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Treasury CS Ukur Yatani presents the 2021/budget in the National Assembly on June 10, 2021. Looking on is Speaker Justin Muturi.

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Govt goes after gamblers’ jugular with 20pc new tax

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 10 –The government has re-introduced a 20 percent tax on all winnings, in what is likely to deal a blow to gamblers.

The new tax measure was announced on Thursday by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani as he tabled the 2021/2022 national budget before parliament.

In his Budget speech, Yatani said the revival of the proposal is aimed at curbing the negative effects betting has had on the population, particularly youth.

“The financier 2020 removed excise duty on betting the removal of this tax generated a lot of public debate, considering that betting has become widespread in our society resulting in negative social effects in this regard I propose to re-introduce excise duty on betting at the rate of 20 percent of the amount wagered,” the CS announced.

The tax was introduced in 2019 but was removed in July last year through amendments to the Finance Act 2020 following lobbying by betting firms.

If enacted into law, the Kenya Revenue Authority will take Sh20 out of every Sh100 staked regardless of whether the punter wins or loses.

Betting firms are currently required to withhold 20 percent of winnings and remit the same to the taxman, this means that if one wins Sh10,000, the punter will receive Sh8,000 as the KRA takes Sh2,000.

The betting companies themselves are taxed on the gross gaming revenue turnover minus winnings paid out at a rate of 15 percent on top of paying corporate tax on profits at a rate of 30 percent.

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