Monday, July 1, 2024

Guide to GST on Hotels and Restaurants in India: Tips and Strategies for Legal Tax Planning

The Indian tourism industry is a vital part of the economy, with hotels and restaurants being its backbone. With the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the taxation landscape for these businesses has changed significantly. This comprehensive guide delves into the nitty-gritty of GST laws as they apply to hotels and restaurants, providing a detailed, analytical, and illustrative view. It also explores how businesses can plan their taxes effectively without violating the law.

GST Rate Structure


Room Rent (per day)GST RateInput Tax Credit (ITC)Effective DateNotification
Rs. 0 to Rs. 1,000ExemptNot Applicable01-07-201711/2017
Rs. 1,001 to Rs. 2,49912%Available01-07-201711/2017
Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 4,99918%Available01-07-201711/2017
Rs. 5,000 and above28%Available01-07-201711/2017
Rs. 1,001 to Rs. 7,50012%Available01-10-201920/2019
Rs. 7,501 and above18%Available01-10-201920/2019


Type of RestaurantGST RateInput Tax Credit (ITC)Effective DateNotification
Non-AC, No Liquor License12%Not Available01-07-201711/2017
AC or Central Heating, with or without Liquor18%Available01-07-201711/2017
Serving Liquor (Any Condition)18%Available01-07-201711/2017
All Stand-Alone Restaurants5%Not Available15-11-201746/2017
Food Parcels (Takeaways)5%Not Available15-11-201746/2017
In Hotel with Room Tariff < Rs. 7,5005%Not Available15-11-201746/2017
In Hotel with Room Tariff ≥ Rs. 7,50018%Available15-11-201746/2017

GST Billing Procedures

Hotel Example:

ParticularsAmount (Rs.)
Room Tariff Charges10,000.00
Discount (30% of Room Tariff)3,000.00
Net Bill Value7,000.00
GST @ 12%840.00
Total Payable by Customer7,840.00
Service Fee of E-Commerce Operator2,800.00
GST @ 18% on Service Fee504.00
Total Bill of E-Commerce Operator3,304.00
Net Payable to Hotel4,536.00

Restaurant Example:

ParticularsAmount (Rs.)
Restaurant Bill Value100.00
Restaurant Discount (10%)10.00
Net Bill Value90.00
GST @ 5%4.50
Total Payable by Customer94.50
Service Fee of E-Commerce Operator10.00
GST @ 18% on Service Fee1.80
Total Bill of E-Commerce Operator11.80
Net Payable to Restaurant82.70

Tips for Legal Tax Planning

  1. Optimize Room Tariffs:

    • Strategy: Adjust room tariffs to fall within lower GST slabs while maintaining profitability.
    • Example: Setting room tariffs at Rs. 7,499 attracts 12% GST, while Rs. 7,501 attracts 18%. A slight adjustment can save significant tax.
  2. Use Discounts Wisely:

    • Strategy: Offer discounts that reduce the effective room rate, potentially bringing it under a lower GST bracket.
    • Example: A room with a declared tariff of Rs. 8,000 can be offered at a discount to bring the effective rate below Rs. 7,500, thus attracting only 12% GST instead of 18%.
  3. E-Commerce Commission Handling:

    • Strategy: Properly account for the GST on commissions paid to e-commerce platforms to ensure compliance and maximize ITC benefits.
    • Example: If a room is booked through an online platform that charges a 10% commission, ensure that GST on the commission is accurately calculated and claimed as ITC.
  4. Composite and Mixed Supplies:

    • Strategy: Correctly categorize services as composite (bundled) or mixed supplies to apply the appropriate GST rate.
    • Example: A hotel offering a conference hall with catering services can optimize GST by treating it as a composite supply, applying the rate applicable to the principal supply (conference services).
  5. Record Keeping for ITC:

    • Strategy: Maintain meticulous records of input taxes paid on goods and services used in the business to ensure maximum ITC utilization.
    • Example: Keep detailed invoices and receipts for all purchases related to the business, such as food supplies, cleaning services, and maintenance.
  6. Time and Place of Supply:

    • Strategy: Accurately determine the time and place of supply to avoid misclassification and ensure correct GST application.
    • Example: For hotel services, the place of supply is the location of the immovable property. For restaurant services, it is where the service is actually performed. This distinction is crucial for determining whether to charge CGST and SGST or IGST.
  7. ITC on Capital Goods:

    • Strategy: Claim ITC on capital goods like kitchen equipment, furniture, and fixtures to reduce overall tax liability.
    • Example: A restaurant purchasing new kitchen equipment worth Rs. 1,00,000 with a GST rate of 18% can claim Rs. 18,000 as ITC, reducing its overall tax liability.
  8. Reverse Charge Mechanism (RCM):

    • Strategy: Be aware of RCM provisions and comply accordingly.
    • Example: Services like security, housekeeping, and certain transportation services might fall under RCM. Ensure to pay GST on such services and claim ITC.

Common Issues and Clarifications

Declared Tariff vs. Value of Supply

  • Issue: Confusion over whether GST should be charged on the declared tariff or the actual value charged in the invoice.
  • Clarification: As of 27-07-2018, the GST rate is determined based on the actual value charged in the invoice, not the declared tariff. This helps in avoiding disputes and ensures transparency.

Place of Supply

  • Issue: Determining the correct place of supply for GST purposes.
  • Clarification: For hotel services, the place of supply is the location of the immovable property. For restaurant services, it is where the service is actually performed. This distinction is critical for determining whether to charge CGST and SGST or IGST.

Services to SEZ Units

  • Issue: Treatment of supplies to SEZ units.
  • Clarification: Supplies to SEZ units are treated as inter-state supplies, attracting IGST. This ensures uniformity in taxation and ITC availability for SEZ units.


The GST regime has streamlined the tax structure for hotels and restaurants but also introduced complexities that require careful planning and compliance. By understanding the detailed provisions and strategically managing tariffs, discounts, and service bundles, businesses can optimize their tax liability while staying within the legal framework. This proactive approach not only ensures compliance but also enhances profitability in a competitive market.

Additional Tips and Strategies for Hotels and Restaurants

  1. Bundling of Services:

    • Strategy: Bundle services such as spa treatments, meals, and transportation with room stays to offer attractive packages that fall under lower GST rates.
    • Example: A hotel can offer a package including a room stay, breakfast, and a spa treatment. If categorized as a composite supply, the entire package might attract a lower GST rate applicable to the primary service (room stay).
  2. Advance Booking Discounts:

    • Strategy: Encourage advance bookings with discounts to manage occupancy rates and potentially fall into lower GST brackets.
    • Example: Offering a 10% discount for bookings made 60 days in advance can reduce the effective room tariff, impacting the applicable GST rate.
  3. Loyalty Programs and Vouchers:

    • Strategy: Implement loyalty programs and issue vouchers that can be redeemed for services, helping manage revenue and tax liabilities.
    • Example: Issue vouchers worth Rs. 1,000 that can be redeemed for various services. Properly structure these programs to ensure compliance with GST regulations.
  4. Seasonal and Event-Based Pricing:

    • Strategy: Adjust prices based on seasonality and events to optimize occupancy and GST rates.
    • Example: Increase room rates during peak seasons and offer significant discounts during off-peak periods to balance revenue and tax implications.
  5. Staff Training on GST Compliance:

    • Strategy: Train staff on GST compliance to ensure accurate billing and ITC claims.
    • Example: Conduct regular training sessions for billing staff to ensure they are aware of the latest GST rates, exemptions, and compliance requirements.
  6. Engage with GST Consultants:

    • Strategy: Work with GST consultants to stay updated on regulatory changes and optimize tax planning strategies.
    • Example: Regular consultations with tax experts can help identify new opportunities for tax savings and ensure adherence to the latest compliance requirements.

By leveraging these strategies, hotels and restaurants can navigate the complexities of the GST regime, ensuring compliance while optimizing their tax liabilities. This comprehensive approach not only enhances profitability but also positions businesses for sustained growth in the competitive hospitality sector.