Anushka Sharma appeals the High Court to overturn orders from the Sales Tax under the Maha VAT Act

The actress claimed in her petitions that unless 10% of the disputed tax is paid, there is no provision for filing an appeal before the appellate authority.

Actress Anushka Sharma filed a petition with the Bombay High Court to challenge two decisions made by the deputy commissioner of Sales Tax that increased the amount of tax owed for the assessment years of 2012–2013 and 2013–2014 under the Maharashtra Value Added Tax Act. 

On Thursday, a division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Abhay Ahuja ordered the sales tax department to address her concerns and scheduled a follow-up hearing for February 6. Anushka Sharma has asked the court to reverse and annul the decisions made by the Sales Tax department. For the evaluation years 2012–2013, 2013–2014, 2014–2015, and 2015–2016, she has submitted four petitions. 

Advertisement

After the High Court in December 2022 declined to hear a challenge filed by Sharma’s tax advisor Shrikant Velekar disputing the directives of the Sales Tax department, the actor filed the applications last week.

The HC had then stated that there was no justification for Anushka, the affected party, being unable to submit the petitions on her own. 

In accordance with Sharma’s petitions, she entered into a tri-party agreement with her agent, Yashraj Films Pvt Ltd, and producers/event organisers to act in films and at award ceremonies as a performer. 

According to the petitions, the assessing officer claimed that Sharma had transferred her performer’s rights and assessed sales tax not on film consideration but rather on commercial endorsements and hosting award ceremonies.

The sales tax demand, including interest, was Rs 1.2 crore for the fiscal year 2012–13 on a consideration of Rs 12.3 crore, and it was Rs 1.6 crore for the fiscal year 2013–14 on approximately Rs 17 crore. The orders were approved by the sales tax division between 2021 and 2022. 

The performer claimed in her petitions that unless 10% of the disputed tax is paid, there is no provision for filing an appeal before the appellate body. The petitions claimed that the assessing officer had incorrectly determined that she had acquired copyrights and sold or transferred them through promoting products and attending award ceremonies. 

The arguments argued that the producer, who is the owner of the videos, always retains the copyrights. Sales tax cannot be imposed, the petitioners said, unless it is proven that tangible or intangible products have actually been sold. According to Sharma, an actor who has played a part in a movie cannot be referred to as the originator or producer of the movie and does not, therefore, possess the copyrights to the movie.

According to the petitions, “the topic of transferring/selling the same to any other person or producer does not arise” because actors do not own any copyright in the movie. The arguments argued that if Sharma has transferred her performer’s rights in accordance with the Sales Tax department, then it should be made clear to whoever she has done so. 

In her pleadings, the actor stated that her rights were there to “defend the actor’s interests and are not for transfer or sale.” In addition to others, Anushka Sharma is well-known for her work in the movies PK, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Sultan, and Zero.