The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Railways, is causing loss to the exchequer by not issuing invoice to the consumers for eatables sold within trains, a tax consultant said on Friday.
In a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Chandigarh-based tax consultant Ajay Jagga said the Supreme Court recently issued notices to the Central government on a plea seeking to plug existing loopholes in the GST system.
The IRCTC, which is selling food in the trains, appears to be a similar entity causing huge loss to the exchequer, he said.
He said he travelled in Shatabdi Express to New Delhi from Chandigarh on Thursday. While travelling, he ordered a cup of tea and paid Rs 20 for this.
Later he asked for an invoice. On his insistence, an invoice of Satyam Caterers Private Ltd was issued.
One cup of tea sold without invoice results in a GST loss of Re 1, he said. "Imagine other items like cold drinks, chocolates and food booked within the train without issuing invoices," Jagga, a former member of the Tax Intelligence Unit, told IANS.
Also, he said, the waiters were charging food amount in the bill but not issuing the invoice to the consumers.
"The working of IRCTC waiters and other staff is causing huge losses to the exchequers. On one hand, we are penalizing shopkeepers for not issuing bills and on the other the IRCTC is not issuing bills and the number of such transactions, pan-India, would be in lakhs everyday," said his letter.
Earlier, in a letter to the Union Finance Minister, he had said the Centre should issue necessary advisory to all states that restaurants should stop charging unjustified extra cost, which was being imposed on consumers for items such as pastry, cake, etc.