Rajinikanth demands roll back of corporation tax on Tamil films
The Tamil film industry claims it will not be able to sustain itself with an additional tax of 30% which will take total taxes to 58%.india Updated: Jul 05, 2017 11:14 IST
As the strike by theatre owners in Tamil Nadu against a 30% corporation tax entered its third day on Wednesday, superstar Rajinikanth urged the government to reconsider its decision as the livelihood of lakhs of people is dependent on the film industry.
“Keeping in mind the livelihood of Lakhs of people in the tamil film industry, I sincerely request the TN GOVT to seriously consider our plea,” the superstar tweeted. He is currently in the US for a medical check-up.
Keeping in mind the livelihood of Lakhs of people in the tamil film industry, I sincerely request the TN GOVT to seriously consider our plea— Rajinikanth (@superstarrajini) July 4, 2017
Theatre owners had announced an indefinite strike against the corporation tax by the Tamil Nadu government over and above the GST.
The Tamil film industry is in total disarray after the state government announced an additional 30% local entertainment tax over and above 28% under the newly implemented GST. The industry itself is divided with many prominent stars maintaining silence over the issue, while some filmmakers have urged against theatre shutdown that followed the government’s announcement.
TN film industry representatives and theatre owners associations have demanded the immediate roll back of the 30% tax as it would make the total tax a very high 58%.
“The high taxes will kill the industry. We are simply not able to run the theatre with 58%. We demand the roll back of state tax in toto,” said Abirami Ramanathan, president of Tamil Film Chamber of Commerce which represents both film producers and theatre owners.
“Where is the one nation, one tax concept that the GST was supposed to usher in? If the ticket price is more than Rs 100, we pay a tax of Rs 58 as tax as the government says the tax cannot be passed onto the customers,” he said.
The TN government is considering the request made by the film delegations, but a final decision is yet to be taken.
The film representatives are hopeful that the government will come out with a solution to the problem.
“The government will roll back the state tax,” Ramanathan claimed. “We are simply not in a position to run the business,” he added. The corporation tax is added to films only and to no other business, he said.
Rough estimates put the loss to the film industry due to the ongoing strike at Rs 4 crore per day. And the stir has affected the film stars and producers too, as films ready for release this Friday are held up and so is the screening of films released last week.
The main opposition party, the DMK has backed the film industry. DMK’s working president MK Stalin alleged that the state government was misusing the GST to increase revenues. But the ruling AIADMK’s spokesperson CR Sarawathi instead blamed the centre saying that 28% GST on films was very high and it should be brought down.
Earlier Monday, Tamil actor Kamal Haasan issued a statement saying that filmmaking in Tamil Nadu has been made difficult deliberately. He went on to add that except Tamil Nadu, other neighbouring southern states have desisted from levying additional tax on cinema over and above GST.
“In Kerala, the film industry requested the chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and he, through his finance minister, quickly announced that Kerala will not be levying anymore taxes on the already beleaguered film business. Karnataka has gone even further to facilitate the well being of the film Industry. Telangana and Andhra are also doing their best for their film industries,” Kamal Haasan said in the statement.
But it is the silence of many famous names in the Tamil film industry which is intriguing. During the Jallikattu row, stars such as Vijay, Suriya and Nayanthara participated in the protests, assuring people of their support. But none of them have yet come out to back the film industry over the ongoing tax row.