Theatres shut down in Tamil Nadu over double taxation

Theatres in Tamil Nadu closed

Even after representation from theater owners, distributors and producers, The Tamil Nadu State Government has not relented in its stand of levying 30% tax apart from the GST on movie tickets across the state. Tamil Nadu is the only state to have imposed an additional 30% entertainment tax over and above the GST for film trade.

Tamil Nadu Finance Minister D Jaykumar told India Today few days back that retaining Entertainment Tax in a new name was a well thought of move. After the GST which was passed on the midnight of June 30, the Cinema hall owners have to tax of almost 58%.

The GST is fixed at 18% for tickets priced up to Rs 100 and 28% for tickets priced above Rs 100. He said action will also be taken if additional rates were charged for commodities exempted from the GST.

Tamil movie star Rajnikanth has a following so vast that companies have been known to give their employees a day off on the release dates of his newest films, to avoid huge numbers of leave requests.

"As it is the firecracker industry is in a bad shape and this heavy burden of higher tax will certainly kill the industry that employs so many people directly and indirectly", said G Ashokan, a leading manufacturer in Sivakasi.

"The theatres have to pay a 30% tax to the local body".

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"We are not against the government".

Though Tamil Film Producers Council President Vishal has been trying his best to smoothly resolve the situation, the theatre owners have been unwilling to compromise.

As the entertainment tax levied by local bodies will not be subsumed by the GST. This 58% tax composes of GST tax of 28% and 30%tax which is imposed by municipal cooperation.

As a response to this Tamil Nadu Cinema Theater Owners Federation president Abitami Ramanathan stated "We have heard the pleas of the affected producers, we will discuss what needs to be done".

"They sought withdrawal (of local body tax)". Ten Tamil films that were released in the past two weeks in the state will not be screened as a result of the strike, suffering a major loss in revenues. It also warned of "stern action" against those charging rates beyond the stipulated GST.

Actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan said the industry would speak with "one voice" on the decision.

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