Nearly 1,000 theaters across Tamil Nadu will remain shut on Monday, the first day of an indefinite strike called by theater owners to protest against the state’s imposition of 30% entertainment tax in addition to the 28% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on film trade. Though the Tamil Nadu Film Exhibitors Association had decided on Friday to cancel shows from July 3, many theatres shut down yesterday itself,” president of the association, Abirami Ramanathan said, adding about 1,000 cinema halls state-wide are shut now.
Under the new tax regime, taxes of 28% and 18% will be levied for tickets costing over and under Rs 100, in addition to a municipal tax of 30% imposed by the state government on theaters. Tamil Nadu theaters will be halting advance bookings of tickets from Sunday and all shows across the state’s theaters will be suspended starting next week, with film theater associations demanding a roll back of the municipal tax. The film industry is also expected to stage a protest on Monday.
President of Tamil Nadu’s Film Producers Council, Vishal told, Of course, there will be adverse effects to every industry, not only film industry, but all sectors of business, especially regional cinema, which is fixed in the highest slab 28%. It is going to make a big impact and we have given our representation. In fact, all South Indian industries have together sent a collective representation to the central government asking them to put regional cinema in the least slab because one crore film and a 1,000 crore Hollywood film is in the same tax slab, so that is definitely going to affect the regional cinema, Vishal added.
Vishal further stated that they have requested the Centre and the finance minister to put the regional cinema in the least slab, non regional films in the next slab and the foreign language films in the highest slab, so that it does not affect the viewership. Under the GST regime, exports will be zero-rated in entirety unlike the present system where refund of some of the taxes does not take place due to fragmented nature of indirect taxes between the Centre and the States.
However, GST will make India a common market with common tax rates and procedures and remove economic barriers. GST is largely technology driven and will reduce the human interface to a great extent. GST is expected to improve ease of doing business in India.