The Gujarat high court has issued a notice to the government, asking it to reply to a petition by Hardcastle Restaurants, which operates McDonald’s outlets in south and west India, on the scope of a paying higher goods and services tax (GST) with input tax credit (ITC). The move could have a huge implication for the country’s restaurant sector Restaurants across India, such as McDonald’s and Pizza Hut, are currently levied 5% GST and they cannot claim ITC on the tax paid on expenses, including raw materials and rent.
ITC means at the time of paying taxes on outputs, such as sales, one can reduce the tax already paid on inputs, such as purchases. Restaurants housed in five-star hotels, however, are required to pay 18% GST on which ITC can be claimed. “We are only requesting the government to consider giving us an option to claim ITC. Over the years, we have invested significantly in creating a worldclass ecosystem that includes an organised supply chain, capital goods procurement and availing of many other services that are critical to our business. Unavailability of ITC poses a significant challenge for us to scale and run our business in a sustainable way,” said a spokesperson for the Mumbai-headquartered Hardcastle Restaurants.
The GST rate on restaurants was slashed to 5% from 18% in November 2017. The National Restaurant Association of India earlier had written to the government, demanding that restaurants should be given the option of choosing a higher GST rate with the right to claim ITC.