LCOs say taxes have to be paid by MSOs under DAS

NEW DELHI: Organisations of cable operators in Delhi have expressed surprise at reports that the Delhi Government is attempting to charge some local cable operators with evading taxes.

The local cable operators (LCOs) say that all the set top boxes are being imported by the multi-system operators (MSOs) and the exact number is also available with these MSOs who file their records with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). The action of Delhi Government is therefore misplaced, the LCOs say.

Cable Operators Federation of India president Roop Sharma said it was for the importer of the MSO to pay VAT or other taxes and this did not fall in the realm of the LCO.

Under the Digital Addressable System (DAS), even the entertainment tax has to be paid by the MSO who generates the bill, and the LCO does not come into the picture. Prior to digitisation, the LCOs generated the billing for the consumers, Sharma added.

She stressed that the LCOs had supported digitisation as they were consistently being accused of under-reporting, and wanted to ensure transparency.

Earlier reports had said that the Delhi government had alleged that LCOs had been evading taxes by concealing the number of connections.

The Department of Excise and Entertainment Tax had issued notices to nearly 1,000 of 2,200 operators in the city warning them of cancellation of licences.

The process is likely to take two to three months, according to officials. According to 2011 census, Delhi has 3.341 million households with 88 per cent TV penetration, which implies that about 2.9 million households have TV connections.

It is understood that the government has collected nearly Rs 1.21 billion against a target of Rs 670 million, of which Rs 300 million has been collected from cable operators. This collection last year was nearly Rs 330 million.

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