When the Goods and Service Tax (GST) was introduced, there was also a tax levied by the Tamil Nadu State Government on the entertainment industry. This was protested against and many representations had been given to the government.
Now, in the neighbouring state of Kerala, a similar situation has arisen and it has upset the Malayalam film industry, big time. Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac had announced a 10% entertainment tax when he made his budget speech on the 1st of February, following the model of Tamil Nadu. Apparently, this is totally against the assurance that he had given to the industry that such taxation would never happen. This 10% tax is in addition to the already existing 18% GST.
G Suresh Kumar, President of the Kerala Film Producers Association states, “We had met with Thomas Isaac earlier and he had promised there would be no entertainment tax once the GST is in place. He also assured us that local bodies would be paid from the 50 per cent of the state government’s GST levy. His current announcement is a total violation of that promise”.
Naturally, the industry folks see this as something that would affect the box office collections with the ticket prices increasing by Rs. 25, which eventually would lead to a decrease in the number of footfalls. Suresh also added that the top actors like Mammootty and Mohanlal, would submit a representation to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, seeking a rollback.
This double taxation is sure to affect big and small films but for the big films, the effect may not be that high, say many insiders. An additional bane on this would be the increase in piracy as people would think twice to spend so much for watching a movie, especially as a family.Would the Pinarayi government look into this favourably? Let us wait and watch!