GST cut set to reduce movie ticket prices


KOLKATA: The finance ministry’s decision of reduction in Goods and Services Tax (GST) on cinema tickets has made viewers hopeful of a slash in ticket prices. On Saturday, the GST rates on cinema tickets costing up to Rs 100 was brought down to 12% from the existing 18%, while the tickets above Rs 100 would now have 18% GST payable against 28% earlier.

The Bengal government had earlier issued a notification to provide relief to viewers. In the current circumstances, where the state government is yet to issue a fresh notification, exhibitors are yet to take a final call on what happens to ticket pricing in Bengal. However, some have already made up their mind to ensure that the viewers get benefit of the proposed reduction. One among them is the owner of Navina, who has decided to slash prices of tickets once the GST revision notification is out. “Both the central and state notifications on GST are yet to come. The GST council recommendations have said that the revised rates will be effective from the date of notification. Once that is issued, we plan to slash Rs 10 across all classes of tickets. So a moviegoer, who pays Rs 140 now, will have to pay Rs 130 and one, who is paying Rs 90, will have to pay Rs 10 less,” said Navin Choukhani.

According to Choukhani, in the pre-GST era any reduction in taxes was not passed on to the customer. “Rather, the cinema hall owners used to increase their base price and keep the gross ticket prices same. The entire benefit of reduced tax rates was pocketed by the owners. But in the GST era, there is an act called Anti Profiteering which clearly states that the customers should get the entire benefit of reduced tax rate. Hence, owners cannot increase their base price. Rather, they have to reduce the gross ticket price,” he added.

Producer Shrikant Mohta, who is the director of SVF Cinemas, is also hopeful of the audience finally getting benefit from this revision. “However, I will wait for the new state government notification to come. On the parallel side, I will take a legal opinion on what should we do post this GST norm. Our state government was the first one to sacrifice its share of GST to the local industry. That was an eyeopener of the fact that the GST levied upon the entertainment industry was very high. I think, this GST revision is nothing but a follow-up of the same realisation that Didi had when GST was introduced,” Mohta said.

According Suranjan Paul, the owner of Minar, Bijoli and Chhabighar, there is no immediate price revision of tickets. “Ticket prices at Minar, Bijoli and Chhabighar are already low. I can’t bring down the prices any further. Now, I would want to the state government to issue a fresh notification stating what rebate it will offer to the audience,” Paul said.

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