Delhi High Court today restrained Delhi Government from taking any coercive steps till April 8 against GMR Sports Pvt Ltd, owner of IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils, which has been slapped a demand notice for payment of entertainment tax for the upcoming T-20 matches.
The order was passed by a bench of justices S Muralidhar and Siddharth Mridul on GMR’s application seeking stay of a April 1 demand notice for entertainment tax at the rate of 15 per cent on sponsorship receipts and submitting details of sponsors along with the copies of signed agreements in respect of the matches to be played here by Delhi Daredevils (DD).
“Till the next date, respondents (Commissioner of Excise, Entertainment and Luxury Tax, Delhi government) are restrained from acting in terms of the communication dated April 1, 2016,” the bench said and posted the matter for hearing on April 8.
The bench, which also issued notice to Delhi government and others, said since the matter was pending consideration before a regular bench, hence GMR’s application would be heard along with it.
In its application, GMR has also sought directions to the respondents “not to withhold its application on the basis of non-payment of tax on sponsorship and non-submission of details of sponsors in respect of the matches to be played by DD in IPL 2016 till the final disposal of the petition.”
It has also sought direction to the authorities not to take any coercive action against it on this issue.
During the hearing, senior advocate Amit Sibal, appearing for GMR, told the bench that they cannot sell tickets for the upcoming IPL matches unless they get prior permission from the concerned authorities.
“We pay tax for every seat whether it is full or vacant,” he said.
In its application, GMR said that for holding IPL matches for the 2016 season, they had sought permission to sell the tickets for the first match scheduled to be held on April 15 and also for booking of tickets for all the five matches.
It said that in response, it had received a letter on April 1 from entertainment tax officer asking it to deposit the tax at the rate of 15 per cent on tickets as well as on sponsorship receipts and details of sponsors along with copies of agreements signed with each sponsor for processing its case for grant of permission.
GMR claimed that entertainment tax officer has raised the demand in pursuance to Delhi government’s notification whose “legality and validity” has already been challenged.
It said in April 2014, they had approached the high court for stay of a demand notice of April 11, 2014 for payment of 15 per cent tax on sponsorship received or receivable with relation to IPL 2014 to be played by Delhi Daredevils here.
It also said that the court had granted stay on the demand letter and it had to again approach the court seeking stay on the notices of July 15, 2014 and August 16, 2014 in which it was asked to furnish details of the sponsorship and copy of agreements signed with sponsors.
GMR contended that under similar circumstances, the high court in its April 16, 2014 order had stayed the operation of demand letter seeking 15 per cent tax on sponsorship receipts.
It claimed again they had moved the court seeking stay on the March 23, 2015 notice seeking deposit of entertainment tax at 15 per cent on the sponsorship receipts and details of sponsors and copy of agreement for IPL 2015 and the court had then directed that GMR shall not be required to deposit the entertainment tax and submit these documents.