A tax on goods and services by 18% in the arts of the Indian scene sparked protests from artists and producers across the country, but artists in Maharashtra are particularly desperate.
Prior to the introduction of the GST on July 1, Indian classical music, dance and theater in Maharashtra were exempt from state entertainment tax of 25%.
However, all these forms of Indian arts are now under the GST network, with an 18% retention in tickets for shows at a price of more than Rs 250.
While this will greatly increase ticket prices, artists are particularly concerned about their personal tax obligations.
Under the GST, companies and service providers that pull a turnover of more than Rs 20 lakh should register and submit statements, but artists have to fear that they will now register under GST and drop multiple returns a month, even if They do not earn Rs 20 lakh a year.
In addition, like movie owners in Tamil Nadu, artists and art producers in Maharashtra are concerned that the state government imposed an additional entertainment tax beyond the GST.
“Maharashtra was a progressive condition in which the theater is not taxed unless foreign artists participated,” said Kaizaad Kotwal, founder of the bad theater company Box Productions. “Now the cost of art has increased, but the public was inclined to pay beyond a certain threshold?”
In Mumbai, where theater tickets and the arts generally cost between Rs 300 and 500 rupees, the 18% perception of GST tickets above Rs 250 would be a burden on the public, and a possible fall competitions would hurt the Artists and producers.
Arun Kakade, founder of the famed Awishkar Marathi theater group, has already signed a collective call for regional theater groups calling on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to reconsider the 18% GST in the arts.
Meanwhile, Kakade says the groups have found a temporary solution to the problem. “We have all reduced the price of Rs 300 and below Rs 250, so we can avoid paying the GST until we receive a response from the Minister of Finance,” Kakde said.
“We hope, but if our request is rejected, we will find a way to shake it more.” According to Kunal Kapoor, director of the iconic Prithvi Theater in Mumbai, theater groups and artists will succeed only to survive in an industry. This is due to passion.
“The GST is very difficult for theater groups to start and survive,” he said. Life is likely to be even more difficult for artists who earn more than Rs 20 lakh annually. They will be charged with 18% GST and must file returns at least three times a month.
“As a theater owner, I will support an additional monthly expense to hire an accountant to file such statements,” said Kunal Kapoor. “Artists do not have the capacity for it, and even those who do not Rs 20 lakh per year may have to register under GST and drop zero returns, to show that they have not earned Rs 20 lakh.
Many artists still do not know if they should register under GST, but the theater group that uses e-commerce sites like BookMyShow to sell tickets online must register.
While theater groups and producers are struggling to understand the nuances of the GST, they also deal with the additional tax anxiety in entertainment.