Tamil Nadu’s cinema theatres will be shut down from today in protest against taxes levied by local bodies in addition to the nationwide Goods and Service Tax (GST). The strike is in response to an ordinance issued by the Tamil Nadu Government that imposes an addition 30% tax in addition to the GST on movie theatres across the state. Theatre owners claim that dual taxation imposes an unduly heavy burden on them.
The decision to strike was made after members of the Tamil Nadu theatre owners and film distributors associations met Sunday afternoon at Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners President Abirami Ramanathan’s residence in Chennai. Speaking to Silverscreen after the meeting, Abirami Ramanathan said “We are unable to pay the dual tax, so we are shutting down.” Saravana Rajan, a Madurai-based distributor who attended the meeting elaborated, “Sunday night’s show is the last show. All the theatres across Tamil Nadu will shut down from Monday until the government scraps the 30% local body tax that we have to pay in addition to GST. We are OK with (the) GST but not with the local body tax. We will shut down until government takes some serious steps.”