Anushka Sharma moves HC to challenge tax dept orders

Anushka Sharma has moved Bombay High Court to challenge two orders passed by the Sales Tax department raising dues for 2012-13 and 2013-14 assessment under the Maharashtra Value Added Tax Act.

The division bench directed the sales tax department to respond to her pleas and informed that the case will be heard on 6 February. Sharma urged the court to quash and set aside the orders passed by the Sales Tax department.

Last week, she filed four petitions for the assessment years 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. Earlier in December 2022, the HC refused to entertain a petition filed by Sharma’s taxation consultant Shrikant Velekar challenging the Sales Tax department orders. It said that there is no reason why the complainant could not file the petitions herself. 

According to Sharma’s petitions, she performed in films and at award ceremonies as a performer as part of a tri-party agreement with her agent, Yashraj Films Pvt Ltd and producers/event organisers. The assessing officer levied sales tax not on film consideration but on product endorsements and anchoring at award functions holding that Sharma had transferred her performer’s rights, the pleas said. 

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

The actor in her petitions said there was no provision to file an appeal before the appellate authority unless 10 per cent of the disputed tax is paid. The assessing officer had erroneously held that by endorsing products and remaining present at award functions, she had acquired copyrights and sold/transferred the same, the petitions said. 

The pleas contended that the copyrights of videos always remain with the producer who is the owner of the same. “Unless it is established that there is sale of goods (tangible or intangible), sales tax cannot be levied,” the pleas said. 

Sharma said an actor who has performed a role in a movie cannot be called a creator or producer of the film and hence does not own copyrights of the film. \

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