Cinema theatres across Tamil Nadu cancelled screening of movies and shut down on Monday in protest against the imposition of 30 per cent of entertainment tax in addition to 28 per cent GST (Goods and Services tax). Under the GST regime, the movie industry will have to pay 58 per cent tax that will also increase the rate of the tickets for the audience.
Abirami Ramanathan, president of Tamil Film Chamber of Commerce, told PTI that all shows will be cancelled from July 3. He said the state government had earlier notified that municipalities would not levy tax on top of GST.
According to the PTI report, Ramanathan said, “If we screen movies, we have to pay local body taxes immediately as it came into force from yesterday. We are closing since there is no other way out. We cannot increase prices for big ticket movies. 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 state government needs to clarify how much tax will be levied on theatres after GST rollout. We request the state government to sort out the confusion immediately,” he added.
Over the weekend, multiplexes had also suspended online booking facilities demanding clarity if the state government would levy entertainment tax apart from the GST. “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,” the cinema body chief said.
According to IANS, filmmakers in Tamil Nadu have urged the chamber to revoke its decision. “The critical decision was taken (by the chamber) without the consent of other organisations. In fact, we were not even informed and their move came as a shocker. We have urged them to revoke their decision and give us time to discuss the taxation issue with the government,” actor Vishal Krishna, president of the Tamil Film Producers’ Council, told the agency.
The agency quoted filmmakers R Kannan and said, “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.”