Entertainment tax protest shuts down 1,000 theaters
Owners launch indefinite strike over what they say is an unfair levy
Tamil Nadu movie lovers may be disappointed to find their favorite theater has been shut indefinitely.
Theater owners across Tamil Nadu launched an indefinite strike on Monday in protest against the imposition of a 30% entertainment tax on top of the new 28% Goods and Service Tax (GST), according to media reports. Tamil Nadu is the only state to impose an additional 30% entertainment tax.
India Today reported that over 1,000 cinema halls have shut down.
The Hindustan Times reported that under the new GST scheme, taxes of 28% and 18% will be levied on tickets costing over and under Rs100.
Abirami Ramanathan, president of the Tamil Nadu Cinema Theatre Owners Federation, told PTI that all cinema hall owners would proceed with the strike and all shows would be canceled from July 3. He was quoted as saying, “We welcome GST. We are not happy with the corporation tax, which is 30%. It is coming into effect from tomorrow. Kerala government has withdrawn it. We want the Tamil Nadu government to withdraw it too.”
He added: “If we screen movies, we have to pay local body taxes immediately as it came into force from yesterday. We are closing since there is no other way out. We cannot increase prices for big ticket movies. We have requested the government to fix a threshold within which we should be allowed to either increase or cut down ticket prices as per the need. The state government needs to clarify how much tax will be levied on theaters after GST rollout. We request the state government to sort out the confusion immediately.”
Meanwhile, as a result of the strike, 10 Tamil films that were released in the state over the past two weeks will no longer be screened, causing a major loss in revenues, The Wire reported.