Union Budget 2023: TDS and taxability on net winnings from online games
- Section 194B of the Act provides that the person responsible for paying to any person any income by way of winnings from any lottery or crossword puzzle or card game and other game of any sort in an amount exceeding ten thousand rupees shall, at the time of payment thereof, deduct income-tax thereon at the rates in force.
- Section 194BB of the Act provides for similar provisions for deduction of tax at source for horse racing in any race course or for arranging for wagering or betting in any race course.
- Section 115BB of the Act provides for the rate of tax on winnings from lotteries, crossword puzzles, races including horse races, card games and other games of any sort or gambling or betting of any form or nature.
- It is seen that deductors are deducting tax under section 194B and 194BB of the Act by applying the threshold of Rs 10,000/- per transaction and avoiding tax deduction by splitting a winning into multiple transactions each below Rs 10,000/-. This is against the intention of legislature.
- It is also seen that in recent times, there has been a rise in the users of online games. There is a need to bring in specific provisions regarding TDS and taxability of online games due to its different nature, being easily accessible vide the Internet and computer resources with a variety of playing options and payment options.
- Accordingly, it is proposed to:––
(i) amend section 194B and 194BB of the Act to provide that deduction of tax under these sections shall be on the amount or aggregate of the amounts exceeding ten thousand rupees during the financial year;
(ii) amend section 194B of the Act to include “gambling or betting of any form or nature whatsoever” within its scope;
(iii) amend section 194B of the Act to exclude online games from the purview of the said section from the 1st day of July, 2023, since a new section 194BA is proposed to be introduced for deduction of tax at source on winnings from online games from that date;
(iv) insert a new section 194BA in the Act, with effect from 1st July 2023, to provide for deduction of tax at source on net winnings in the user account at the end of the financial year. In case there is withdrawal from user account during the financial year, the income-tax shall be deducted at the time of such withdrawal on net winnings comprised in such withdrawal. In addition, income-tax shall also be deducted on the remaining amount of net winnings in the user account at the end of the financial year. Net winnings shall be computed in the prescribed manner.
(v) to provide in the proposed section 194BA that in a case where the net winnings are wholly in kind or partly in cash and partly in kind but the part in cash is not sufficient to meet the liability of deduction of tax in respect of whole of the net winnings, the person responsible for paying shall, before releasing the winnings, ensure that tax has been paid in respect of the net winnings;
(vi) to provide that if any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of new section 194BA, the Board may, with the prior approval of the Central Government, issue guidelines for the purpose of removing the difficulty. Every such guideline issued by the Board shall be laid before each House of Parliament, and shall be binding on the incometax authorities and on the person responsible for deduction of income-tax on any income by way of winnings from online game;
(vii) to provide the definition of “computer resource”, “internet”, “online game”, “online gaming intermediary”, “user”, “user account” in the proposed section 194BA;
(viii) to amend section 115BB of the Act to exclude income from winnings from online games from the purview of the said section from the assessment year 2024-25, since it is proposed to introduce section 115BBJ to tax winnings from online games from that assessment year;
(ix) to insert a new section 115BBJ in the Act with regard to tax on winnings from online games to provide that where the total income of an assessee includes any income by way of winnings from any online game, the income-tax payable shall be the aggregate of—
- the amount of income-tax calculated on net winnings from such online games during the previous year, computed in the prescribed manner, at the rate of thirty per cent; and
- the amount of income-tax with which the assessee would have been chargeable had his total income been reduced by the net winnings referred to above;
(x) to provide the definition of “computer resource”, “internet”, “online game” in the proposed section 115BBJ.
- The amendments proposed for section 194B and section 194BB of the Act will take effect from 1st April, 2023. The proposed section 194BA of the Act will take effect from 1st July 2023. The amendment proposed for section 115BB of the Act and the proposed section 115BBJ in the Act will take effect from 1st April, 2024 and will accordingly be applicable for the assessment year 2024-25 and subsequent assessment years.