Over 5,000 hotels' room tariff uploaded on website

For transparency

The luxury tax department of the Delhi government is in the process of  quantifying the gains from its recent move to put room tariffs of about 5,021 hotels on it website in a bid to make the city more tourist friendly and improve transparency.

Customers would soon be offered rewards for passing on information to the department in case a hotel charges more room rent than the declared amount on the website, said an official.

“We have brought about transparency in tariffs, apart from reducing chances of tax evasion and revenue loss by uploading the room rates on our website,” said an official.
“The experiment is just a month old and already we are getting reports of an increase in tax collections. We need some more time to quantify the gains from the move,” said a luxury tax department official.

The hotel owners now cannot over-charge or under-charge than the officially declared room rents, he said.

The list uploaded on the website of the luxury department includes high-end five-star hotels as well as budget hotels near railway stations and interstate bus terminals.

The government is also keen on starting mobile phone app through which tourists would be able to check the hotel tariffs on the go.

“There have been instance of back-packers from western countries being fleeced by agents by giving out rooms in Paharganj at Rs 4,000 a day while the original daily tariff of the hotel room was Rs 1,000,” said an official.

In the Budget for 2015-16, the government in its raised luxury tax from 10 per cent  to 15 per cent in a clear indication on its focus to generate additional revenue from this source. Luxury tax is applicable to hotel rooms having a tariff of Rs 1,000 and above.

The Arvind Kejriwal government has a target of collecting Rs 400 crore from luxury tax levied on hotel rooms, gyms, spas and banquet halls.

The move to put hotel room tariffs on the official website was to check the hotel owners’ from withholding information on tariff revisions.

Each hotel owner gets 15 days under the Delhi Tax on Luxury Act 1996 to report revised tariff rates to the luxury department. During routine checks, it was found that hotel owners were charging a higher amount  from guests – claiming that the tariffs had been upwardly revised – but paying tax to the government on lower old rates.

Notices were recently issued to many hotels on the Delhi-Jaipur Highway near the airport for declaring a tariff of Rs 600 to the government but actually charging customers Rs 1,800-2,000.

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