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Movie online booking charges can’t be included for entertainment tax: High Court

Holding that online booking charges or internet handling charges besides cost of a cinema ticket cannot be subjected to entertainment tax as it cannot be construed as ‘payment for admission’, the Madras High Court on Thursday quashed the reassessment orders issued to a cinema hall owner which subjected the Rs 30 paid separately for online booking as taxable under the TN Entertainment Tax Act,1939.

Movie online booking charges can’t be included for entertainment tax: High Court
Madras High Court


A division bench comprising Justice Vineet Kothari and Justice M Ramesh was passing orders on a plea moved by PVR Cinemas challenging a single judge’s order allowing such imposition of entertainment tax for online booking.

“The service of internet booking is not only outside the realm of Entertainment Tax Act but is an independent and an optional service provided by the cinema owner. It is neither mandatory nor uniformly applicable to all. If one opts for the online booking, one will have to pay something extra. But that has nothing to do with the gaining of the entry into the cinema hall for which one separately pays Rs 190.78 paid by all others who buy their tickets at the counter of the cinema hall,” the bench said.

Whether “online booking charges” charged by a cinema hall owner besides the “cost of ticket” for entry into the cinema hall is a part of taxable receipt by the cinema owner, was the question which arose for consideration in the present intra court appeals, filed against the single judge’s order.

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