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Leading production houses skip professional tax: RTI

A number of prominent film and television production houses based in the city are yet to pay their professional taxes to the state government, an RTI query has revealed.

These production houses include Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainments, Vinod Khanna Productions, Rajshri Productions Pvt Ltd, Sanjay Leela Bhansali Pvt Ltd, BR Films Productions, Anurag Kashyap Films Pvt Ltd, Yashraj Films, John Abraham Entertainment Pvt Ltd, Sri Adhikari Brothers Television Pvt Ltd among others, as per a reply furnished by Joint Commissioner, Sales Tax (Professional Tax) office here to the RTI query last week.

Based on the reply, RTI activist Manoranjan Roy has lodged a complaint against 110 such production houses with the Sales Tax office in Mumbai.

According to Maharashtra Professional Tax Act-1975, professional tax is applicable on a person, partnership firm, company, body of individual and association of persons who have effective earning in the state.

Every business entity (professional or business) needs to pay Rs. 2,500 per annum as Professional Tax, irrespective of whether it is making profit or loss.

The activist procured the information through nine RTI queries filed with the office of the Joint Commissioner of Sales Tax (Professional Tax) in September, wherein he had sought status of payment of professional tax by as many as 180 prominent Mumbai-based production houses.

In the reply, tax status of 143 production houses was given, out of which only 33 companies were registered with the department and paid taxes while the remaining, which include some prominent names, were not found to be registered.

“I have demanded that the department immediately issue notices to the production houses and recover the taxes with penalty from retrospective date. The revenue earned will go to the government exchequer,” he said.

When contacted, a senior official of the office of Sales Tax (Professional Tax) confirmed that they have received the RTI activist’s complaint and said they would soon issue notices to the defaulters.

Nagesh Dubey, a city-based chartered accountant, said an employee needs to pay professional tax through the employer and in this case, prima-facie the owners (of production houses) look evading tax.

According to current the tax slab, an employee earning between 7,500 and 10,000 per month needs to pay Rs. 175 per month as professional tax, while those earning over Rs. 10,000 or above per month need to pay Rs. 200.

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