Zomato, Swiggy to collect 5% GST: Will your online food bill get costlier?

If you are planning to ring in the New Year tomorrow by ordering food through platforms like Swiggy and Zomato, don't be surprised if you are asked to pay more. For, starting tomorrow, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) changes kick in, and food delivery platforms like Swiggy and Zomato are mandated to collect and pay the GST on behalf of all restaurants.

As ever with tax changes in India, there is a bit of confusion in this one too. 

Currently, all cooked food orders sold by restaurants (via food aggregators) invites a 5% GST. That is over and above the 18% GST that all foods get levied at the restaurant.  The onus of paying the the 5% GST  was hitherto with the restaurants. Now that responsibility has changed to the food delivery platforms.

What is the real change? Has a new tax been levied?

The proposal to direct food delivery platforms to collect and pay 5% GST on food orders directly to the government was announced last September at the GST Council Meet. 

The decision was taken to bring online food deliveries on par with cooked food sold by restaurants. The government has made it clear that no new taxes have been introduced, and that it is simply a matter of the GST collection centre being transferred. 

To make things clearer: At present, if any customer orders from a restaurant using platforms like Swiggy or Zomato, the online food app is supposed to collect the 5% tax on the order from the customer and pass it on to the restaurant that will have to pay the government. From now on, the food delivery apps will collect the same tax from customers and deposit it to the government directly.

Why this change?

The decision was taken in order to prevent revenue leakage at unregistered restaurants. Many eateries are unregistered as they are below the threshold of Rs 40 lakh turnover per annum.

Further, restaurants charge GST from their customers on every order placed through the food delivery app but fail to pay the tax to the government. Delegating responsibility to food aggregators is meant to reduce this tax evasion. It is estimated that the government has so far lost revenue of around 2,000 crore due to revenue leakage.  

While Swiggy or Zomato cannot charge you a fee on the GST slab, they can charge a fee that justifies the extra work. And that is where this fear that your online food orders may get costly stems from.

Some clarity is expected to emerge based on the decision that food app companies take.

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Tesco home delivery: how to get a food delivery or click-and-collect slot this weekend

Booking a Tesco home delivery slot isn't easy at the moment, but it is possible for some customers. If you've been unsuccessfully trying for a while now, you're not alone. Tesco has been inundated with demand for its food delivery service over the past few weeks as more shoppers stay home. 

With such a high volume of orders, Tesco is urging those who are able to shop in its physical stores, which have been overhauled with protective measures against the spread of COVID-19. That means if you're not high risk, elderly, or self-isolating, you should still be heading down to your local store to pick up your groceries. 

However, if you do need a Tesco delivery, there are a number of ways to improve your chances of getting one. Here, we'll be running through the best ways to try and get a grocery delivery from Tesco, as well as just how Tesco's Click & Collect service works. 

How to get a Tesco home delivery slot

Tesco recently announced a vast expansion of its fleet of food delivery vans and drivers, following a hiring surge over the past week. That means there are now more Tesco food delivery slots available than ever before: 780,000, to be precise, up from 660,000 to weeks ago. 

That doesn't mean it's a free for all out there, though. Tesco is prioritising the elderly and vulnerable in its booking system, so if you have been deemed high risk, head over to Gov.uk to register yourself as a clinically vulnerable person. You’ll be asked for your NHS number – which you can find on any letter the NHS has sent you, or on a prescription – but you can still register if you don't have it.

Tesco is using the Government's register to make sure its most vulnerable customers are prioritised, so if you fall into this category, the best way to increase your chances of booking a Tesco home delivery slot is to make sure you're on the list. 

And if you're self-isolating, your best bet is to keep trying. New Tesco home delivery slots are added throughout the day, so keep checking back regularly.

How does Tesco click & collect work?

If you don't qualify for prioritisation in Tesco's home delivery service, you can still order your food through its click & collect service. Simply select your groceries with Tesco Online and select click & collect before you checkout. 

There are far more slots available for this service than home delivery, and it's potentially safer than shopping in store right now, plus you won't need to queue. 

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