Actor Anushka Sharma has approached the court against what she believes is an inflated tax notice.
The actor has gone to the Bombay High Court challenging two orders passed by the deputy commissioner of Sales Tax on dues for 2012-13 and 2013-14.
Judges Nitin Jamdar and Abhay Ahuja today directed the sales tax department to respond to her appeal. They will take up the case next on February 6.
Anushka Sharma has urged the court to cancel the Sales Tax department’s order, arguing that she should be taxed as a performer. She believes that tax officials have assessed her at a higher rate than would apply to an actor or performer.
The actor has filed four petitions between 2012 and 2016. She filed fresh petitions last week after the High Court in December refused to entertain her tax consultant’s plea challenging the tax orders.
There was “no reason why the affected person (Anushka) could not file the petitions herself”, the High Court noted.
Anushka Sharma argues that she performed in films and at award ceremonies as a performer as part of a tri-party agreement with her agent, Yashraj Films, and the producers and event organisers.
She was, however, taxed not as a film actor but on product endorsements and for anchoring award functions, she pointed out. The appeals said the tax department assumed that she had transferred her performer’s rights.
She was asked to pay Rs 1.2 crore in 2012-13 and the next year, she received a notice for Rs 1.6 crore.
Her petition said the assessing officer had erroneously held that by endorsing products and attending award functions, she had acquired copyrights and sold them.
The copyrights of videos always remain with the producer, who owns them, the petition points out.
“Unless it is established that there is a sale of goods (tangible or intangible), sales tax cannot be levied,” the actor said.
An actor who has performed a role in a movie cannot be called a creator or producer of the film and so, does not own copyrights of the film, Anushka Sharma said.
If the Sales Tax department believes she has transferred her performer’s rights, then it must mention to whom she has sold the rights, the pleas said.
“Performer’s rights are to protect the interests of the actor and are not for transfer or sale,” the actor said in her pleas.
She also said she couldn’t have filed an appeal before the appellate authority unless 10 per cent of the disputed tax was paid.
Anushka Sharma, who is married to cricketer Virat Kohli, is known for films like ‘PK’, ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’, ‘Sultan’ and ‘Zero’, among others.