Actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan on Friday welcomed the One India, One Tax GST regime but said the 28 per cent tax will ruin regional cinema.
GST or Goods and Services Tax is set to be launched next month and aims at replacing a tangled web of central and state levies with a single tax. Tomorrow, the GST council will meet for another in a series of important meetings to decide rates.
For the film industry, the entertainment and services taxes will be replaced by a single 28 per cent slab.
“We wholeheartedly welcome GST and One India, One Tax. But the current rate needs to be revised, otherwise it will run regional cinema,” Kamal told the media on Friday at an event.
He urged the Finance Minister to reduce the Goods and Services Tax rate for the cinema industry.
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“As an industry, we request that the GST rate be brought down to 12-15 per cent. At the present rate, I can’t afford the tax and I’ll be forced to quit. We should remember this is not East India Company,” he said.
Kamal went on to add that Hollywood, Bollywood and regional cinema can’t be put on the same slab.
“Film tickets across industries can’t be fixed like essential services,” he concluded.
The entertainment and other taxes vary in different parts of India. For Hindi films, 28 per cent is a drop from the current rate in cities like Mumbai.
Many south filmmakers point out that existing tax rates are low in the southern states; in Karnataka, there is no tax on Kannada films. Mr Haasan has made over 40 films and starred in over 100.
GST, India’s biggest tax overhaul, is set to debut on July 1. A small list of goods will be exempt from taxes while the rest will be taxed at the approved rates of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent.