Regulators

Delhi govt approves online entertainment tax application for ticketed events

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MUMBAI: The Delhi Govt approved the first online application for Entertainment Tax on 23 September, 2015 based on a post-event settlement, which is a major breakthrough for the events and entertainment industry.

The approval was done online in a record time of two hours, where previously the same could take several months.

In August this year, The Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) in collaboration with the Govt. of Delhi and the Police department of Delhi took several steps to simplify licensing for events and eliminate red tape and touts. A process was put into place whereby EEMA member companies can do ticketed events in the national capital without paying entertainment tax before the event. The first achievement in this direction is the online approval for the soon-to-be-held Zubin Mehta concert in Delhi.

The development entails a single-window approval system, which is online for all non-ticketed events. Large ticketed events are likely to make their way back to the capital as the partnership between EEMA and the Delhi government has led to an online approval system for ticketed events too with elimination of pre-payment of tax, pre-event stamping of tickets and blockage of funds for tax payments.

EEMA president and Wizcraft International founder director Sabbas Joseph said, "We are delighted to see our enduring efforts come to life and turn into reality. This is just one door open and still a major step ahead. Alongside the path breaking steps by the Delhi government, the Maharashtra Chief Minister Mr Devendra Fadnavis too has announced that venues would have pre-approved licenses and a single–window clearance system would be implemented shortly. We hope that the efforts of the CMs  from Delhi and Maharashtra pave the way for similar moves across the country."

The first ticketed show under this new licensing regime would be a concert by maestro Zubin Mehta performing live in Delhi after 15 years. The approvals were given online in less than two hours on 23 September, 2015.

The show will be produced by Showtime Events. "I could not have imagined this speed of action in my wildest dreams! It seems the Commissioner means business and is determined to change the face of entertainment in Delhi," said Showtime Events managing director Michael Menezes. 

Due to antiquated tax rules and strangulating licensing norms in Delhi, companies were loathe to hold events and shows in the city and instead preferred Gurgaon or Noida as locations for the event staging.

Earlier this year, The Delhi Government was forthcoming and eager to make Delhi India's event-friendly capital city. Following a detailed EEMA representation and persistent efforts, the Delhi government moved at a rapid pace in streamlining the licensing process in Delhi and yielding promising results for the event industry. The Delhi Govt. also appointed antiquated tax rules and strangulating licensing norms commissioner Sanjay Kumar as the nodal officer for creation of the single-window licensing process, with an eye on ease-of-doing-business.

What's more, the complimentary ticket scenario has also got a thumbs down. Leading the way, Kejriwal publicly declared that no minister or MLA of his party will ever ask for free tickets to any event or movie.

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