Television

SERVICE TAX

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he multiple levels and multi-point Service Tax imposed on the Entertainment Industry is making survival difficult for the small content producers.

 

Presently, the Entertainment Industry is paying Service Tax at many different levels and points, such that they end up paying Service Tax on Service Tax on Service tax. The levy is draconian and is making survival difficult for the content producers, who being the weakest link, bear the whole of the burden. The scenario is briefly described as under: -

 

The subscribers of Cable TV pay Service-tax which is collected and deposited by the Cable Operator.



The advertisers pay service tax to the ad-agencies on all ads booked by them.



The ad-agencies pay service tax on all advertisements aired, which the TV Channels collect and deposit.



The TV Channels are supposed to pay Service Tax to the Content Producers which the Content Producers are supposed to collect and deposit. As of now, none of the Channels, including Doordarshan, is paying this tax and so the Content Producers, even though they do not collect, deposit from their own resources as per law.



The Content producers hire equipment and buy utility services such as Telephone, Electricity, Insurance etc., on which they pay service tax which the equipment owners and utilities companies collect and deposit.

 

(A graphical representation is attached

 

Thus, the multi-point and multi-level Service tax levied on the Entertainment Industry is becoming such a burden that Channels, because they are at a bargaining end, refuse to bear and pay (and there is no law empowering the producers to recover the same from the channels) so it is borne by the Producers, and the producers have to pay to the Utilities and Equipment Suppliers as they are not in a position to refuse. Producers, end up paying service tax on their purchases as well as sales.

 

Doordarshan refuses to pay Service Tax on content that it purchases, although the law says they should pay; but collects Service tax from advertisers on telecast fees charges by it per force. Double faced policy.

 

The channels refuse to bear, not because they want to cheat, but because they too are forced to bear the Service Tax that the advertising agencies are refusing to pay. The ad-agencies are refusing to pay because they are already paying the tax on one side of their transaction.

 

The unfairness of the law lies in the fact that most of the players in the Entertainment Industry have to pay Service Tax on their costs as well as their revenues. This is against the concept of fair taxation.

 

We request that this chain of multi-point taxation be broken by exempting the Producers from Service Tax. The ad-agencies are already collecting and paying the Service Tax on all ads aired on the Channels, and the Cable Operators are also doing the same. Further, the Channels are paying Service Tax on all ads aired by them once again. The last leg of the chain, the Equipment Suppliers and Utilities are also collecting and paying service tax. Exempting the producers will give a great life-line to the Industry by breaking the Chain.

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