Private television companies, which pass off as foreign telecasting companies (FTC), soon may have to pay much more in taxes. The Budget session of Parliament is expected to come out with a rational taxation systems for FTCs to bring them on par with the domestic telecasting companies.
The government is working on ending the discrimination, as 90 per cent of the television broadcasters operating from the country are misusing the “presumptive profit provision”. Expect four to five Southern TV channels, all the domestic TV channels are enlisted as FTC so that they can take advantage of the special provision granted to FTCs.
Among the broadcasters registered as FTCs and working in the country through their Indian agents are Asia Today (Zee Telefilms), Satellite Television Asian Region Advertising Sales BV (News Television India Ltd. or Star), Sony Entertainment Television Singapore (SET India), Discovery Channel (Discovery Communications India), ESPN Asia (WD India Pvt. Ltd.), MTV (MTV India), TVM Ltd., (TV India), BBC Worldwide (BBC Worldwide India) and Television India Mauritius (Eighteen Entertainment India Pvt. Ltd.).
Going by a recent ministry estimate, these FTCs have paid a total of only Rs 71.12 crore as income tax during the past four assessment years. This is due to the presumptive method of calculating the profit and the income tax for FTCs.