Ouch! Indian park operators appeal against new 28% tax rate

Indian amusement park operators have asked the government to revise a new uniform tax rate due to come into effect on July 1.

The GST (Goods and Services Tax) rate of 28% is to apply to amusement parks and sporting events under the nation’s new indirect tax regime. That puts such facilities on a par with racecourses and casinos. IAAPI, the Indian Association of Amusement Parks and Industries, has requested a revised rate of 18%.

“The government’s policy with regard to amusement parks under the GST is not favourable,” stresses IAAPI director Ajay Sarin.

Amusement parks as social infrastucture

“Categorising us alongside casinos, betting and racecourses is really unfortunate for an audience which caters to family entertainment and recreation,” IAAPI committee member Santokh Chawla is quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times. “[Our market] is a social infrastructure, which provides outdoor entertainment to children and youth, who are otherwise glued to gadgets and the digital world.”

The 18% figure sought by IAAPI is equivalent to the average pan-India tax paid by amusement parks. GST seeks to implement a new standard rate of tax across the country. The 28% rate would be one of the world’s highest rates of entertainment tax and clearly detrimental to park operators across the nation. Sarin goes further in proposing a tiered structure of taxation at parks and attractions based on ticket prices. Children would be taxed at just 5%, for example.

Image: Ajay Sarin addresses IAAPI Attractions Expo earlier this year in Mumbai. Courtesy IAAPI.

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