Double taxation row: Multiplexes in Chennai on a strike, no new Tamil releases from this week
In July, following the Tamil Nadu government’s announcement to levy 30 percent of entertainment tax over the newly implemented GST rate of 28 per cent, Kollywood came to a standstill as the Tamil Nadu Film Chamber of Commerce decided to shut down theatres. After four days of strike, the chamber and the government reached an amicable solution and the strike was called off, amidst speculations that the relief was temporary. On Monday, the Chennai Corporation announced that an additional Local Body Entertainment Tax (LBET) of 10 per cent will be charged over the Goods and Services Tax, leaving the industry shocked.
On Tuesday, the Multiplexes Association of India (MAI) directed multiplexes such as PVR and INOX here to shut shop against double taxation. “All multiplexes operating in Chennai have announced that they are going on strike starting today,” read a statement from the Multiplex Association of India (MAI). The statement added that the double taxation defeats the purpose of the GST model and went against the principle of ‘One Nation. One Tax’. MAI President Deepak Asher requested the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Great Chennai Corporation (GCC) Commissioner to consider their request to withdraw the LBET levied on the film exhibition industry in Chennai immediately.
The Tamil Nadu Film Producers Council on Tuesday late night announced that no new Tamil films will release Friday onwards as the government’s decision to levy additional tax on already imposed GST will cripple the industry. He said that the industry is ready to go on indefinite strike if the Entertainment Tax is not abolished. If the strike continues till Diwali, Vijay’s highly anticipated release Mersal will take a severe blow.
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