Lanka to tax Hollywood and Bollywood movies
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Lanka to tax Hollywood and Bollywood movies

Sri Lanka is also planning to ban TV programmes with foreign content in a bid to fund its own entertainment industry.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2006 13:49 IST

Sri Lanka is planning a controversial tax on imported films,both from Hollywood and the hugely popular Bollywood, as well as TV programmes with foreign content, in a bid to fund the development of the island's own industry in dire straits, officials said.

Imported movies would be taxed at the rate of $750 per episode from April this year while television dramas and sitcoms would be taxed at the same rate, for blocks of five, half-hour programmes.

The tax forms part of the island's budget this year and will be limited to imported content aired on television stations. While repeat broadcasts will not be taxed, categories like education content would be exempted.

"We are still having discussions on how to impose the tax on exemptions and legal documentation that is needed. We hope to finalise it by the end of February to implement by April," RTL Weerasinghe, Senior Tax Advisor at the Treasury and former Commissioner of Inland Revenue said.

The government has not set revenue targets yet, but the taxes will be channelled to a special fund to develop the local film industry, President Mahinda Rajapakse, who also dons the cap of finance minister said in his budget speech last November.

Sri Lanka imports largely English language, Tamil and Hindi content for local television stations, though there are no estimates on total foreign film imports.

Local television stations annually air over 1,500 movies - mainly in English, Tamil and Hindi.

First Published: Feb 20, 2006 13:49 IST