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HC stay on collection of service tax
January, 07th 2012

The Madras high court has restrained the central authorities from levying and collecting service tax from film distributors and exhibitors under the provisions of the Finance Act of 1994.

Justice M Jaichandren granted the interim injunction, on a writ petition filed by Mediaone Global Entertainment Limited, which has distribution rights for the Vikram-starrer 'Rajapattai', and Vijay's 'Nanban'.

The film distributor contended that already 10.3% of the distributor's share in the total theatre collections of 'Rajapattai' had been set apart and deposited in a separate account.

Noting that the distributor's agreement with Eros International, which produced the film was in the nature of profit-sharing, it said since the arrangement had no element of service the question of payment of service tax under the provisions of the Act did not arise at all.

Deducting 10.3% of the distributor's share of the collections, in addition to the 30% entertainment tax payable to the state government would had adverse impact on the finances of the distributor, it said.

Since film distribution is in a joint control over an economic activity to obtain profit or loss the venture is not a taxable service, petition said, adding that there is no value addition to the product too.

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