Eating out is not a trend. It is a necessity in today’s times when we have to work long hours. After all, by the time we return home, the fatigue catches up to us. Now, who will want to go in the kitchen and prepare the food if you did not do so earlier? So, what’s the solution? Either going to restaurant for a meal or ordering one at home. However, what are the chances of you not overpaying for your meal? Do you know the GST rates levied at different restaurants? Are your drinks also subject to GST? Well, here’s how you can go about the process of restaurant bill decoding to know whether you are being overcharged or not.Some handy tips will allow you to decode your restaurant bill efficiently
Restaurant Bill Decoding – How To Go About It
#1: GST Rates
First off, you need to know the different GST slabs under which different restaurants fall. For this, understand that no restaurant falls in the 28 per cent GST slab. Also, no eateries come under 5 per cent GST slab. All the restaurants fall under either 12 per cent or 18 per cent tax slab. Now, how can you know whether it is 12 per cent or 18 per cent GST applicable at your restaurant?
Also Read: GST Myths You Should Be Wary Of
Use these questions to help you know – Is the restaurant air-conditioned? If yes, then it comes under 18 per cent slab, regardless of whether it serves liquor or not. A place which is not air-conditioned and does not serve liquor comes under 12 per cent GST slab. A non-AC eatery that serves liquor comes under 18 per cent GST slab. If you are ordering pre-cooked and/or prepacked snacks from the restaurant, then 12 per cent tax applies.
#2: Service Charge
Now, it has been talked about time and again but service charge is something few people are clear on. So, do take note that it is not a tax. So, no eatery is legally bound to charge it from you. However, since it is not a tax, restaurants can charge it as per its wish. If you feel that it is unjustified, you can always move a consumer court regarding the same.
#3: Taxes on Liquor
This is one important aspect for you to consider. Firstly, liquor does not come under GST. So, instead of GST, it attracts VAT. This means if you consume liquor at an eatery, you will have to pay separate VAT on liquor apart from the GST on food. The VAT rates can vary from state to state so, beware. Also, not just liquor but liquor-based products will also attract VAT. Hence, be extra careful of what you order.
Also Read: What is GST?
Restaurant Bill Decoding – Conclusion
The above-mentioned tips will not just help you in the process of restaurant bill decoding but also save you some money. Many times, sitting in a restaurant, we overlook a few things and the bill can be one of them. However, with some handy tips at your disposal, you can understand your bill with greater ease and also spot discrepancies in it, if any. Also, do take note that there are certain restaurants that can charge just 5 per cent tax. The only reported condition on them is that their turnover should be less than Rs 75 lakh. Will that help you in any way? That is something only you can tell.