Tamil Nadu theaters launch shutdown over GST
The Film Chamber of Commerce have announced an indefinite close down of theaters from Monday
The Tamil Nadu Film Chamber of Commerce announced an indefinite shutdown of theaters across Tamil Nadu from Monday (July 3) “due to lack of clarity” on the tax amount that will be levied after the implementation of GST.
Abirami Ramanathan, President of the Tamil Nadu Film Chamber of Commerce, had previously said that the State government should intervene and make things clear on how much theater owners will be charged henceforth.
Ruban of GK Cinemas says: “Already we fall under the highest taxation slab of 28%. The strikes have now been planned because the government announced it would be levying the local municipal tax on the tickets. If this gets implemented, we’ll have to pay around 53% as tax, which we can’t afford. Take Kerala, Karnataka and other southern States for instance — there’s no local tax. We’ll again try to convince the government against this on Monday.”
Multiplexes in Chennai haven’t opened bookings for the weekend as they are not sure if the government intends to charge an entertainment tax above GST. Nikilesh of Rohini Theatre says: “We’ve not opened online booking thanks to this uncertainty. At current rates, single screens will be worst hit. Our government has failed to recognise this.”
Subbu of Kasi Theatres talks of the challenge of bringing audiences to the theaters. “It’s ridiculous the government has made this move. I am sure though the issue will get sorted in the coming week,” he says. “Whatever revenue we get is shared between distributors, producers, exhibitors and others. These extra taxes wouldn’t just be a cost burden but a compliance nightmare.”
Director R Kannan, whose Ivan Thanthiran got released this weekend, is crestfallen. “I have been getting fantastic reports from both critics and audiences. This move by the government is discouraging. It’s not only going to affect the revenue of my film but also those that have been running to packed theaters.”