Chennai: The Madras High Court has granted an interim stay till 4th March 2020 on an order passed by a Commissioner of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Central Excise on October 17 against music composer A.R. Rahman.
The Service Tax authority has accused composer AR Rahman of having evaded service tax payments from April 2013 to June 2017 amounting to Rs 6.79 crores. The Commissioner of GST and CE further levied a penalty of Rs 6.79 on him. The Commissioner of GST and CE (Chennai South), K.M. Ravichandran had stated that the composer had evaded taxes on payments received by him.
The order concluded that except for payments received directly by the composer in foreign currency for concerts organized abroad, all of his services including composing music for movies, royalties for public performances of his compositions and live concerts across the country were subject to service tax.
AR Rahman challenged this order before the Madras HC contesting that according to the Copyright Act, he was the sole owner of all his compositions. As per his agreement with the producers of the films that he had composed music for, the ownership of the compositions were transferred to the producers.
Moreover, citing a notification issued by the Centre on 20th June 2012, A R Rahman stated that the transfer of rights is not liable to be taxed. He further contested that temporary transfer of copyright was exempt from service tax.