Exhibitors threatens to shut down cinemas

Exhibitors threatens to shut down cinemas
Highlights

The exhibitors of Andhra Pradesh have plans to shut theatres if the State government fails to get permission for three-tier new tax policy under Goods Service Tax (GST) on movie ticket prices. The Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Exhibitors Association of Andhra Pradesh moved a proposal in this regard.

Amaravati: The exhibitors of Andhra Pradesh have plans to shut theatres if the State government fails to get permission for three-tier new tax policy under Goods Service Tax (GST) on movie ticket prices. The Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Exhibitors Association of Andhra Pradesh moved a proposal in this regard.

The film producers, distributors and exhibitors belonging to the southern States proposed a new tax formula as 5 per cent, 12 per cent and 15 per cent tax on movie ticket prices on different ticket slabs.

The three-tier new tax system was proposed by the film industry representatives of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka at a meeting held in Chennai on Wednesday following the strike proposal moved by the Andhra Pradesh Film Exhibitors Association two days ago in Vijayawada.

The two Telugu States AP and Telangana proposed 5 per cent tax for tickets below Rs 50, 12 per cent for tickets below Rs 100 and 15 per cent for tickets above Rs 100 at the meeting.

Presently, there are 1600 theatres in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The number of theatres had gone down from 2,600 to 1600 following the implementation of tax slab system.

For the last 10 years, the State government has been implementing 7 per cent tax for low budget movies, 15 per cent for high budget movies and 13 per cent for non-air-conditioned theatres and 20 per cent on dubbing movies based on average total collection.

But as per the present GST tax system, the exhibitors should pay 18 per cent for tickets up to Rs 100 and 28 per cent for tickets above Rs 100. The tax is charged at theatres directly under GST system as every ticket sale is counted online. Finally, the distributor would face increasing tax burden and then the distributors cannot buy pictures as per trends, said AP and Telangana Distributors Association secretary Bayana Srinivas. The producers also will face problems, he said.

Vijayawada Exhibitors Association secretary L Sai said that if the tax burden is shifted totally to public by increasing movie ticket prices, they may not watch movies in theatres.Already theatres are facing lot of challenges, he said and pointed out that theatres number fell drastically following the changes in tax system.

He demanded that the government provide tax free policy for the regional movies which is currently being implemented in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. There is a proposal to shut the theatres in protest against the GST, he said.

Film producer and president South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce and Industry C Kalyan speaking to The Hans India, said that the southern States took part in meeting in Chennai and they would meet the Finance Ministers of all the States and Union government to discuss the issue. The Finance Ministers would be requested to adopt a three-tier tax system instead of the proposed taxation of 18 per cent and 28 per cent under GST.

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