Friday, June 9, 2023
Friday, June 9, 2023
HomeINB EnglishThe Bombay High Court today refused to give relief to actor Anushka...

The Bombay High Court today refused to give relief to actor Anushka Sharma and disposed of her petitions challenging orders passed by the state Sales Tax department demanding tax for assessment years between 2012 to 2016 under the Maharashtra Value Added Tax Act.

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A division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Abhay Ahuja stated that the actor had the alternate remedy of filing an appeal against the orders under provisions of the Maharashtra Value Added Tax (MVAT) Act.

Therefore, Sharma filed four petitions challenging four orders passed by the Sales Tax department levying a tax for assessment years 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16 under the Act.

The bench stated that “Why should we entertain the petitions when the petitioner (Sharma) has a full-fledged remedy of appeal available under the Act? The statutory provision is available.” While disposing of Sharma’s petitions, the court directed her to file an appeal before the Deputy Commissioner of Sales Tax (Appeals) within a period of 4 weeks.

Under the Act, when a person files an appeal, he or she will have to deposit 10% of the tax amount levied by the department.

As per the Sales Tax department, Anushka Sharma was the “first owner of copyrights” on her performances at awards functions or stage shows, and, therefore, liable to pay sales tax when she received income from them.

As she “transferred” this copyright to the producers of such events for a fee, it was akin to a sale, the Sales Tax department contended.

Sharma’s contention is an actor who performs in a film, advertisement or a stage/TV show can’t be called a creator or producer, and, hence, she or he does not own a copyright on the same.

The court said all the issues raised by Sharma in her petitions can be decided by the appellate authority. The court stated that “The authority will go into all the issues and conduct a detailed inquiry. If we sit to decide this, then every MVAT Act matter will come here.”

The department sought for the petitions to be dismissed and imposed costs on Sharma and had an alternate remedy available under the MVAT Act.

According to Sharma’s petitions, during the concerned period she performed in films and at award ceremonies as part of a tri-party agreement with her agent Yashraj Films Pvt. Ltd., and producers/event organizers.

Her petitions stated that the assessing officer levied sales tax not on film consideration but on product endorsements and anchoring at award functions, holding that, Sharma transferred her performer’s rights.

For Assessment Year 2012-13, the sales tax demand, inclusive of interest, was ₹1.2 crore on ₹12.3 crore consideration, and for 2013-14, it was ₹1.6 crore on a consideration of ₹17 crores. The sales tax department passed the orders between 2021 and 2022.

Sharma is known for her roles in films like “PK”, “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi”, “Sultan” and “Zero”, among others.

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