HRANI looks to dispel GST doubts

The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India (HRANI) held a seminar for its members on Goods and Services Tax (GST) at The Imperial, New Delhi recently.

Kanchan Nath

The Hotels and Restaurant Association of Northern India organised a GST seminar for its members at The Imperial, New Delhi, on July 6, 2017. The seminar was attended by nearly 80 members of HRANI which led to elaborate discussions on the new tax regime. Addressing the gathering, Sanjay Sood, President, HRANI, said, “We welcome the new reform in the tax system–GST, and especially Ms. Rashmi Verma’s proactive support to us, that resulted in the threshold of `5000 being increased to `7500 for the 28 per cent tax category.”

Highlighting the main concern of hoteliers, Surinder Jaiswal, Honorary Secretary, HRANI, said, “We are very happy to get GST. Our main concern is that we expected lower rates of not more than 12 per cent.” He pointed out that in Uttar Pradesh, there was only 5 per cent luxury tax and 9 per cent service tax coming to about 14 per cent, which has now been increased to 28 per cent. “Ultimately, this tax has to come from the consumer, but in the process of earning revenue we are going to lose out on travellers and our properties will be adversely affected.”

Sungita Sharma, Principal Additional Director General (Vigilance), Government of India, said, “Our assessment shows that there is more concern in the tour operator sector than the hotel sector. This week we must concretise every problem so that we refer it to the law committee which can further brief the GST Council as to what is the way ahead. I am here to capture your pain points and communicate them to the Council.”

Addressing the gathering, Rashmi Verma, Secretary Tourism, Government of India, said, “This misconception that the rate has gone higher under GST, I think, is because of lack of communication. In effect, the rate for the hotel industry by and large has come down from 20 per cent to 18 per cent. As per my analysis; we found out that almost 90 per cent of the classified hotels come under the 18 per cent tax slab. It’s only the remaining 10 per cent of the hotels, among the classi- fied category, with suites and super luxury rooms and that too in bigger cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru or Delhi, that fall under the 28 per cent tax bracket under GST.”

On the GST cell, she adds, “We have already established a GST cell 15 days ago. Gyan Bhushan, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Tourism, is heading that cell and we have already started receiving a lot of queries. There is a dedicated number and Email ID on which you can raise any concern you have on the operational aspect or anything you fail to understand about GST. In the cell, we are also in the process of engaging a consultant who is well versed on GST.”

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