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Editorial: What does the abolition of the excise tax mean about cinema?

what does excise tax mean

cinepivates August 17, 2015 0

By Tyler Durden

Even the greek Finance Minister admitted that the abolition of the excise tax in the cinema tickets is unfair and a comprehensive cultural policy is required.

In the cinema field the first signs of the new government were encouraging. There were initiatives to attract foreign producers, people who had knowledge and passion took the key positions in the Greek Film Center (GFC) and the Deputy Minister of Culture promised to let them just do their job.

How can that be, though, when you manage a lethal blow to the production?

The blow that we are talking about, came unexpectedly through the deal between Greece and its creditors, with a decision to repeal the excise tax on cinema tickets. This tax does not go to third parties (exhibitors or distributors), but in production itself and constitutes an essential source of oxygen at a cinema that suffocates financially, but not artistically.

Because, although Geroulanos’ law states that television channels should give a certain amount of their advertising revenues in film production, in practice that has not been done. The result; Any proceeds the Greek Film Centre had (which in turn financed the movies) could until now come either from the Ministry of Culture, or the special tax on cinema tickets.

This is not a parafiscal charge, then, but a tax that almost entirely supports the Greek production.

Geroulanos’ law states: “The price of tickets for cinemas operating in cities with more than ten thousand inhabitants, where excise tax is 8% allocated to the development of film art. For the region of Attica and Thessaloniki this percentage is 12%. The above rates are reduced by 50% for outdoor cinemas.”  80% of this tax goes to the Greek

Film Center (and then to the greek films), while 20% goes to the ministry for cultural policies to the cinema sector.

The greek state has huge financial problems, and one can easily understand that money does not exist. Not only for culture, but also for education, health or social structures. The resources that remain are sponsorships, grants from the EU or other bodies, the unenforceable Geroulanos’ law about the TV station and any proceeds from Greek films.

What does, however, in reality means the abolition of the special tax?

The little money that the Greek Film Centre gave to filmmakers will decrease dramatically and the directors will have to seek private funding -which might not be so easy.

Even if the director succeeds in finding private funding, the money from the Greek film Center, as little as it may have been, were valuable for films like Attenberg or Hora Proelefsis .

What is needed is the immediate implementation of the 1.5% of advertising revenues from television stations, a different policy on cinema, alternative resources and restoration of the excise tax.

From the money we pay in movie tickets, this 8% was probably the only thing worth paying…

Or as the general director of the GFC, Gregory Karantinakis, said: “In these difficult times for the flowering of visions, in the International Festival of Locarno, greek cinema continues to exist. It looks oxymoron that there are practices for the notorious attracting foreign producers, because the state recognizes the development potential of cinema, and on the other hand to repeal the exchise tax in tickets, which is NOT state money, but money from people who love cinema, and is the oxygen of Greek cinema policy. A kind of “happy death””.

Category: Taxes

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