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Now, lights, action & GST drama for tiatrs, nataks

Producers will now find themselves under scrutiny of the dept of commercial taxes and will be forced to revise their ticketing system to include GST taxes

Story: The | Goan | 13th October 2017, 02:59 Hrs

PANAJI: It will be lights, action and a tense drama for producers of commercial Konkani tiatrs and Marathi nataks, as these dramas which were earlier excluded from entertainment tax will now have to follow a new script -- the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
With tiatrs and nataks now within the purview of GST, producers will find themselves under scrutiny of the department of commercial taxes and will be forced to revise their ticketing system to include GST taxes. As a result, lovers of tiatrs and nataks could soon find themselves shelling out more money while purchasing a ticket.
Under the earlier system, tickets below Rs 500 at tiatrs, nataks and regional films had been exempted from entertainment tax.
But with the new GST in place, the central government has proposed to include entertainment tax under GST and as a result, a ticket under Rs 100 will attract an 18% GST, while it would be a steep 28% GST for a ticket above Rs 100.
Significantly, entertainment companies and troupes with an annual turnover of over Rs 20 lakh will be compelled to register themselves under the GST.
When contacted, Commissioner of Commercial Taxes Deepak Bandekar explained that tiatrs, nataks and regional films were earlier excluded from taxation, since no taxes were collected from tickets below Rs 500.
"Now, an 18% GST has been implemented on tickets below Rs 100 and 28% GST on tickets above Rs 100. Entertainment companies grossing an annual income exceeding Rs 20 lakh will have to register with GST, to entitle them to an Input Tax Credit under GST."
"Besides, a 28% GST will also be implemented on all kinds of films," Bandekar added.
With tiatrs and nataks now included in GST, these producers will be forced to set up an accounting system and have their account books audited.
Likewise, the responsibility will also be on the department of commercial taxes to set up a mechanism to monitor ticket sales and other financial transactions incurred in the production of tiatrs and nataks.
Reacting to the inclusion of tiatrs and nataks under the GST, noted Goan film producer Rajendra Talak claimed that regional films would be affected by this decision since the GST could be passed on to the audience.
Admitting that a higher priced ticket could affect turnout at films, Talak, however, pointed out that this would also compel local film producers to improve the quality of films to attract an audience.
"Since the government has a scheme to provide financial assistance of up to Rs 50 lakh to produce quality regional films in the state, it is therefore our duty to pay taxes to the government," said Talak.
He explained that box office hits are not dependent on taxes in general.
"Audiences do not compromise on money when it comes to a box office hit and it is for this reason that some Hindi films hits earn huge revenues. Audiences do not visit theatres going by the cost of the ticket, but on the popularity of the film," Talak added.

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EXCITING TO DISAPPOINTING
* Earlier, tickets below Rs 500 at tiatrs, nataks, regional films were exempted from entertainment tax
* With the new GST in place, the central government has proposed to include entertainment tax
* A ticket under Rs 100 will attract 18% GST, while a steep 28% GST for a ticket above Rs 100
* Now, a 28% GST will also be implemented on all kinds of regional films
* The producers will now have to set up an accounting system and have account books audited
* Dept of commercial taxes too will have to monitor ticket sales and other financial transactions
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