Mumbai: One of the most striking features from the latest new GST reforms was the revision of GST on food served at hotels and restaurants. The 23rd GST Council meet, led to the ministry revising rates for 178 items, most importantly, GST rates for hotels and restaurants was set to a flat 5%. Earlier, GST for air-conditioned restaurants was 18%, while the Goods and Services Tax for non-air conditioned ones was slabbed at 12%. As soon as the council announced the move, we covered the most interesting pieces. We also covered how rates of essential items may come down.
The council’s reason for new GST reforms were that not many hotels and restaurants passed on the input tax credit benefit to the customer. As a result of this, eating out had become a costly affair. Many had often complained that GST meant that eating at restaurants and even food joints had become an expensive affair.
The GST rate revision to 5%, was therefore expected to usher in a breather for many. The council additionally also pointed that hotel chains and restaurants will not stand to gain from any input tax credits, and hence the 5% tax would remain a fixed rate (from November 15).
Although this has been mentioned in most news outlets and media vehicles, there have been cases where hotels and eateries are seen continuing with the same prices (as existed before November 15). In many cases, customers have found GST reforms not bringing a significant change in the price of food.
Sri Ganesh Selvakumar, a Facebook user, posted on his timeline about he found no change in GST rates when he ate out. He posted bills to prove it too. Ganesh posted pre- and post -November 15 bills. In both instances, a regular Cafe Latte is rounded off to the same cost – Rs 142 – at McDonalds.
After the September 15 announcement, the bill shows that McDonalds increased rates of a Regular Latte to Rs 135.24 (before tax) from Rs 120.34, a hike of 12.38%.
The take-out total remains the same, although there was a widespread expectation that after the ministry announced flat GST rates, eating out would become cheaper.
An official spokesperson shared, “We have always been open about our prices. Our menu board prices are inclusive of taxes. So, ‘What You See Is What You Pay.'”
Adding an explanation on how costs have increased, the official added, “the Government has brought down GST from 18% to 5%, but there has been a removal of Input Tax Credit. Due to this, our operating costs have gone up. However, at McDonald’s, we believe in giving the best value to our customers, and have passed on the benefits wherever we could.”
The official also added that prices of some of the flagship products such as Big Spicy Chicken Wrap, Big Spicy Paneer Wrap, Chicken Maharaja Mac, and Veg Maharaja Mac have been “substantially” reduced.
Sify.com is yet to confirm whether the prices on these products have really been slashed.
- But, if you are still concerned about the price that you are paying, you could address the GST issue using the following steps.
- Take a snapshot of your bill.
- Identify the GSTIN number of the hotel establishment.
- Call 1800225900. This is official toll free number for the Maharashtra Sales Tax department, and you may use this in order to register GST related complaints. This number is available for the region of Maharashtra.
- You may alternatively use these numbers for other cities
- GST Help-desk: 1800 1200 232
- In case you are still not convinced with the solution, you can also take to social media using the following twitter handles for the GST team.