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Ministers’ Panel May Recommend 28% GST on Online Gaming

The panel of state finance ministers is likely to recommend a uniform GST levy of 28 percent on online gaming irrespective of whether it is a game of skill or a game of chance.

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Current Scenario:

Currently, online gaming attracts 18 percent GST. The tax is levied on gross gaming revenue, which is the fees charged by online gaming portals.

The Group of Ministers report is almost final and would be submitted to the GST Council soon for consideration. However, it is likely to suggest a revised formula for calculating the amount on which the Goods and Services Tax (GST) would be levied.

More About The Development:

The Group of Ministers (GoM), chaired by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, had in its earlier report submitted to the Council in June suggested a 28 percent GST on the full value of the consideration, including contest entry fee, paid by the player, without making a distinction such as games of skill or chance. However, the Council had asked the GoM to reconsider its report.

Following that the GoM took the views of the Attorney General and also met stakeholders from the online gaming industry. Although the GoM deliberated on separate definitions for ‘games of skill’ and ‘games of chance‘, it finally decided to tax both as demerit goods attracting a 28 percent GST.

Need Of This move:

The message has to be clear that online gaming is a demerit good. However, some relaxation in valuation methods could be provided. Online gaming witnessed a spurt during the time of the COVID-19 induced lockdown with the number of users in India rising substantially. As per a KPMG report, the online gaming sector would grow to Rs 29,000 crore by 2024-25 from Rs 13,600 crore in 2021.

Charging 28 percent GST on the entire amount, which a player deposits for a game for both categories of online game, would reduce the prize money left for distribution and drive away players from legitimate tax-deducting portals. This may also encourage online gamers towards unlawful portals that do not deduct tax, sector experts had said.

Slabs of GST:

Tax Rates Products
0.25% Cut and semi-polished stones are included under this tax slab.
5% Household necessities such as edible oil, sugar, spices, tea, and coffee (except instant) are included. Coal, Mishti/Mithai (Indian Sweets) and Life-saving drugs are also covered under this GST slab.
12% This includes computers and processed food
18% Hair oil, toothpaste and soaps, capital goods and industrial
intermediaries are covered in this slab.
28% Luxury items such as small cars, consumer durables like AC and Refrigerators, premium cars, cigarettes and aerated drinks, High-end motorcycles are included here.

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