Yes, online casino winnings are taxable as they are counted as a source of income (despite being irregular). You will have to pay income tax on any and all casino winnings. With the exponential rise of online casinos and online betting in India over the last couple of years, it is undeniable that the government must be generating some nice revenue in the form of taxes. This is a big reason why online gambling remains a legal grey area and will not be outrightly banned.
Any and all winnings from real money gaming in India are considered a part of a person’s annual income. This income is totally taxable in all the states of India, without exception. All online casino or betting income must be declared under the heading “Income from other sources” in your annual tax report.
Section 115BBJ of the Income Tax Act details how the income earned on winnings from betting, casinos and similar sources is taxed.
Real money gaming or betting income is taxed at a flat rate of 30% regardless of the tax bracket the person in question falls under. No exemptions are applicable in this scenario. You are legally required to declare these earnings during your annual tax filing.
There is an additional cess that is levied over and above this tax. This 4% cess is added to the due tax payable by persons whose income is liable for income tax. As per the tax laws in India, additional surcharges are applicable when one wins a sum of more than INR 50,00,000.
There is a surcharge of 10% over the normal rate when one wins any amounts that are more than even 50 lakh rupees. So this means that the more you win, the more you have to pay in taxes. Simply put, bigger amounts get levied greater taxes.
For skill gaming platforms like Poker and Rummy, tax is deducted at the source (TDS). In this case, you get your winnings after the tax deduction. But you still have to declare this amount when filing your annual income tax return.
For all foreign-based and offshore-licensed online casinos, the player gets all their winnings in their account and are legally entitled to declare these winnings as their income. TDS is not applicable here as these casino sites have no legal foothold in India.
Not paying your taxes properly can land you in big legal trouble (and even jail!), so make sure you familiarize yourself with tax implications of playing online casino games if it is a favourite pastime of yours.
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