GST on Restaurant Services: Rules & Applicability

GST on Restaurant Services: Rules & Applicability

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is an indirect tax reform that has streamlined India’s erstwhile complex tax structure, impacting the supply and production of goods and services across the country. The restaurant sector, a pivotal component of the hospitality industry and the economy, faces varied GST compliance requirements depending on its size and structure. Understanding GST’s applicability on restaurant services is crucial for industry stakeholders.

Applicable GST Rates on Restaurant Services

GST rates for restaurant services are determined by several factors, including air-conditioning presence, alcohol service, and location (e.g., within airports).

– Non-AC restaurants without alcohol service: 5% GST rate.
– AC restaurants without alcohol service: 12% GST rate.
– Restaurants serving alcohol (AC or non-AC): 18% GST rate.
– Restaurants inside airports: 18% GST rate.

These distinctions reflect the government’s approach to taxing services based on perceived luxury levels. Compliance with these rates is vital to avoid penalties.

Compliance Requirements for Restaurants

– GST Registration: Restaurants with an annual turnover exceeding Rs. 20 lakhs must register under GST, though voluntary registration is allowed for those below this threshold. The registration process, done through the GST portal, includes obtaining a GST Identification Number (GSTIN), providing business details, submitting supporting documents, and displaying the GSTIN prominently at the business premises.

– Invoicing: Restaurants must issue tax invoices that include details such as the restaurant’s and customer’s names and GSTINs, invoice number, date, service description, total value, GST rate, and amount charged. Invoices should be issued within 30 days of service supply.

– GST Payment: Restaurants collect GST from customers and remit it to the government, with payments made online through the GST portal. The calculation is based on taxable supply values multiplied by the applicable GST rate. Due dates vary based on the registration type (monthly by the 20th for regular registration and quarterly by the 18th for the composition scheme). Late payments incur an 18% annual interest and potential penalties.

– Input Tax Credit (ITC): Restaurants can claim ITC on GST paid on business inputs, reducing overall tax liability. This includes expenses like raw materials, rent, and utilities. Proper documentation is necessary for claiming ITC.

– Filing GST Returns: Regular filings are required, with the frequency and type of return (GSTR-1, GSTR-3B, GSTR-9) depending on annual turnover. Timely submission is essential to avoid penalties.

– Record Maintenance: Invoices, payments, and expenses must be documented and kept for at least 6 years.

– Audit and Assessment: GST authorities may audit or assess the restaurant’s records to ensure compliance.

Input Tax Credit for Restaurants

ITC allows restaurants to claim credit for GST paid on inputs, subject to eligibility and proper documentation. This includes raw materials, kitchen equipment, and other supplies, but excludes personal and entertainment expenses and certain vehicles. ITC is claimed against GST liability, and the reverse charge mechanism applies to services from unregistered suppliers, requiring the restaurant to pay GST and claim ITC subsequently.


The GST framework has simplified taxation for the restaurant sector, reducing tax complexities and facilitating easier compliance. Restaurant owners must be well-versed in GST rates, input tax credits, and compliance requirements to avoid fines and penalties, ensuring smooth operations within the legal framework.

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