COIMBATORE: Film lovers missed out on seven movies slated to hit the screens on Friday as the industry bodies held back their release to protest the levy of 10 per cent local body tax in the state. Film distributors and cinema theatre owners here on Friday joined the indefinite strike called by the Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) across Tamil Nadu against release of any new film, following the State government's intent to implement the ‘Local Body Entertainment Tax (LBET)’ on purchase of cinema tickets.
While the state-wide indefinite stir began today, Tamil Nadu is the only state in the country that has called for the implementing LBET on cinema tickets. A 10 per cent entertainment tax will be charged on films of Tamil language and 20 per cent tax will be charged on film tickets purchased for ‘Other Language Films (OLFs)’. This tax will be charged in addition to the Goods and Service Tax (GST) that is already being charged on purchase of cinema tickets, sources here said.
For cinema tickets below `100, a GST of 18 per cent is charged, while for tickets priced over Rs 100, 28 per cent GST rate is levied. With LBET in force, an individual who wishes to watch a non-Tamil film in the cinema theatre will end up paying up to 48 per cent as tax. According to Mr. M. Subramaniam, president, West Zone Theatre Owners’Association, levying entertainment tax is unfair.
“In the last fiscal year, theatre owners paid the state government Rs. 85 crore as entertainment tax. Now that the GST is implemented, the state government will collect Rs 170 crore in form of tax from us. There is no need to implement this entertainment tax as this sector is already generating revenue for the state government,” he told DC. He said the estimated loss due to the strike is Rs 10 crore per day.
Coimbatore has around 30 cinema theatres with a total seating capacity of 20,000. Movies already running would continue to be screened, but with the festival of lights, ‘Deepavali’, just a few days away, the film fraternity and the state government being at loggerheads, could result in new Tamil films set for a ‘Deepavali’ release not seeing the light of day....