Visit to the cinemas may get dearer

Only 10 per cent of entertainment tax is being levied, compared to the previous 36 per cent. Hence, filmgoers will hardly be affected," he said.
Image for representational purpose only
Image for representational purpose only

KOCHI: Come Monday, your film tickets may get costlier. In accordance with the recent State Budget announcement, the Kochi Corporation, which has suffered a huge financial blow with the removal of entertainment tax last year, is gearing up to reinstate it from April 1. 

According to Deputy Mayor T J Vinod, the Corporation has already begun issuing notices to the concerned parties who fall under the purview of the entertainment tax, including film producers and theatre owners.
"The entertainment tax will be applicable to movie tickets, circus, sports matches and theatre. Anyone who wishes to hold an entertainment event under the Kochi Corporation will now be liable to pay the tax before fixing the ticket price. We are planning to implement the tax as we have got a green flag from the government. The scrapping of entertainment tax had cost the Corporation dearly last year. The appeal by the film producers don't hold water because such a tax is crucial for the Corporation," he said.
Last year alone, the Corporation faced losses by way of entertainment tax to the tune of Rs 8 crore. 
"Before the GST was imposed, the Corporation used to levy advertisement tax too which brought us revenue of at least 12 crore annually.

That was done away with since the introduction of the GST. The removal of the entertainment tax too was the final blow. This is why the Corporation had been appealing the government to reinstate the entertainment tax," said M B Muraleedharan, finance committee member, Kochi Corporation. 
He said the tax will also put a check on the unscrupulous ticket hikes made on the whims and fancies of the theatre owners and producers. 
"Ever since the power to collect entertainment tax was removed from the hands of the LSGD,  there was no accountability to the ticket fare hikes. Bringing back the entertainment tax under the purview of the LSGD will help keep a check on such hikes.

Only 10 per cent of entertainment tax is being levied, compared to the previous 36 per cent. Hence, filmgoers will hardly be affected," he said.
Meanwhile, the film producers and directors' associations have come out against the move. 
"We had approached the Chief Minister when the hike was announced. Though we were given assurances, no concrete step has been made so far. We still don't know whether the tax will be applicable from April 1. The government is yet to make its stand clear. However, we have approached the High Court to stay the move to collect entertainment tax. We are hopeful that we will receive a positive response soon," said director B Unnikrishnan and general secretary of Film Employees 
Federation of Kerala (FEFKA).
G Suresh Kumar, president, Kerala Film Producers 
Association said though the Kochi Corporation and the remaining local bodies may start collecting tax from April 1, the Corporation will have to revoke collecting the tax if the High Court directive is favourable to film fraternity.

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