Ireland to be Hit by Betting Tax Increase
by Glenn Baird - October 15, 2018
As of January next year new tax levies will be introduced in Ireland that will increase the amount paid on turnover and commissions. The increase has worried Irish bookmakers so much that the Irish Bookmakers Association have called an emergency meeting.
The big fear is the impact that this could have on smaller, more independent businesses, who may well struggle to turn a reasonable profit when then changes come into place next year.
Last week, the Irish Government turned speculation into reality when they released their proposed budgets for next year, confirming that the gambling would be looking at paying significant tax increases.
Betting tax will rise from 1% to 2% in Ireland in 2019, with duty on commissions earned by betting exchanges increasing from 15% to 25%.
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe announced that :
“In the area of betting, the Government’s priority has been to level the playing field by extending the tax to remote (online) bookmakers and exchanges.
“This was achieved in 2015 and I believe it is timely to increase the tax from 1% to 2% on amounts wagered in the state. In addition, betting duty on the commissions earned by intermediaries, or exchanges, will increase from 15% to 25%.”
It is estimated that these increases will raise more than 50 million Euros for the Irish government during 2019.
The changes see Ireland reverting to levels of taxation that existed prior to 2006 when the current level of 1% was introduced.
Opposition politician Minster Donohoe Pearse Doherty has aside concerns that this will impact heavily on smaller businesses:
“Big operators will absorb the increases, while high street betting offices are put to the wall. What should have been done is an increase to 3%, paid for by punter – that’s how you ensure big operators can’t put the small independents to the wall.”
A point echoed by Alan Heuston, former director of tax with Paddy Power Betfair and current member of McCann Fitzgerald Tax Group, who stated that:
“This increase in the rate of turnover tax will be particularly damaging to the retail sector, particularly for small to medium enterprises.
“We’ve already seen a drop in the number of licensed retail premises but this increase may result in further consolidation and closures and subsequently, job losses and a loss of tax to the exchequer. Therefore, the proposed increase in exchequer funding of €50m may very well be a lot less as a result of the impact on businesses.”
Chair-person of the Irish Bookmakers Association, Sharon Byrne said:
“200 of our 650 retailers survived the recession, and those 200, who have fought so hard to stay in business, will now have to make a decision.”
“This is a 2% tax on turnover, not profits. They cannot trade under that burden, so unless we can get the government to do something to assist our smaller guys, they will cease business on January 2nd. We have called an emergency meeting for Friday morning to see what we can do about our smaller guys, but I honestly don’t know if we can help.”