“BCCI will have to pay service tax for recording and telecasting matches”: Supreme Court.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will have to pay service tax for recording the cricket match which is used for live telecast by the contracting sports channels as the Supreme Court of India on the last Wednesday dismissed the plea and thereby challenging the levying of the service tax on it.
If it (as in this case, recording of match for live telecast) is not a matter of service tax then what it can be?, questioned the apex court bench of Chief Justice HL Dattu and Justice AK Sikri as BCCI counsel sought to assail the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) order upholding the levying of service tax the last day. The Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT), while upholding the levying of the service tax to the tune of Rs. 18 crores for the period from the year 2006 to the year 2010, had said recording of match for live telecast was a production activity and falls under the vices and prejudices of customs and tax levy. The CESTAT order was passed on in the last year, on August 28th, 2014. The cricketing body argued that merely recording a match was not part of production of a programme, and could not be included as an act attracting service tax. It argued that camerapersons deployed just recorded the matches and this could not be described as production. But the court did not agree with the cricketing body’s arguments.
Whatever BCCI does in India is a kind of service and can be legitimately enlisted under terms and conditions of services. One can have any number of cameras at any number of desired places, the court observed while rejecting the plea made by the BCCI counsel trying to impress upon the court that it was just the recording of the match and could not be described as a production activity, if the aforesaid trusted reports from reputed and august sources are to be given a firm belief. Declining the plea by the apex cricketing body, the court said “recording is also an art as billions and billions of people are watching it”.
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