Axe the tax, says Bollywood!

By Hindustan Times

MUMBAI, Feb. 28 -- Every thriving industry hopes for the best the moment the topic of the Union Budget arises. And while the subject of heavy taxes (particularly service tax) has always led to arguments and problems in the entertainment business, little has been done about it so far.

We talk to some filmmakers, who still haven't lost hope and hope that, this time, their voices will be heard.

Rajan Shahi, TV PRODUCER "Since the entertainment industry generates so much revenue for our country, there should be a specialised study done on it. Decisions should be such that they allow the industry, and the people who are a part of it, to grow. There are many laws and taxes that don't facilitate growth. I hope the budget is more conducive to the economic and personal growth of the industry and its people."

Farah Khan, FILMMAKER "I really hope that the entertainment tax and service tax is reduced. It's difficult to explain, but they (the government) just keep adding these new taxes. This just makes things difficult for all of us, who are part of the entertainment industry. I really wish this issue is resolved. It's about time, seriously."

Mahesh Bhatt, FILMMAKER "The service tax issue still remains unresolved. The Indian film industry is turning 100 this year. Every year we hope to hear some good news with regards to the tax issue. But the finance minister said that there's little he can do about this as the country is facing certain economic problems. So, that's a dead-end there. But man lives in hope and miracles do happen. However, if nothing happens, we'll take it in our stride."

Ramesh Taurani, PRODUCER "I want the service tax to be waived. It simply puts an extra burden of at least 12.36 per cent on a film's total cost. Besides, there's already an entertainment tax that is applicable. And since the cost of making a film has gone up considerably over the last few years, it would be great if the government can get rid of service tax. It causes a lot of problems for the producers."

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