Can a restaurant charge 18% GST on products?

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Shimla: No restaurant can charge 18 per cent tax on products, a complaint by Chandigarh-based advocate Ajay Jagga said on Monday. He said some of the eateries in Himachal Pradesh were charging 18 per cent GST on products.

Jagga, in a communication to the Central Goods and Services Tax, Shimla Commissionerate, said an eatery in Parwanoo town in Himachal Pradesh was charging 18 per cent GST instead of 5 per cent on its premises, which was incorrect.

"The rate of GST on sales by eateries is five per cent whereas on visit to the restaurant of Timber Trail Resorts, Pawanoo, on last May 27, it has been found that this taxable person is charging GST at rate of 18 per cent i.e. nine per cent under the state GST and equal per cent under the Centre GST, whereas the rate of five per cent i.e. 2.5 per cent state GST and 2.5 per cent under Centre GST," Jagga said in a complaint.

"The charging of GST at the rate 18 per cent instead of five per cent in the premises of a restaurant appears to be not in accordance with law and needs probe, as lakhs of tourists are paying bills in Himachal Pradesh every day."

Jagga had earlier made several complaints to the Consumer Affairs Department and the Excise and Taxation Department of the Chandigarh administration.

"It is a clear case of imposition of unjustified costs on the consumers and if someone does it then it is tantamount to restrictive and unfair trade practice," he said.

"Higher rate of tax (in an arbitrary manner) from commercial point of view should not overrule the consumer interest," Jagga added.

Earlier, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, he had said the Centre should issue necessary advisory to all states that restaurants should stop charging unjustified extra cost, which was being imposed on consumers for items such as pastry, cake, etc.

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