TODAY -
Authority fails to collect amusement tax as govt revenue to the tune of crores
Except three cinema halls in Imphal, no other pays tax

Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, October 25 2010: The State government has lost revenue in terms of crores of rupees a year to due 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 parlors are mushrooming up in every nook and corner of the state now-a-days, 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 also applicable in the state.

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

These three cinema theatres paid ' 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 of 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 that organized by the local clubs and NGOs for raising funds are also payable the tax levied under the Act.

The same is also held good for the video parlors 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 running of local theatres and holding charity shows.

The officials believed that these theatres are running shows with the permission of the DC concerned.

If entertainment programmes are allowed to perform under a stringent vigil of the DCs, amusement tax 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 best income earning theatres in the state but no tax payable to the Taxation Department has so far being 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 to pay 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 purpose.

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

When screening of Hindi film was not banned in Manipur by a particular underground group, Taxation Department could collect amusement tax at the rate of ' 1 lakh per month as government revenue.

But it has sharply reduced since the ban imposed.

However, seeing the present trend of reviving cinema theatre with the advent of digital film era, the collection of amusement tax can be increased again if screening of films and charity shows held at the localities were done in proper manner with the permission of the DC concerns, he opined.


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