The Union government’s decision to slash the Goods and Services Tax (GST) charged on cinema tickets has brought significant relief to multiplex owners, by reducing the tax by 10 per cent, and some relief to single-screen owners, with reduction of 6 per cent tax charged on tickets.
On Saturday, the GST Council had reduced the tax rates on 23 goods and services, including movie tickets, TV, power banks, and exempted frozen and preserved vegetables from the levy. As per the new rules, for movie tickets that cost more than Rs 100, GST has been reduced from 28 per cent to 18 per cent, and for tickets cheaper than Rs 100, it has been lowered to 12 per cent from 18 per cent. Exhibitors say only single-screen theatres charge less than Rs 100 for admission, and multiplex tickets cost Rs 150 and more.
“So, effectively, single-screen theatres get 6 per cent relief while multiplex owners will get a 10 per cent benefit. The latter will be a happy lot with this decision,” said Dipak Kudale, president of Maharashtra Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association.
Arvind Chaphalkar of City Pride Multiplex welcomed the government’s decision. “Although I don’t think people decide to visit a movie hall on the basis of the ticket price — I believe it solely depends on the film — the decision to reduce the tax is welcome as it will make tickets cheaper,” said Chaphalkar.
The GST Council, however, had no news for regional film industries, like the Marathi film industry, which has been demanding that its pre-GST benefit of ‘tax-free’ exhibition should be restored. “The Marathi industry has been demanding that screening of Marathi films should be incentivised by putting them in a lower GST slab, compared to Hindi and English films. It has not been considered. Also, the demand that at least the state government should refund its share of GST to theatre owners has not been met,” said Kudale.
The decision to slash the GST on movie tickets comes a few days after representatives from across the media and entertainment industry, such as CEOs, heads of studios, leading producers like Ritesh Sidhwani, Karan Johar chairman of the CBFC Prasoon Joshi and actor-producers Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgan, among others, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.