GST GoM firm on 28% tax rate, weekend meeting inconclusive on valuation

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The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council’s Group of Ministers (GoM) met on two consecutive days – Saturday and Sunday to finalise the views on GST rate. The GoM met representatives from horse racing and online gaming sectors in Bengaluru on Saturday and casino sector executives on Sunday in Goa. The GoM visited turf facilities in Bengaluru to understand the functioning.

As per reports, the GoM gave an in-principle approval for 28 percent tax on the bet value in casinos. However, the meeting was inconclusive on the valuation aspect.

GoM is likely to submit its final report soon with a meeting scheduled next week. It is worth noting that the GoM members from Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana and West Bengal did not attend this meeting.

The GoM, in its first report, submitted last month has recommended that in the case of online gaming, the activities should be taxed at 28% on the full value of the consideration, by whatever name such consideration may be called, including contest entry fee, paid by the player for participation in such games without making a distinction such as games of skill or chance etc.

However, a re-examination was necessitated after Goa in the GST Council raised issues on the valuation of supplies in casinos.

The finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in press briefing said the GoM has been given time till July 15 to study and submit a fresh report. The timeline was subsequently extended till August 10.

In an earlier meeting on July 12, the GOM sought a report from the law department on the Games of Skill aspect in case of the race course and online gaming. The industry has represented that online gaming which is held to be a game of skill cannot be equated with gambling.

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