High court put stay on notice sent to A R Rahman

The music composer A.R.Rahman was accused of evaded Goods and Service tax payments from April 2013 to June 2017 amounts approximately ₹6.79 crores. Over this, Commissioner of GST and Central Excise levied a penalty of ₹6.79 on the musician. Rahman had challenged this order, which was passed in October, 2020, in a writ petition.

As per the officials, Rahman had accused of evading taxes on payments received by him. The said order concluded that, except for payments received directly by the composer in foreign currency for concerts organized across abroad, all of his services including composing music for movies, royalties for public performances of his compositions and live concerts across the country, are subject to Goods and Services Tax. 

Rahman challenged this order u/s 13(1)(a) of the Copyright Act of 1957. He contested that he was the sole owner of all his compositions. He also added that as per the agreement with the producers of the film’s, he had composed music for the ownership of the compositions which were ultimately transferred to the producers of the films. According to Rahman, the said transfer of rights is not liable to be taxed. He also contested that temporary transfer of copyright is exempt from service tax, as per notification issued by the Centre on 20th June 2012.

Over this issue, as of now, the Madras High Court granted an interim stay on an order passed by a Commissioner of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Central Excise against music composer A.R. Rahman till 4th March 2020.

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