This whole issue of Aditi Restaurant in Mumbai actually got me thinking that why do we have to pay tax on entertainment, luxury or leisure ?
Is it because we are a poor nation and the ones who can afford entertainment should pay a tax?
Or is it just that Government considers the pleasure/entertainment a sin and like alcohol or tobacco it is also taxed heavily to deter people from having fun ?
Well you can smoke this highly dangerous cigarette, which we know will kill you, as long as you pay a heavy price for it and we will impose heavy Excise duty on it to make it expensive so that poor people who cannot afford cancer treatment may not smoke it.
But we are a democracy and we do not want to deprive poor people of their right to kill themselves so we will provide them with cheaper smoking devices such as beedi, gutka or hukka.
Quite recently, I reluctantly agreed to help in the paper work for a stand-up show I am doing with my fellow comedians (click on the link to buy tickets) BAR BOYS 3 *shamelessly promotes the event*
For this I was given the chore of getting an NOC from the Entertainment Commissioner's office. This real incident can be used word by word for a sitcom like office office. Me being Mussadi Lal the common man in that.
The guy dealing with this at the ETO office looked at the application typed in double space, triplicate and nodded his head as CID Chief Pradyuman. Kuchch to gadbad hai.
What is this program Haan ?
Sir its Stand-Up comedy show and we are doing this with an NGO so we are applying for the exemption in Entertainment Tax (ET).
He shook his head vigorously and informed me that only plays, puppet shows and classical arts are exempted from Entertainment Tax. Ye toh Comedy hai.
I asked the next logical question "Sir if there is comedy in a play, will it be exempted?"
This guy gave me a look as if he is going to Tax me for having a sense of humor and rejected my application and gave me a two page form, to be filled in duplicate and asked me to get the auditor's report for the said NGO for the last two years to get exemption.
Taking into consideration all the paperwork we might have to do we swallowed our pride and decided to pay the ET. Got the Demand Draft made and duly filled the form and attached all the relevant documents.
Now imagine this scenario. We WANT to pay the Tax. Government NEEDS the Tax. But when we actually go to PAY the tax they behave like Punjabi relatives at the weddings who will refuse to take Shagun three/four times before they finally take it making you feel like an idiot. Iski kya zaroorat thi hehehehehe.
At this ETO Commissioner's office they have successfully done away with all the signage so that you are forced to ask for direction and very cleverly they have managed to camouflage the important windows so that its not easy to find them. Here is some adventure thrown your way.
Like the actual window where the MAN is sitting has old furniture piled up against it and you have to use your imagination to know that there is a window.
This particular office being in Public Dealing has different Lunch Hours for different departments. So by the time you are done with one department and reach the next one, their lunch hour starts and this Domino effect continues till you reach final window and submit the Tax.
So the lesson learnt is that if you are funny you will be Taxed. If you are entertaining someone Or have used luxury Or leisure in any which way you will be Taxed.
So pay the price for being funny.