GST impact on entertainment: Superstar Rajinikanth today spoke up against the impact of ‘double taxation’ that the Tamil film industry is struggling under and requested its abolition. He tweeted, “Keeping in mind the livelihood of Lakhs of people in the Tamil film industry, I sincerely request the TN GOVT to seriously consider our plea.” Tamil cinema halls have been protesting against the imposition of a 30 per cent local body tax on the film industry on top of the recently launched Goods and Services Tax. This double tax would mean that on a Rs 100 ticket, GST would be charged at 18 per cent along with the 30 per cent local tax. For movie tickets about Rs 100, the GST is 28 per cent plus the local tax of 30 per cent, according to ANI. Theatres all over Tamil Nadu have shut shop since Monday to protest against this massive barrage of taxes by the government. Before GST, the entertainment tax in Tamil Nadu was 15% and all Tamil movies were tax-free in the state. After July 1, movie tickets were to be taxed at 28 per cent country-wide. But the Tamil Nadu government decided to take the entertainment tax as well.
Abirami Ramanathan, president of Tamil Film Chamber of Commerce had told PTI, “Some 10 lakh families are depended on our sector. If entertainment tax is levied by the state on top of GST, theatre owners will end up paying up to 53 per cent of the ticket rate as tax.” Tamil filmmaker R Kannan told PTI, “I have borrowed money and produced ‘Ivan Thanthiran’. How am I going to repay if theatres are closed? This is like killing a newborn. My film has just released and this move will kill my film. I really don’t know what I should do now.”
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Tamil actor Kamal Haasan issued a statement against the slew of taxes and compared southern states like Kerala and Telangana to Tamil Nadu, ANI reported. His statement said, “Neighbouring states like Kerala have totally desisted from levying anymore state tax on Cinema over and above GST. The film industry requested the CM of Kerala Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan and he through his Finance minister quickly announced that Kerala will not be levying anymore taxes on the already beleaguered film business. Karnataka has gone even further to facilitate the well being of the film Industry. Telangana and Andhra are also doing their best for their film industries. It is only Tamil Nadu Govt. That has brought it to 30 percent. Film making in this State has been made difficult deliberately. There are further tortures and systemic corruption that the film Industry has to endure under this regime. All factions of the Industry are agitated. I am trying my best as any sensible individual of the industry to maintain solidarity and not play into the hands of any self serving and avaricious politician.”