Interview: Is Australia set for PoC tax?

Interview: Is Australia set for PoC tax?

Thursday, May 28, 2015 Totally Gaming
Tom Koutsantonis has led talks with fellow Treasurers

The Treasurer of South Australia (SA) has told TotallyGaming.com that he has held discussions with his counterparts across the country about introducing a UK-style Point of Consumption (PoC) tax.

Tom Koutsantonis has led talks among Treasurers about the possibility of a switch from point of supply taxation on gambling, after leading a review of his state’s entire tax system.

While the Discussion Paper he compiled does not make any recommendations, he believes that – under the terms of the review – the information gathered suggests a PoC tax could be both beneficial and fair.

“South Australia has raised the possibility of moving to taxing online gambling based on ‘place of consumption’ with other Australian Treasurers and is leading inter-jurisdictional work on its possible application in Australia,” Koutsantonis told TotallyGaming.com.

“Our Discussion Paper highlighted as a possible reform option moving to taxing online gambling based on ‘place of consumption’ rather than ‘place of supply’. It also noted that the UK has recently changed its tax rules for different types of betting and gaming duties.

“Moving from gambling based on ‘place of supply’ to ‘place of consumption’ could potentially provide an important mechanism to ensure competitive neutrality between online gambling operators and traditional operators.”

While Koutsantonis did not discuss figures, the SA Treasury estimates that more than 70,000 of its citizens have wagered using online gambling services, and it is thought that the restructuring of current online gambling policies could raise a potential Aus$50m ($39.8m/€36.4m) per year in state funding.

Koutsantonis’s review of the tax system was launched to “support the Government’s vision for SA to be the place where people and business thrive”.

Under its terms, the tax system should ‘provide enough revenue for high quality services... support entrepreneurship, investment and job creation... be fair... collect revenue as efficiently as possible... [and] be as stable as possible’.

Koutsantonis and his team undertook a range of consultations including seeking submissions from interested parties and holding a number of forums to discuss tax reform issues and ideas in both Adelaide and regional SA.

“The feedback and submissions received during this process have come from a wide range of businesses, industry and community groups, as well as individuals,” Koutsantonis said.

“This information will be used to understand the impact of potential reforms on the economy and the community in general and how they rate against the objectives of the review.”

The UK introduced its PoC tax last year as part of the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014. The move means that all transactions with UK customers will be subject to remote gambling duty at a rate of 15 per cent on gross gaming revenues, regardless of the location of the operator.

William Hill, the UK's largest bookmaker, recently said that its performance in Q1 2015 was down year-on-year due to a £20m hit related to the introduction of the tax.

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