Want to see your favourite daily soap without any interruption, then contact you cable operator to stop evading taxes. The Delhi government has started a crackdown on cable operators who have been evading taxes by concealing the number of connections. The department of excise and entertainment tax has issued notices to nearly 1,000 of 2,200 operators in the city asking them to pay up else their services will be blocked.
According to an official, "It is after all households with a cable connection switched to set-top boxes that we could estimate the number of connections managed by cable operators. We have issued notices to them. If they do not respond, we will be forced to black them out. Every cable operator has to pay Rs.20 per connection as tax. However, the government has not been able to monitor them due to their large number and scattered presence. At many places, cable operators offer connections at cheaper rates as they do not pay taxes. For instance, though the average cost of a cable connection after digitisation comes to about Rs.250, such connections are available for as less as Rs100 in some areas.
The government is also planning to make multi-system operators (MSOs) providing services to both cable operators and users responsible for collection and payment of tax from April. The process is likely to take two to three months. According to 2011 census, Delhi has 33.41 lakh households with 88 per cent TV penetration, which implies that about 29 lakh households have TV connections.
Though the entertainment tax collection in 2012-13 has nearly doubled as compared to the target due to better performance of films and entry of DTH operators, direct tax collected from cable operators has seen a slight decline.The government has collected nearly Rs.121 crore against a target of Rs.67 crore this year. Of this, nearly Rs.30 crore has been collected from cable operators. This collection last year was nearly Rs.33 crore.