Film industry protests against service tax and VAT

MUMBAI: Emboldened by the day-long fast that film and TV actors, filmmakers, technicians, theatre owners and distributors down South resorted to, the Film and Television Producers Guild of India has threatened the government that if the 12.36 per cent service tax is not rolled back, they will be forced to stop all film shootings from February onward. They have also threatened to not allow any film to release during this period either.

It is well-known that many actors do not pay their service tax from their own pocket; most of them openly tell the producer that he has to pay them 12.36 per cent by way of service tax over and above their acting fee. Producers have evaluated the cost of every project to be 12.5 per cent more, thanks to this additional service tax passed on to them by a majority of actors.

"The latest findings have put the Hindi film industry on the back foot. First of all, there is no guarantee of films doing well these days. Add to that the burden of service tax even before you start rolling the cameras. This is grossly unfair," pointed out the source.

Confirming the news Film and Television Producers Guild of India President Mukesh Bhatt said, "We have spoken to the I & B Ministry and the state government. We are compelled to enforce a closure by the end of January if service tax and VAT are not waived off. We cannot take the burden any longer."

It is said that the film fraternity is again meeting on Wednesday to chalk out a final decision.

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