Bollywood’s opinion about Goods & Services Tax (GST)

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Mumbai : The central government’s move to pass the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill was received positively by many members of the film fraternity, but its implementation has left a lot to be desired. The government proposes to levy a 28 per cent tax slab on the film sector by replacing the existing entertainment and service taxes. Many Bollywood celebrities voiced their opinion regarding the latest taxation move. Here’s what they had to say.

Salman Khan expressed his opinion on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at an event in Mumbai on Monday. When asked about government’s decision of announcing 28 percent tax slab under the GST for cinema, the 51-year-old actor said, “Whatever the government has done, they must have done it with proper planning.”

Kamal Haasan said he will be “forced to quit cinema” if the GST rate for the entertainment industry is not slashed by at least half. He opined that regional films, Hollywood films and Hindi films cannot be put on the same slab and film tickets can’t be fixed like an essential service. The 62-year-old actor-filmmaker said that he welcomes GST and the one nation one tax, but the 28 per cent rate will ruin regional cinema. Urging Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to cut the GST rate to 12-15 per cent, he tweeted, “Not pressurising. It’s a plea &SOS from regional cinema to our FM We fear it will collapse. We request the council to do all to save it.” Haasan concluded that if he can’t afford the tax, he’ll have to quit.

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The President of the Film and Television Producers Guild of India, Siddharth Roy Kapur issued an official statement, stating his dismay over GST. The statement read, “The GST rate of 28% announced on cinema tickets is a huge setback for the film industry. The industry had proposed a rate of 5% in our representations to the Government, in order to revive a business that has been struggling from lack of fresh investments in new cinema screens and a significant increase in online piracy. In the existing tax regime, the cinema exhibition sector was exempted from service tax and state VAT, and entertainment tax was the only tax imposed on cinema tickets by states and local bodies.” He further wrote that the GST rate should not have been more than 12 per cent for films and the government has equated the film sector with the gambling and betting industries and taxed it at the highest slab of 28%, in addition to which local bodies across states have also been empowered to impose entertainment tax, which was earlier to have been subsumed within GST.

At the trailer launch of ‘Mom’, the film’s producer Boney Kapoor was asked for his opinion on the new rate. Boney, who has been producing films for past 20 years and is the name behind hits like ‘Mr India’, ‘Pukar’, ‘No Entry’ and ‘Wanted’, admitted that the 28 per cent tax slab will have an effect on the producers from Bollywood and regional industries. He added that various filmmakers’ associations have been talking to the respective state finance ministers to discuss its implementation.

Veteran film producer Mukesh Bhatt also came out against the tax move by pointing out that the film industry has been equated with the betting and tobacco industry in terms of taxation. Bhatt added that the government has to understand that Bollywood is a creative industry and not injurious to health, like tobacco, to be taxed under the same slab.

Source : TOI

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