India DTH win major tax concession

India’s Supreme Court has given a significant boost to the country’s DTH operators. The Court, following numerous arguments, verdicts and three appeals has finally ruled that the operators are exempt from India’s 1936 Entertainment Duty & Advertisement Tax Act which demands a 20 per cent tax on subscriptions paid to the satellite broadcasters.

The tax levy has been in place since 2008 but while the Act’s wording talked about ‘admissions’ to events other than cinema, video cassette recorders and cable services (which were covered elsewhere) the Act made no mention of DTH broadcasting which was embryonic in India.

The Supreme Court ruled that the original Act could not be “enlarged….and thus does not improve the case of the State [in their argument].”

TataSky, which argued this particular appeal, said that the 1936 rules specifically require that a special revenue stamp, equal to 20 of the ‘ticket price’ to an event, must be fixed to the ticket by the proprietor of the event.

The Court agreed that a DTH operation is not a place-related entertainment as specified by the Act.

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