Hotels, travel aggregators start refunding GST

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Sridhar (name changed) got a pleasant surprise on Monday morning when he got a message from an online travel aggregator regarding a booking for Varanasi hotel made in September for stay in November. “This is an important update regarding your upcoming hotel stay at XXX Hotel. The amount of tax applicable to this hotel booking has now been reduced in keeping with the new GST (Goods & Services Tax) reduction mandated by the GST department. We have therefore initiated a refund of XXXX.X which will reflect in your account in 7-12 working days.

Wallet and UPI refunds will take only 1-2 days,” the message read. Sridhar’s friend Arnab too got a similar message for a hotel booking in Shimla. There could be many Sridhar’s and Arnabs who are pleasantly surprised by this move as a refund has been initiated, probably for the first time, after GST rate lowered for hotel sector. In its 37th meeting, held in Goa on September 20, the GST Council rejiged the slabs from four to three and reduced the highest tax from 28 percent to 18 percent. To make this effective, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Custom (CBIC) and States’ Tax authorities notified the new rates by September 30.

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