Maharashtra Govt Raises VAT on Liquor in Permit Rooms by 5% – Prices Go Up

Maharashtra -Govt Raises- VAT - Liquor - Permit Rooms-Prices Go Up-TAXSCAN

The Maharashtra state government has recently introduced a significant alteration to the Value Added Tax (VAT) structure applicable to the sale of liquor in various establishments. This change is anticipated to have a modest impact on liquor pricing. More specifically, the VAT rate for liquor served in permit rooms has been raised by 5 percent, bringing the new total VAT rate to 10 percent. This policy shift was officially put into motion through a Government Resolution (GR) that was issued on October 20, 2023, as reported by TOI.

It is important to note that this adjusted VAT rate does not extend its reach to liquor services offered by star hotels. These high-end establishments have already been operating under a comparatively higher VAT rate of 20 percent.

The announcement of this VAT revision has raised concerns among hoteliers, who are already grappling with recent hikes in excise license fees imposed by the state government. These additional financial burdens have, in turn, contributed to an overall uptick in liquor prices, adding a layer of complexity to the situation. Hoteliers are wary of the potential implications of this policy change, particularly at a time when states are vying to bolster their revenue streams and entice more tourists.

One significant concern is that the increased VAT rate for liquor consumed within bars might prompt patrons to seek more budget-friendly alternatives. These alternatives could encompass off-premises locations like building terraces, parks, beaches, parked vehicles, or even street corners. The shift in consumer behaviour, driven by the price hike, could pose a challenge to law enforcement and the maintenance of order for the state administration, according to industry insiders cited in the report.

To potentially mitigate the impact of this change, the Maharashtra government has floated a policy amendment that could prove advantageous to bars operating within the industry. This proposed alteration would permit rooms to maintain inventory for the retail sale of liquor bottles or facilitate over-the-counter sales. This shift is expected to benefit bars within the industry, according to the same source’s report.

The adjustment in VAT rates reflects a complex interplay of economic variables, fiscal policies, and industry dynamics. Its full implications will become more apparent as it is put into practice and undergoes assessment over time.

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