"Considering the ground reality and plight of the poor artistes, the Centre has to exempt artistes, directors and technicians from the purview of service tax" said veteran actor M.H. Ambareesh

Opposing the service tax imposed by the Union government, the Karnataka Cine Artistes’ Association (KCAA) on Monday demanded that artistes, directors and technicians be exempted from the 12.36 per cent tax imposed on them.

Addressing mediapersons here on Monday, association president and veteran actor M.H. Ambareesh said that artistes, who have “market” (opportunity to perform in films) only could pay the tax and for the rest it would be great burden. “Considering the ground reality and plight of the poor artistes, the Centre has to exempt artistes, directors and technicians from the purview of service tax”, he said.

Criticised

Besides Mr. Ambareesh, KCAA secretary Rockline Venkatesh, Puneet Rajkumar, Raghavendra Rajkumar, Darshan, Sudeep, Srinagara Kitti, Shruti, president Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce B.N. Vijayakumar and others criticised imposition of service tax on artistes.

Urging the Union government to withdraw the tax on film industry, the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce and Film Federation of India observed one-day bandh in February 2012. Over 850 cinemas across the State remained closed on the occasion.

Following the protest, a section of film industry, including producers, exhibitors and distributors, were exempted from paying the tax. However, actors, directors and technicians could not escape the tax net and they are forced to pay 12.36 per cent service tax now.

Mr. Ambareesh said that it was difficult for the small artistes to pay, as according to tax norms on entering into an agreement, they have to pay the service tax regardless of whether the film or the serial was completed.

“What is hindering the government in exempting artistes, directors and technicians, while the benefit had already been extended to others in the film industry?” Mr. Rockline Venkatesh asked. According to him, service tax would force the actors to evade tax, which will result in creation of black money.

Mr. Ambareesh said that a delegation of affected section of film industry would meet Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and appeal to him to exempt artistes, technicians and directors from the purview of tax.

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