Maharashtra: Indian Gamers’ United oppose 28% GST on full face value

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Several gamers from different cities in Maharashtra have come together to form ‘Indian Gamers United’, opposing the recent changes in GST for online gaming. The gamers have demanded to change the 28 per cent GST on online games, which brings it on par with gambling.

Many of the gamers lined up at RBI Square, Nagpur, for a peaceful demonstration. These gamers were reportedly carrying banners and slogans to gain traction from policymakers urging them to make the tax rate more friendly for online gaming.

Indian Gamers United, whose members also protested in Rajasthan, has even addressed a letter to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman claiming that the government does not hear their voice despite most of the gamers from a total of over 400 million, coming from small towns.

The letter also reveals how many of that gamers play games in their free time not only as a hobby but also with the aim of earning a livelihood. According to what they read on the news, the new GST rate will effectively increase tax by over 1000 per cent.

The gamers also gave an example of how Tirth Mehta, India’s first winner of a medal at the Asian Games in the esports category, was also from Bhuj in Gujarat.

It seems that the gamers still do not have clarity, much like others, on what games will actually be taxed. After announcing the GST rate increase for online gaming, the government clarified that the tax rate is only increased for online ‘real money’ games.

Only games with a wagering aspect will be taxed at 28 per cent GST on total face value. All other forms of gaming, like esports, casual gaming, and single-player offline games, are still taxed at 18 per cent GST.

While the tax rate will not affect the aforementioned player base, the players playing real money games will have to pay extra tax on their winnings. Revenue secretary Sanjay Malhotra have clarified that the move was necessary as the government cannot impose a tax rate on real money games similar to or lower than essential commodities like food.

He also clarified that while the real money gaming sector generate the most revenue, it will not affect the entire gaming industry as the RMG sector is only a part of the entire gaming industry, which will have ample opportunity to grow.