CAG for tighter tax norms for film, television industry

Concerned over tax evasion and the need to widen tax base, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report tabled in Parliament, suggested that payments for sale of distribution rights of films and time slots to television channels should be subject to the provisions of Tax Deduction at Source (TDS).

It would mean that entities making such payments would be required to deduct tax before making payments.

"...Provisions for deduction of TDS on sale of distribution rights and sharing of proceeds from exhibition of films may be introduced", the CAG recommended.

The government auditor further said that all persons and entities associated with film and televising industry should be assessed in the specially created Film Circles.

Although the government has created four Film Circles at Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru to effectively handle the assessments of entities related with film industry, 465 assesses were assessed outside the circle.

"Thus, the purpose of the creation of Film Circles to assess all film related assesses at one place is not fully serviced," the CAG observed.

It also suggested that Permanent Account Number (PAN) be recorded while making payments to persons associated with the film industry as "in absence of this it would be difficult to trace the person to whom payment has been made".

The Income Tax department, it suggested, should maintain coordination with the other Central Government Departments and States' Revenue Departments to identify the probable assesses with a view to "widen the tax base and prevent tax evasion."

It also wants the tax department to maintain records of incomplete and abandoned films.
India is the largest film producing country in the world. coming out with about 1,000 feature films every year.

The film industry, according to CAG, registered a growth of 9.7 per cent during 2005-2009 and generated revenues of around Rs 9,500 crore in 2009.

The television industry grew at 16.9 per cent per annum during the period 2005-2009 generating revenue of Rs 26,550 crore in 2009.

According to the estimates, the film and TV industry is expected to grow at 16.5 per cent per annum in the next five years to reach Rs 65,850 crore by 2014.

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