Feb. 19 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is to go ahead with a controversial plan to tax imported film and television programs, which may result in the entertainment of minority language speakers of the island being heavily taxed to support programs produced in the majority language.
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Imported movies would be taxed at the rate of Rs75, 000 (US$ 750) from April this year while television dramas and sitcoms would be taxed at the same rate, for blocks of five, half-hour programs.
Proposed in this year’s budget, the Treasury is still working out the fine print.
The tax is likely to be on imports, and not for repeat broadcasts. It also covers only imports for television and will exempt some categories like educational programs.
“We will certainly be imposing the tax on foreign films, but only after having full consultations with all stakeholders,” R T L Weerasinghe, Senior Tax Advisor at the Treasury and former Commissioner of Inland Revenue, told LBO on Friday.
“We are still having discussions on how to impose the tax, on exemptions and legal documentation that is needed. We hope to finalise it by the end of February to implement by April.”