TODAY -
Taxation dept issues notices to tax shy cinema halls
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, November 29 2010: In a move to able to collect amusement taxes from default cinema halls and other entertainment establishments, state Transport Department has started issuing notices.

The notices to these entertainment centres were served as a warning for not paying the amusement taxes payable to the Taxation Department under the Assam Amusement and Betting Tax Act 1939 which is enforced in the state.

They have been warned of a ban on the screening and performing entertainment programmes by cancelling their licenses, official sources said.

The default cinema halls which which were served notices were Indrani Cinema Hall, Azad Talkies, Dipa Cinema in Kakching area, KK Cinema, NS Cinema in Thoubal area, Machu Cinema, Samurou, Luxmi Cinema, Wangjing and Samurou Lakpa Cinema hall, Samurou.

The notices asked the authorities of the cinema halls to give reasons why the licenses issued to them should not be cancelled under sub-section 1 of the section 3 of the Assam Amusement and Betting Tax Act 1939.The reply is returnable within seven days from the date of issued of the notification.

Actions like cancelling of license and imposing fines double to the due amount payable to the taxation authority can be imposed to tax defaulters under section 5 (A) of the same Act, officials said.

The State government has lost revenue in terms of crores of rupees per year due to non-collection of amusement taxes payable through the state Taxation Department from the cinema halls and other entertainment establishments.

Cinema halls screening films and other halls accommodating entertainment programmes like concerts, plays and Lilas are to pay taxes to the government under the Amusement and Betting Tax Act 1939 enforced in the state.

Even though cinema halls, video parlours are mushrooming in every nook and corner of the state most of these entertainment centres are not following the rules and regulationsm laid down in the provisions of the Assam Amusement and Betting Tax Act 1939 which is applicable in the state.

Hueiyen Lanpao in a recent investigation into the mode of running of these entertainment sectors had revealed that except Friends Talkies, Pratap Talkies and Usha Cinema at Paona Bazar, no other hall has paid taxes payable to the Taxation Department.

These three cinema theatres paids Rs. 57,615 as amusement tax to the Taxation Department during the current year 2010 upto October.

However, Bhaigyachandra Open Air Theatre (BOAT), Palace Compound and GM Hall, where entertainment programmes like musical concerts and releasing of films were performed almost throughout the year, were found not paying taxes payable to the department.

As per the Assam Amusement and Betting Act 1939, any entertainment programme, performed by selling tickets, should pay 50% of the admission fee plus 20 paise per each ticket sold as surcharge fee to the government.

Except the three cinema halls, no other hall paid these taxes, an official of the Taxation Department confirmed.

Any charity show performed in any place of the state including those organized by local clubs and NGOs for raising funds should also pay the taxes levied under the Act.

The same is also held good for video parlours and local cinema halls screening films with digital projectiles, he said.

They should obtain prior permission from their respective Deputy Commissioners who also function as District Magistrates (DMs).

DMs are the controlling authority and they are assigned the power to check the running of local theatres and holding of charity shows.

The officials believed that these theatres are running shows without the permission of the DCs concerned.

If entertainment programmes are carried out under a stringent vigil of the DCs, amusement taxes could be collected in a proper manner, the officer observed.

Entertainment programmes of various kinds are very frequent at BOAT and it is one of the best income earning theatres in the state but no taxes payable to the Taxation Department has so far been received even though the Department had written to the Art and Culture Department in this regard, the official disclosed.

They had written two or three times asking for payment of 50% of the income as levied tax to the Taxation Department but no reply has been received so far, he maintained.

Not only this, they had written to the GM Hall authority on the same subject.

But the Imphal Municipality, the caretaker of the hall is not translating the official intimation for payment of tax into practice.


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