The Goods and Services Tax system, a new regime of single indirect tax structure across India, came into force from July 1, 2017. Although being touted as the biggest Indirect Tax reform since Independence, the creative fraternity especially the art sector of India have clearly taken a different standpoint for the GST law. Rajya Sabha MP and veteran artist Jogen Chowdhury, who is also the curator of the art collection in the Rashtrapati Bhavan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to exempt the artists and painters from the shackles of the 12% GST applicable on sale of their art.
According to Chowdhury, who is a big name in contemporary art and usually sells his paintings for around 8-10 lakh rupees, “The turnover of the holistic art fraternity has hardly snowballed till 500 crore rupees, which barely makes it a highly remunerating segment in the current economy. It is sad that government considers my creative art pieces as just some other goods/products. On what ground will we contend with China, where the regime is upbeat appreciating local art and its creators. The artists are already sharing profits with gallerists and curators and unlike the west, in India, living artist’s artworks are not highly appreciated, financially.”
Chowdhury suggests the double taxation is a blow to artists as they are already paying Income Tax on the overall sale of work and the GST is proving them to be an additional burden.
Unlike in West, living artists hardly make any money in Indian Market. Infact it is in a position that needs patronship and support from government. The added tax might become a deterrent for new buyers and collectors and further diminish the art market of living artists.
Let us wait and see how the goverment authorities respond to the call of art fraternity.
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