GST effect: Over 1000 cinema theatres in Tamil Nadu shut down to protest 58 per cent tax

Team BT   New Delhi     Last Updated: July 3, 2017  | 19:27 IST
GST effect: Over 1000 cinema theatres in Tamil Nadu shut down to protest 58 per cent tax

Cinema hall owners in Tamil Nadu began their indefinite strike on Monday to protest against additional 30 per cent entertainment tax over and above 28 per cent taxes under Goods and Services Tax (GST) by the Centre on film business . Around 1100 cinemas remained closed across the state after producers failed to convince cinema owner bodies to call off the strike.

Under the Goods and Services Tax, film businesses have to pay taxes to the tune of 28 per cent for tickets over Rs 100 and 18 per cent for those priced below Rs 100. Tamil Nadu is the only state in India charging an extra tax in addition to GST.

"The tax of 30 per cent is in addition to the GST Tax rates, theatres are shut due to our inability to pay taxes," a PTI report quoted Abhirami Ramanathan, president of Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners and Distributors Association.

Although the strike was to start from Monday, many cinema halls did not open for business even yesterday, Ramanathan said while talking to the reporters.

The cinema owners group has appealed to the government to do away with the additional tax levied by the local body, stating that such a move will automatically take away the additional levy of eight per cent under GST, the PTI report said.

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"We have requested the government to fix a threshold within which we should be allowed to either increase or cut down ticket prices as per the need," the report quoted Ramanathan.

Tamil Nadu government assured that discussions are being held to sort out the issue.

On the other hand, film producers were disheartened with the strike which affected around ten films released during the past two weeks. Although they did
not extend their support to the strike, they urged the government to recall the 30 per cent entertainment tax imposed by the local body.

"We expect Govt of TN to remove the local tax and address the concerns of the theatre owners so that the film continues," two-time National award-winning writer and film producer, Dhananjayan Govind, said. His new production, Ivan Thanthiran was released last Friday.

"Very sad & in a state of shock. Despite my multiple attempts, theatres in TN going on strike tomorrow. #IvanThanthiran will not be there," Govind posted on his Twitter handle.

Another of his tweet read, "#IvanThanthiran - we can only give a good film. Beyond that what can be done when the whole system is collapsing. Deeply disturbed."

Around 10 lakh individual earn their livelihood from the film business in Tamil Nadu.

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