2. Since both the online platforms and the off-line traditional brokers are offering similar services to the customers, CCI is of the opinion that on-line and off-line services of brokers cannot be distinguished while defining the relevant product market in the instant case. Both are alternative channels of delivering the same service. So, the market for 'the services of real estate brokers/agents' is considered as the relevant product market in the instant case.

3. It is observed that the traditional brokers/agents provide services within their respective localities whereas OPs offer their services anywhere in India. Therefore, the relevant geographic market in instant case is considered as 'India'.

6 things you must know about Krishi Kalyan Cess

The Central Government had announced,at the time of budget 2016, a new cess, namely, ‘Krishi Kalyan Cess’ (“KKC”), which is to be levied at rate of 0.5% on the value of all taxable services w.e.f June 1, 2016. Earlier the rate of service-tax was 14.5% (after including Swacch Bharat Cess at 0.50%).But after the introduction of KKC the effective rate of service tax would beat 15%. For example- If a service of Rs.100 is provided then amount of tax would be computed as follows:

Service tax - Rs 14 (@ 14% ),

Swachh Bharat Cess (SBC) - Rs.0.05 (@0.5%),

Krishi Kalyan Cess would be Rs.0.05 (@0.5% rate).

Recently, the CBEC has issued various notifications on KKC. Impacts of such notifications are given hereunder:

1) KKC will be levied, charged, collected and paid separately to the Government independent of service tax. CBEC has allotted separate accounting codes for KKC [Circular No. 194/01/2016-ST]

2) KKC is not leviable on services which are exempt from the whole of service tax by a notification or special order issued under Finance Act, 1994. In case of services, where service tax is leviable on abated value, KKC will also be leviable only on that taxable value [Notification No. 28/2016 – Service Tax]

3) KKC is also leviable on services on which service tax is leviable as per reverse charge mechanism. –[Notification No. 27/2016 – Service Tax].