1000 cinemas shut down in Tamil Nadu in protest against GST

The Federation said they welcomed the GST but they were unhappy over the corporation tax which was imposed by the state government. File

With both Tamil Nadu state and centre vying for share in Goods and Services Tax (GST) at abnormal rates of 30% by the state and 28 % by the Centre, theatre owners have finally called it a day to protest and prepare for a long shut-down of about 1,000 cinema halls across the state. Tamil Nadu is the only state to have imposed an additional 30% entertainment tax over and above the GST for film trade.

Industry heavyweights met with the state's chief minister late Monday, but discussions reached an impasse, and theaters announced they would keep their doors closed until the next meeting with Tamil Nadu's government.

The GST is fixed at 18% for tickets priced up to Rs 100 and 28% for tickets priced above Rs 100.

Theatres were shut "due to our inability to pay taxes", Ramanathan said in reference to the 30 per cent tax.

Around 10 lakh individual earn their livelihood from the film business in Tamil Nadu. In an impassioned plea, director Rajmohan Kannan said the strikes would devastate revenues for his newly released Tamil film "Ivan Thanthiran" and "kill" the movie, according to Scroll. Collectively our industry has been floundering for many years. The film was released just three days ago and the opening week plays a major role in recovering the investment.

Ms. Ramanathan Said "If we screen movies, we have to pay local body taxes immediately as it came into force from yesterday".

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The Tamil Nadu government had a committee waiving off Entertainment Tax if the movie was titled in Tamil and had a U certificate.

"It's simple, we are only the collecting point, the money only goes further into the industry which at this rate of taxation, will collapse", Ramanathan said. "We urge the government not to levy local body taxes and also consider increasing ticket prices, which have remained unchanged for about 15 years".

"We are not against the government".

On Sunday Tamil Films Producers Council president Vishal, on behalf of the effected producers asked the theater owners to cancel or differ the strike at least by a weak. The GST is charged over and aboce the entertainment tax.

Actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan said the industry would speak with "one voice" on the decision.

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