New Delhi: With the launch of the new goods and services tax (GST), those planning to dine out on Friday night may find themselves caught in minor disputes over payments, if they stay on post midnight.

Diners may be presented with two bills in some places—one before midnight, and one after 12am.

With a single tax replacing the current system of multiple taxes, eating out may become cheaper, but restaurants are looking at ways to bill their midnight diners on Friday.

At the Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, dining will become cheaper with the implementation of GST, with a 20% tax on alcohol and 18% on food, as opposed to the current 26% and 18.5% respectively.

To ward off confusion, executive chef Rohit Tokhi said, “Our restaurants close by 11:30pm and all bills will be raised before 12am." Food and beverages consumed before 12am at the hotel bar would be billed by 11:58, he said.

“Any consumption post midnight would be charged under GST," Tokhi said.

Gurgaon’s Bristol Hotel will be taking the final orders at 11:45pm, and the bill shall be raised before 12am, using old value added tax (VAT) and service taxes. However, should a diner wish to stay on post 12am, the bill will then be raised under the new tax regime.

“We are following the same regulations for both F&B (food and beverage) and our rooms," a spokesperson from the hotel said.

Priyank Sukhija, who owns several food chains in Delhi-NCR, including Lord of the Drinks, Tamasha and Teddy Boy, has decided shut all his restaurants before midnight, to “change billing software in accordance with the new tax structure".

When the eateries open on 1 July, the new tax rates will be in effect, he said.

Although, under the new GST regime, the taxes applicable on air-conditioned and non air-conditioned spaces will be 18% and 12% respectively, Sukhija said charges for AC restaurants would be levied even if a customer dined outdoors.

“Our restaurants are AC establishments, so whether someone sits out or in, GST for AC, which is 18%, will apply," he said.

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