Parliament paves way for 28% GST on online gaming

Syllabus: Government Budgeting.

Context

Parliament on Friday cleared amendments to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) laws to facilitate the levy of 28% GST on the face value of all bets made in casinos, horse-racing and online gaming.

Approval done

  • Approved by the GST Council earlier this month, the legislative changes, moved through the Integrated GST (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Central GST (Amendment) Bill, 2023, include a provision that makes it mandatory for offshore online money gaming firms providing services to Indian users to register in India and pay taxes or face blockages.
  • While the Council had approved a 28% GST levy on wagers made in these sectors at its meeting in July 11, it was reconvened on August 2 to review the move in light of representations from industry and the Electronics and IT Ministry that is in charge of the e-gaming policy.
  • The Council decided to stick to its decision despite dissent from States like Sikkim and Goa that wanted the tax to be levied on gross gaming revenues as is the current practice, rather than the face value of bets. It, however, clarified that earnings from bets would not face repeat taxation.

Amendments to the Central GST law include definitions for online gaming, online money gaming, specified actionable claim and virtual digital assets. Schedule III of the Act will be amended to include “specified actionable claim” so as to provide “clarity regarding taxability of actionable claims involved in or by way of casinos, horse racing and online gaming”, the Bill’s statement of objects and reasons noted.

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