DJs, event organisers outraged over perceived ‘tax’

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Social media heated up over the weekend as local disc jockeys (DJs) and organisers of events expressed their outrage on social media over what they referred to as a “tax” being imposed by the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation (ECCO).

Social media posts alerted OBSERVER media to the aforementioned bone of contention, which in actuality, amounted to a copyright royalty.

The social media posts purported that event organisers were being charged an additional 5 per cent to be paid to the person with copyright ownership to songs being played at their events.

Parts of one popular event organiser’s post read: “We just agreed to Entertainment Tax Inland Revenue … Where are we supposed to find this unexpected 5% from? What is wrong with ECCO?”

He continued by alluding to the high risks, unpredictability and difficulties involved in putting on an event.

Evidently outraged, the event organiser ended his post thus: “This is Antigua! Where you are penalised for success or the idea of being successful; more TAX again ECCO I’m sorry but your 5% is something we cannot afford! We cannot raise our ticket prices on our patrons we have already absorbed the entertainment tax! It’s soon time to be done with this.”

OBSERVER media has learned from a credible source that this charge is not being instituted by the government, but by the regional body, ECCO, instead.

ECCO is approaching promoters to inform them about this copyright tariff in order to enforce the law which was already in place but not being adhered to nor enforced.

In response to this, another infuriated DJ said, “From today … no one ask me to share their song, work, event or nothing, take advantage of someone else, me tired, this ECCO thing is a different kinda messed up of people who just a target people who trying to do better, and I’m glad it happened so I can know who’s for me.”

Before this latest development with ECCO, it was just in January this year that Antigua and Barbuda re-introduced an entertainment tax where event promoters have to pay taxes on their ticket sales.

The tax will see events which make between zero to $100,000 paying a flat fee of $1,500 while all-inclusive events making more than $100,000 will pay a 2 percent tax.

A 4 percent tax will apply on all events that are not all-inclusive and grossing over $100,000.

Since then ticket costs for most events have seen a noticeable increase — hence the reason why event organisers are infuriated by the stipulation that they now have to fork out a copyright tariff.

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