Muscat: Restaurants still charging an eight per cent service tax can be reported to the Public Authority for Consumer Protection, an official of the PACP has advised diners.
This comes after a new rule regarding service charge came into effect as the Tourism Law number 2003/91 was amended and replaced with a new article numbered 2016/39. “Now, any restaurants found adding a service charge in the bill can be considered as being in violation of the PACP law,” Umar Faisal Al Jahdamy, deputy director of the PACP, had said.
Despite this, people complained that several eateries are still charging service tax and adding it to their food bills. “I went to have some pizza, and was shocked notice in the bill that they were still charging service tax. When I asked them about it, they didn’t have any explanation,” a resident, Suresh, said.
The PACP officials clarified that citizens and residents can complain at their hotline number 80077997 if they find restaurants charging what they legally shouldn’t. “We will take action against the restaurants if we find that the allegation is true,” an official said.
However, hotel restaurants, or ones deemed to be in tourism designated areas, can still ask customers to pay a service charge, the official clarified.
Some residents also claimed that they never realised that there was an eight per cent service tax component in the bill. “I still think most diners simply used to leave a tip behind. Hence, it’s a good move to drop the service tax, especially during these times of austerity,” one of
In September 2016, the Ministry of Tourism removed the four per cent tourism tax from fast food restaurants and international coffee shops that do not fall under the supervision of the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), leaving only the five per cent municipality tax on bills. “People should pay only 5 per cent municipality tax in their bills,” the PACP official added.