By Shashank Chouhan and Sankalp Phartiyal
The Indian movie business, led by the Mumbai-based Hindi film industry, hopes Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s budget will reduce the tax burden on movie studios as well as theatre owners and operators, and will provide incentives that would let them open more theatres around the country to boost ticket sales.
While the entertainment tax on movie tickets varies from one state to another, filmmakers pay numerous other fees, such as a 12.36 percent service tax to the central government that is charged on payments to actors and film crews, as well as customs on any imports such as movie equipment. This, industry insiders say, makes it tough to make more money. In Maharashtra, Bollywood’s home state, the taxes on a movie can comprise up to 61 percent of a film’s budget.
“You need to treat us fairly, not penalise us because you feel we are just entertainers. We want to be treated at par with any other service industry,” said Kulmeet Makkar, CEO of the Film & TV Producers Guild of India Ltd.
Makkar said he hopes the government will roll out a Goods and Services Tax that would replace all major indirect taxes and simplify the tax structure.