Easy Office
LCI Learning

What Taxes do Indian Players Have to Pay on Gambling Winnings?

Shivani , Last updated: 17 May 2024  
  Share


Depending on where you are in the world, you may find that you have to pay taxes when you gamble and win. Knowing if this is the case is essential, because, if you don't declare your entire taxable income, you could be in a lot of trouble. Unfortunately for Indian players, the Indian Income Tax Act does indeed list gambling winnings as income and subsequently subject to being taxed. For Indians, this actually covers everything from referral bonuses, to general bonuses and, of course, your winnings. But how does it all work?

How your winnings are taxed

In India, the process is quite simple. As the player, there's not much for you to do as any taxes are taken at the source. This simply means that the payer (i.e. the gambling site), will have the tax removed before the net winnings are paid out to you. However, you, as the online gamer, still need to declare your winnings to your income tax returns. This should be done under the section labelled 'Income from other sources'.

What Taxes do Indian Players Have to Pay on Gambling Winnings

It doesn't matter what type of games you're playing online, tax applies to games of both chance and skill, virtual games or those found in a live casino. Winnings in the form of coins, vouchers, coupons, merchandise and so on, are also taxable at their market value, so it's essential that all of this is accounted for to avoid any disputes.

As of April 2023, new regulations have also come into place. These state that online gambling sites must deduct 30% tax before they can release the winnings to the player if the winnings are greater than INR 100. The tax will then be calculated based on the net winnings of the player using the difference between the withdrawn amount and the amount the user deposited into their account to play with.

Are there any exceptions?

Currently, at this time it does not appear that any exceptions are in place. Many question whether there will be an offset of losses allowed for in the gambling industry i.e., losing on one game impacting the profits made on another. It would be expected that losses on one game would mean adjusting the tax on profits from another game, but this does not appear to be the case.

Additionally, the Act specifies certain amounts are not deductible when calculating the income tax amount and this includes deducting expenditures while gaming online. According to Section 58(4) of the Act, expenditure or allowances related to income from lotteries, puzzles, card games, races or any other betting games cannot be deducted when calculating your final tax amount.

 

However, there is no specific prohibition under the Act to set off losses in a specific game against income from other sources. Of course, this is still up in the air and with Indian tax laws so strict. It might not be worth it in the long run if you get chased up for additional tax.

Offshore gambling sites and tax

If you thought that playing at an offshore casino or betting site would help you bypass being taxed in India, think again. The new amendments integrated into the IGST Act make sure this is also covered. Now, it's mandatory for all offshore gaming sites to register in India and to pay 28% in tax. This is collected on the full bet value. Any offshore or overseas sites that fail to meet these requirements will be blocked preventing easy access to them by players.

Professional gamblers and taxes

Just like any player in Indian, professional gamblers are required to pay tax. In fact, there is no difference regarding whether you're a casual gamer or doing it professionally - you will be taxed the same amount.

Impacts on the Indian gambling market

With such high taxes comes the concern that this will simply kill the gambling industry within the country. Adding this tax will make it harder for businesses to survive within the industry. In turn, this would cause many players to simply move to offshore or unlicensed operators in order to play. As such, it will be detrimental to the future of Indian gambling. While complaints have been levied toward this move, it looks like there's going to be no backing down from the Indian government who maintain a stance that gambling should be taxed at the highest amount. Given this is a multi-billion dollar industry, and one that could greatly aid India's economy, it's rather at odds to antagonize those who could help the country benefit. It remains to be seen if further amendments will be made.

 

Final thoughts

Though many resent these tax requirements, they are law. If you fail to declare any winnings, then you could be held accountable and face penalties. Given the fact that some gambling sites are already being accused of not paying back taxes, accurately reporting your winnings is key right now.

Join CCI Pro

Published by

Shivani
(Finance Professional)
Category Miscellaneous   Report

  73 Views

Comments


Related Articles


Loading