Zavaray Poonawalla, chairman of the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC), the premier horse racing centre in the country, feels Goods and Services Tax (GST) on horse racing will most likely be charged on commission and not on the value of bets. Reacting to a development after GST Council’s meeting in Goa last week, where a decision was taken to refer the matter of horse racing and how it must be taxed to a Group of Ministers (GOM),
Poonawalla told TOI: “Now that Fitment Committee also feels that the GST should be charged on commission and has conveyed its sentiments, we strongly believe that GOM will recommend what we are looking for,” said one of the leading breeders in the country. Poonawalla opined that it is favourable that GOM has ministers from racing centres like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. “They are aware of the bad impact of that GST on bet value. It is killing our sport which is an industry and employs lakhs of people across the country,” said Poonawalla.
“Before GOM meeting, which is likely to happen in a month’s time, we will meet ministers and remind them about our concerns again,” he added. The GST Council’s meeting in Goa last Friday ran short of time by the time the agenda item of horse racing came up. Due to paucity of time, only two ministers were able to speak on the issue. The horse racing community has made many representations to the finance ministry explaining it that horse racing was a game of skill while lotteries and casinos were games of chance, and so the two needs to be taxed differently. The GST Council, however, decided to refer both horse racing and lotteries/casinos to the GoM, and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman instructed the GoM to come back to the Council with its recommendations as soon as possible.