State government will soon introduce entertainment tax on films in other languages that are being screened in Kerala, said finance minister TM Thomas Isaac in the assembly on Monday.
Isaac made the statement while replying to a ‘calling attention’ motion moved by Pathanapuram MLA K B Ganesh Kumar on the need to plug the pilferage of tax revenue, especially from the film industry. “Tax evasion is a truth. We don’t have actual details about ticket sales,” he said in reply to Kumar’s claim that theatres did not reveal the actual volume of ticket sales to the government.
Kumar – who oversaw cinema portfolio during the UDF regime – said government should consider introducing 10-15% entertainment tax on non-Malayalam films screened in state’s theatres. “The proposal is acceptable to the government and we will soon initiate talks with stakeholders concerned and finalize the tax,” he said.
“GST regime, contrary to the promises, has trimmed the state’s tax revenue. Many enterprises have devised plans to escape the tax net. At present, there is no mechanism for the government to find the actual number of tickets being sold in theatres. As a result, the government exchequer suffers. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka collect entertainment tax from Malayalam films screened there. Now, films made in other language are having a good run and government should introduce entertainment tax and implement an e-ticketing mechanism to stop the fleecing by theatre owners,” he said.
“Despite all the mechanisms in place, some people still find loopholes to evade tax. The government will actively consider the proposal to introduce an e-ticketing system to check pilferage,” said Isaac.
Minister for cinema AK Balan said KSFDC has expressed willingness in establishing an e-ticketing mechanism, using which the government can monitor ticket sales in theatres. The e-ticketing mechanism is working perfectly in KSDFC theatres,” he said. Assured growth under GST is higher: Isaac