Korean theaters willface a 3% tax levied on tickets starting July 1. The funds from the tax will beused to finance half of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism's '$4.3m-size' FilmIndustry Mid-to-long-term Development Plan, announced in October.

South Korea's National Assembly passed the Bill forthe Partial Amendment for the Promotion of Film and Video in late December,stating a tax to be levied on cinema tickets 'at the 3% level.' The bill willbe publicly announced in the first half of 2007 and put into effect July 1.

The Ministry of Culture& Tourism foresees that with a 3-5% tax levied from the second half of thisyear, the funding for the Development Plan will be completed by Dec 2014.

Initially, thegovernment offered the outlines of the development plan in January 2006, immediatelyfollowing its announcement of the Screen Quota cut from 146 to 73 days. Film-makersprotesting the cut have also been protesting the government's olive branchoffer of the support fund.

'While respectingthe filmmakers' intentions, we have to face the possibility that the situation[regarding the reinstatement of the quota] on the whole might not go as theywish, and we need a contingency plan in case the local industry doesn't fare aswell as it has been doing so far,' says Kim Hye-joon, Secretary General of theKorean Film Council (KOFIC).

'The ticket tax,as can be seen in France, is part of a process to treat theimbalance between commercial films and non-commercial films, and let themdevelop on more equal terms,' he says.

With concernsvoiced on who will shoulder the burden of the tax - exhibitors, film-makers, orcinema-goers, the Seoul Theater Owners' Association is threatening to contestthe tax as unconstitutional as a similar one abolished in 2005.