Gamblers to pay tax, as FIRS commences on-the-spot deductions

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has disclosed the commencement of tax deductions at online betting transaction sites. This was announced on Wednesday in Abuja by Mr. Johannes Wojuola, the Special Assistant on Media and Communication to Executive Chairman of FIRS, Malam Muhammad Nami.

According to him, the Sentinal National Payment Gateway and Electronic Solution is used by the FIRS to levy and collect tax. A transaction processing system called the Sentinal National Payment Gateway enables integrated payment service providers to withhold taxes at the time of the transaction and send them right away to the government’s treasury.

“The deployment of Sentinal National Payment Gateway will simplify tax compliance for companies engaged in online betting activities.” – Wojuola quoted Nami as saying.

He asked providers of online gambling services to establish connections to the Gateway by December 31. Although it was not essential, according to Nami, companies providing online gaming services from outside of Nigeria had to link to the Gateway because of current tax rules.

“This is for the purposes of deducting taxes from the gaming transactions of players in Nigeria, and remitting same directly to government’s purse.” – he said.

The FIRS boss stressed that Nigeria needed to innovate and harness technology for improved revenue generation from e-commerce as well as for accountability.

“The world is entering a challenging time where there is a strong obligation on governments to increase tax revenue as a percentage of GDP. This is to provide much-needed funding for local infrastructure and public services. Nigeria needs to innovate and harness technology to ensure that online transactions are taxed and accounted for. We have been very impressed with the Sentinal platform which allows us to collect tax revenues at source and also provides us with tax reporting and monitoring tools in real time. The system will also integrate with our own TaxPro Max portal”

– said Malam Muhammad Nami.

A 2019 report by Research and Markets valued the Nigerian sports betting industry at $2 billion and growing; this must have prompted the FIRS’ decision to tap into the sector as a means of generating revenue needed to grow the economy.

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