CIT vs. Bougainvillea Multiplex Entertainment (Delhi High Court)

DATE: January 30, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 2, 2015 (Date of publication)
AY: 2006-07
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Entertainment tax subsidy is a capital receipt even though the source is the public who visit the cinema hall after it becomes operational

(i) The UP Scheme under which the assessee claims exemption to the extent of entertainment tax subsidy, claiming it to be capital receipt, is clearly designed to promote the investors in the cinema industry encouraging establishment of new multiplexes. A subsidy of such nature cannot possibly be granted by the Government directly. Entertainment tax is leviable on the admission tickets to cinema halls only after the facility becomes operational. Since the source of the subsidy is the public at large which is to be attracted as viewers to the cinema halls, the funds to support such an incentive cannot be generated until and unless the cinema halls become functional.

(ii) The State Government had offered 100% tax exemptions for the first three years reduced to 75% in the remaining two years. Thus, the amount of subsidy earned would depend on the extent of viewership the cinema hall is able to attract. After all, the collections of entertainment tax would correspond to the number of admission tickets sold. Since the maximum amount of subsidy made available is subject to the ceiling equivalent to the amount invested by the assessee in the construction of the multiplex as also the actual cost incurred in arranging the requisite equipment installed therein, it naturally follows that the purpose is to assist the entrepreneur in meeting the expenditure incurred on such accounts. Given the uncertainties of a business of this nature, it is also possible that a multiplex owner may not be able to muster enough viewership to recover all his investments in the five year period. 34. Seen in the above light, we are of the considered view that it was unreasonable on the part of the Assessing Officer to decline the claim of the assessee about the subsidy being capital receipt. Such a subsidy by its very nature, was bound to come in the hands of the assessee after the cinema hall had become functional and definitely not before the commencement of production. Since the purpose was to offset the expenditure incurred in setting up of the project, such receipt (subject, of course, to the cap of amount and period under the scheme) could not have been treated as assistance for the purposes of trade.

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