PoC Tax must pass new European legal challenge

PoC Tax must pass new European legal challenge

Thursday, July 16, 2015 Totally Gaming
GBGA chief Peter Howitt has welcomed the High Court decision

Gibraltar’s gaming regulator has welcomed the UK High Court’s decision to refer the nation’s Point of Consumption (PoC) Tax to the European Court of Justice (CJEU).

The Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA) was unsuccessful in a High Court challenge that hoped to prevent the PoC Tax becoming law last year.

However, the GBGA said in March that it would return to court in a renewed bid to reverse the law that applies tax based on the location of the customer rather than the gaming operator, and Mr Justice Charles referred the case to the CJEU on Wednesday.

“This is an important decision for all industries and it is quite correct that it should be determined by the European Court rather than within the country that has created this unfair position,” GBGA chief executive Peter Howitt said.

“We maintain that the tax regime introduced by Her Majesty’s Government skews the market in favour of domestic providers to the detriment of law abiding operators like our members, in clear breach of European law. Because of this sensible decision we now look forward to European judges considering this matter and believe they will confirm our position.”

The decision also pleased Remote Gambling Association chief executive Clive Hawkswood, who told TotallyGaming.com: “This is the outcome we had anticipated so we look forward with great interest to hearing the CJEU’s views on the points that have been referred to it.”

The GBGA was represented by law firm Olswang, which noted that UK tax authority HMRC could be forced to repay all of the PoC tax it has collected if the CJEU rules it is illegal.

“The case raises important questions for the future of online gambling in the UK,” Olswang head of public law Dan Tench said. “It also touches on broader issues about the UK government’s ability to tax businesses outside its jurisdiction.” 

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