Business News of Friday, 1 December 2017
The National Lottery Authority (NLA) has stated that its intention to scrap taxes on all lotto winnings in the country is an attempt to attract more mainstream operators.
According to the Director-General of the NLA, Mr. Kofi Osei Ameyaw, a growing number of licensed lotto operators are drifting away from serving the NLA as a move to escape mandatory fulfilment of taxes required of them.
“The illegal lottery operators who previously had the advantage of a tax-free regime and so those who were actually selling lottery for the country having to bear the brunt of payment of seven and half percent tax were shifting to the illegal lottery business”.
“Now that that tax is out of the way we expect all of them to come back and work for the government”, he said.
The Mahama administration imposed a five percent tax on all lotto winnings exceeding GHS2,592 following a re-classification of lotto as an investment activity but, this step seems to have averted governments revenue as a result of the overwhelming number of tax-free operators who attract clients that fail to pay taxes on their winnings.
However, Mr. osei Ameyaw has indicated that the scrapping of taxes paid by lotto winners has been necessitated to attract clients to governments side and boost the lottery business in the country.
“Similarly those who were afraid of paying taxes when they win and for that matter were headed to the illegal lottery business where they do not pay any withholding tax on the wins are now free to stake with the government, which means, we have then opened the system to bring in all those who were under cover or were doing business under the table to come out openly and do business with government.
He also disclosed government’s plans to license more operators who wish to work for the lottery commission aside about 2,000 operators who have been already registered.
“We have registered in Greater Accra alone over 2,000 B2B who are seeking to be licensed, so we are going to look at the modalities of the license and that I cannot do by myself, it has to be done by the board and the board is going to sit very soon and do that”.
A Deputy Minister of Finance, Kwaku Kwarteng on Wednesday, 29 November 2017 laid the Value Added Tax (Amendment) (N0.2) Bill, 2017 on the floor of Parliament to remove the tax.
Apart from the lotto bill, other bills including the National Fiscal Stabilisation (Amendment) Bill, 2017, Special Import Levy (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2017 and Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Bill, 2017 were also laid.