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Cable operators default on tax, pin blame on set-top boxes

Multi-System Operators claim that their subsidiaries were engaged in installing set-top boxes and, therefore, couldn’t collect subscription charges from viewers, which caused the Rs 7-crore entertainment tax default

Cable operators in the city have defaulted around Rs 7 crore on entertainment tax by not paying their dues from March last year. The Multi-System Operators (MSOs) claim that their operators were caught up in installing set-top boxes and so couldn’t collecting the subscription fee from them. Due to this, no tax was paid to the department.

Mohini Chavan
Mohini Chavan

To ensure tax collection, the entertainment department is organising a marathon of meetings with cable and multi system operators. The department has also issued notices to fifteen such cable operators in the city for dishonouring cheque payments to the department towards the tax collected per cable connection.

“I have been observing this pattern for the last few months where the cheque payments of cable operators, as tax, have been bouncing. Initially, my staff ignored it, but such practices have kept continuing, which impelled me to issue notices to the cable operators to immediately pay the tax amount,” said Mohini Chavan, head of the district entertainment duty department.

She asserted that according to the notice, cable operators have been given a deadline of 15 days to pay up, or else a police complaint will be lodged against them. Not only this, cable operators have also failed to pay their monthly taxes to the Entertainment Department.

The other side

MSOs, however, have a different version. “Since the last few months, our cable operators were engaged in installing set-top boxes and therefore couldn’t collect the subscription charges from the viewers. The dishonouring of cheques also happened due to same reason,” said proprietor of Next Generation cable network, Baba Shaikh. While Hathway cable network proprietor Dipak Shivale said that he has already instructed his cable operators to clear all defaults by the end of February. Cable operators will have to pay the entertainment department Rs 45 for every cable connection.

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