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Sunday 20 January 2019
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NLCB admits snag in lottery tax collection

NATIONAL Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) chairman Eustace Nancis has acknowledged there was a problem with the automatic collection of lottery tax but it has since been resolved.

In a brief phone call with Newsday, Nancis said, “There was a problem but it has been rectified and the Government has been paid all its taxes.” He could not speak longer because he was in a meeting.

In a release, Opposition activist and former NLCB board member Devant Maharaj alleged over $14 million in lottery taxes went uncollected after a problem with the software that should have automatically deducted the required amount, or ten per cent of earnings over $1,000.

The lottery tax, first announced in the 2018 budget, was first implemented in July but a major hiccup stymied its application.

Even though the law had been amended to allow the Board of Inland Revenue to collect the tax and the NLCB started deducting tax on winnings, the law was not yet proclaimed by the President.

Until then, any collection was technically illegal and the NLCB had to refund almost $1 million to players.

In August, after the law was proclaimed, the NLCB was supposed to re-start its collection.

That did not happen, Maharaj said, and despite numerous queries from vendors to the NLCB about the status of their deductions, nothing was done until a clerk discovered the discrepancy and vendors have been asked to repay the backlog.

While considered to be a net contributor to the Treasury, the NLCB has not provided financial statements for over five years.

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