Kamal Haasan has opposed the proposed Good and Services Tax (GST) Bill in the entertainment industry. In an interaction with the media yesterday, Kamal Haasan said the new bill would affect the regional cinema. He asked the Central government to roll back the decision. The veteran actor threatened he would leave cinema if the proposed decision to implement 28% GST on film industry is not brought down to 12-18%.
So, what is this GST on movie industry that has miffed Kamal Haasan? GST aims to bring a uniformity in the way taxes are paid. Talking about the entertainment industry, once the GST comes to play consumers would not be supposed to pay different taxes. As of now, consumers pay a service tax of 14-15% for broadcast services like DTH and cable. Another tax that they need to pay is the entertainment tax which ranges from 8-12%. Sometimes this entertainment tax is waived off by states making ticket prices cheaper than before. Apart from the tax levied on the consumers, the producers of movies also have to pay different taxes. They pay exorbitant amounts for processes like theatrical rights, satellite rights and copyright rights. But after GST all these taxes would come under one umbrella, making it easier for filmmakers. GST might turn out to be a boon for cinema owners since their profit margin might shoot up. The ticket prices theatres of cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore is also expected to come down since the additional taxes would be done away with.
GST, experts said, has the potential to take the entertainment industry to another level. But, Kamal Hassan doesn’t seem quite impressed with it. According to the actor, a tax of 28% on entertainment industry will turn out to be a bane for regional movies. Citing all the reasons why 28% would spell doom for regional cinema. Kamal pointed out regional cinema was made on a meagre budget and had a far lesser reach than Bollywood. In this case, Kamal argued, taxation would increase pressure on them. Kamal also said the government should reduce the proposed tax on copyright sale from 12 percent to 5 percent.
“We wholeheartedly welcome GST and One India, One Tax. But the current rate needs to be revised, otherwise, it will run regional cinema. At the present rate, I can’t afford the tax and I’ll be forced to quit. We should remember this is not East India Company,” Kamal said.
Kamal Haasan argued that that Hollywood, Bollywood and regional cinema can’t be put on the same slab. He also was against the idea of fixed price of movie tickets across India.
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