GST: Panel of ministers unanimous on 28% GST on casinos, online gambling and horse racing: West Bengal FM Chandrima Bhattacharya

The panel of state finance ministers is unanimous in raising the GST rate on casinos, racetracks and online gambling services to 28%, West Bengal Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya said on Monday. However, a decision on whether tax should be levied on the gross or net assessment would be made after further deliberation at officer level.

The Group of Ministers (GoM) will decide on the method of evaluating the services.

Currently, casino, horse racing and online gaming services are subject to 18% GST (goods and services tax).

The government had in May last year set up a group of ministers of state for better assessment of the services of casinos, online gambling portals and racetracks for the collection of GST.

The GoM, led by Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Conrad Sangma, met on Monday and discussed the GST rate applicable to these three services.

“There was a clear consensus that the highest rate of 28% should be taken from all three services – casino, racetrack and online gaming.

“The committee of officers will continue its deliberations and report back within 10 days on whether the tax will be levied on the gross or net value, after which the GoM will meet again and take a call,” Bhattarcharya said.

She said GoM’s decision would take into account companies involved in these services, society and other stakeholders.

The GoM report is expected to be discussed at the next GST Council meeting scheduled for later this month.

Other Ministers of State in the 8-member GoM include Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Gujarat Finance Minister Kanubhai Patel, Goa Panchayati Minister Raj Mauvin Godinho, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister P Thiaga Rajan, Uttar Pradesh Finance Minister Suresh Khanna and Telangana Finance Minister T Harish Rao.

Rajat Mohan, senior partner at AMRG & Associates, said the valuation of services for online gaming, horse racing and casinos was a subject of frequent litigation and harassment for the industry.

“Hopefully, future tax rules will stop the multiple interpretations attributed by tax offices across the country and bring taxation in line with global best practices allowing the industry to thrive,” Mohan added.


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