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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/excise-notice-455a-remote-gaming-duty/excise-notice-455a-remote-gaming-duty
This notice is about Remote Gaming Duty (RGD) from 1 December 2014. Notice 455: Remote Gaming Duty dated April 2010 remains in force for RGD prior to 1 December.
The principal law on RGD is contained in the Finance Act 2014 c26, Part 3 Chapter 3 sections 154 to 162, Chapter 4 sections 163 to 198 and Schedules 27, 28 and 29.
Secondary legislation is contained in the General Betting, Pool Betting and Remote Gaming Duties (Registration, Records and Agents) Regulations 2014 and the General Betting, Pool Betting and Remote Gaming Duties (Returns, Payments, Information and Records) Regulations 2014.
In Great Britain, gambling regulation - with a view to protecting the vulnerable and keeping out crime - is mainly under the Gambling Act 2005. The regulatory regime, which is distinct from the taxation regime, is sometimes also referred to as ‘social law’.
Certain paragraphs within this notice have the force of law under:
- The Finance Act 2014 (the Act)
- The General Betting, Pool Betting and Remote Gaming Duties (Registration, Records and Agents) Regulations 2014 (Statutory Instrument (SI) 2014/2257) - (Registration Regulations 2014)
- The General Betting, Pool Betting and Remote Gaming Duties (Returns, Payments, Information and Records) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2912) - (Returns Regulations 2014)
- The Revenue Traders (Accounts and Records) Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/3150)
Text in this notice which has the force of law is indicated by being placed in a box. See example below.
Example of ‘force of law’ text
Text shown in boxes has the force of law.
For more information see General Betting Duty, Pool Betting Duty and Remote Gaming Duty guidance to help you comply with your obligations.
For the purposes of this notice the terms below have the meanings specified:
- operator - an alternative term used here to refer to a person who provides remote gaming
- customer - someone who plays a game
- remote gaming - the playing of a game of chance for a prize by remote means (for example, over the internet)
- UK - United Kingdom (this doesn’t include the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands or Gibraltar)
- we or us - HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- GTS - Gambling Tax Service refers to HMRC’s gambling tax system - an electronic online service for registration and submitting duty returns
- Remote Operating Licence (ROL) - a licence issued by the Gambling Commission - see section 67 of the Gambling Act 2005
- gaming prize fund or pool - a fund or pool to which payments for remote play are assigned and from which winnings are paid out
RGD is charged at the rate of 15% of a gaming provider’s profits from remote gaming with UK persons.
From December 2014 the government reformed RGD, General Betting Duty (GBD), and Pool Betting Duty (PBD) so that these duties apply on a ‘place of consumption’ basis. In other words, remote gambling operators pay UK gambling duty on their gross gambling profits from UK customers no matter where in the world the operators are located.
2.1 Remote gaming
Gaming means playing a game of chance for a prize. Remote gaming is defined for these purposes at section 154 of the Act as gaming in which persons participate by the use of the:
- any other kind of electronic or other technology for facilitating communication
This can include ‘pooled prize gaming’ where all or part of the money paid to play the game, otherwise known as the gaming payment, is paid into a pool, from which the prizes are later paid to the winning players of the game. Any remote gaming which isn’t pooled prize gaming is ‘ordinary gaming’.
2.2 Gaming provider
Businesses which contract directly with UK customers for them to participate in remote gaming are ‘gaming providers’ and they need to register for and pay RGD.
2.3 Gaming payments
Gaming payments are the aggregate of any amounts payable by the UK person to enable them to take part in the game. This may include any payment due to you which entitles your UK customer to play, such as an entry fee or participation charge.
If the gaming payment is actually made to another person, rather than you as gaming provider, it is still to be included in your gaming payments’ total for the RGD calculation.
Note: Gaming payment is to be treated as made when the player begins to take part in the remote gaming, regardless of when it is actually paid (see paragraph 3.5).
2.4 UK person
RGD is charged on the gaming provider’s profits from remote gaming played by a UK person regardless of where in the world the provider is located.
A UK person is defined for these purposes at section 186 of the Act as either:
- an individual who usually lives in the UK
- a body corporate which is legally constituted in the UK
We have the power to make statutory provision in a notice about how to determine whether a customer is or isn’t a UK person. We have used this power below.
The following has the force of law made under section 186 of the Act
HMRC specifies that, where it’s relevant for the purposes of establishing liability for RGD whether a customer is or isn’t a UK person, the following steps must be taken.
1.1. Gaming providers must keep appropriate records to enable them to verify whether customers are UK persons (that is, whether they usually live in the UK) or whether they usually live outside the UK. Gaming providers have a responsibility to keep their records on customer location up to date. These records must be capable of audit by HMRC.
1.2. All gaming providers should initially require their customers to state the address at which they usually live at the time the customer registers to play with the gaming provider. If no address is given the customer will be regarded as being a UK person.
1.3. When a UK address is given, the customer is regarded as being a UK person.
2.1. If a customer gives a non-UK address, gaming providers must verify the customer’s declared location by reference to other information in their systems. It’s not acceptable for gaming providers to simply accept assertions from customers about where they live.
2.2. In cases of a verification system returning a conflicting result, with some information indicating the customer is a UK person and other information indicating the contrary, then the following tests should be applied.
2.3. Gaming providers should consider the customer’s statement that they don’t live in the UK against all other information they hold about the customer (for whatever reason it has been collected). If 2 current pieces of information indicate a UK address then the customer will be determined to be a UK person regardless of their statement that they live elsewhere. Typical information items will be the customer’s:
- address on a bank statement
- address associated with a credit card
- address on their driving licence
- contact phone number and the country code attached to it
2.4. If any 2 or more of these information items are known to the gaming provider and they return a result as the UK then, irrespective of whether the customer has provided an address outside the UK, they must treat that customer as a UK person for the purposes of gambling duties taxation. This is known as the ‘Two UK Indicators Rule’.
We’re not prescriptive about what the information at step 2.1 above should be or how many information items should be collected. We expect a robust system to have in-built verification but aren’t prescriptive about what that verification has to be.
Where the steps specified above also concern record keeping, statutory provision is made at paragraph 9 below.
3. RGD calculations
RGD is chargeable when you contract directly with a UK person for them to take part in remote gaming. It is charged at the rate of 15% of your profits at the end of each accounting period (see paragraph 5).
Your profit for each accounting period, is the difference between the:
- total amounts of money due to you (gaming payments) from your UK customers for taking part in ordinary gaming or pooled prize gaming
- amounts that you have paid out separately for prizes for that ordinary gaming, or in the case of pooled prize gaming, the amount of the gaming payments that go into the pool to become winnings
3.1 Pooled prize gaming
In pooled prize gaming, the gaming provider places the gaming payments (or a part of the gaming payments) received from all the customers, into a ‘pool’ from which prizes are paid out. It’s standard practice to take a portion of these payments either before or after putting them into the pool. It is the total amount of UK payments which you keep, rather than make available as prizes in the pool, which is your dutiable profit. This retained sum is sometimes referred to as your ‘commission’ or ‘rake’ and is the taxable amount.
If you take a commission before the payments go in the pool, and another afterwards, you would need to add together these 2 sums.
3.1.1 Amounts taken directly from gaming payments
The most straightforward way to work out the duty due is when the provider takes their commission from the payments before any money goes into the pool, as it should be easy for the provider to identify all UK payments. Duty would be chargeable on that commission taken from UK customers.
3.1.2 Amounts taken out of a pool
If commission is taken after the payments go into the pool it may be more difficult to identify which of the payments came from UK or non-UK customers.
Where the pool comprises contributions from only UK customers, duty is due on the whole amount taken out of the pool for purposes other than the payout of prizes (described below as deductions).
Where the pool comprises contributions from both UK and non-UK customers, you must calculate the amount liable to duty only on the UK portion of those deductions (see paragraph 3.1.3 below).
To work out the duty you need to pay on your deductions you need to apportion your ‘UK share’. You carry out this apportionment by looking at the amount of payments due from UK customers as a proportion of the payments due from all customers, that is, both UK and non-UK.
A simple example of this apportionment process would be if there was £250 of gaming payments from UK customers in a total pool of £1,000, 25% of any deductions which you take from that pool will be dutiable.
The apportionment is applied as follows:
Where the deductions are taken from a pool specific to a game or games, such as online poker, the amount liable to duty is calculated by multiplying the total deductions removed from the pool by the UK proportion of the total gaming payments in that pool.
Where the deductions are taken from a pool specific to a period of time, the amount liable to duty is calculated by multiplying the total deductions removed from the pool by the UK proportion of the total gaming payments in that pool for that time period.
Where the deductions are taken from a pool that relates to something other than a specific game or games or period of time, the amount liable to duty is calculated by multiplying the total deductions removed from the pool by the UK proportion of the payments in that pool at the point in time the deductions are taken.
HMRC is aware that it is common practice in the industry to recognise that certain players are more valuable than others to the network (and hence to gaming providers) and to weight rakes for the individual players accordingly. HMRC will allow weightings to be used for individual players provided:
- they’re made prior to the rake being taken from the fund
- they’re applied consistently
- no adjustments are made on the basis of whether a player is a UK player or not, and no deductions from the fund may be made for anything other than rakes or prizes, for example, any fees for management of the network must be made from tax paid income
3.1.4 Top up amounts to a pool containing both UK and non-UK players
In some circumstances you may have to top up the pool. For example, if you guarantee a jackpot of a particular sum but haven’t received enough payments to meet that sum, you’ll have to ‘top up’ the pool with your own money, to make up the difference and meet the expected jackpot sum. Where the pool comprises contributions from both UK and non-UK customers, only the appropriate UK portion of this ‘top up’ sum can be included in the duty calculation.
The following has the force of law made under section 156 (3) (b) of the Act
In order to determine the appropriate proportion, you must use the same calculation that you use to apportion the amounts taken out.
3.1.5 Calculating your profit
To calculate your profit, the law stipulates 5 steps that must be looked at. Depending on the complexity of your arrangements you might need to consider all 5 steps, or might not need to go beyond step 1 or 2.
The Five Step Approach
Take the total amount of gaming payments payable by UK customers and deduct the total of that amount that you assign to the pool. The remainder is included in your duty calculation.
For example if £1,000 paid in UK gaming payments, £700 assigned to the pool, the remainder of £300 is the dutiable sum.
If you use any amount in the pool for purposes other than to pay out prizes, calculate the UK portion of this sum. You need to do this by first of all dividing the amount of UK contributions to the pool by the total amount of UK and non-UK contributions. This will give you the UK fraction of the pool. Multiply this by the amount you have taken from the pool to arrive at the UK portion, which is included in the duty calculation.
Continuing with the example, of a total pool of £2,100, £700 has come from UK customers. You take £600 from the pool. The UK fraction is one third (£700/£2,100) so multiply £600 by a third, which is £200. Add this £200 to your duty calculation.
Add together the amounts from steps 1 and 2.
£300 + £200 = £500
If you add any money to the pool to top up the prize money you must also calculate the UK portion of this top up sum by multiplying it by the same proportion as done at step 2. You add £90. Multiply this by the UK fraction, one third, which gives you £30.
Subtract any amount in step 4 from the total calculated at step 3.
£500 - £30 = £470
Duty is chargeable on the final sum calculated at step 5
Prizes’ cover both cash and non-cash prizes.
When calculating your profit, you can deduct as prizes:
- any prize money which you’ve credited to your customers’ accounts, rather than paid over in actual cash, providing you’ve let them know that the money is there in their account and that they can withdraw it at any time
- any gaming payment, or part of a gaming payment, that you’ve returned to customers
If you haven’t told the customer that you have credited their account then you can’t include these sums in your RGD calculation. If your customer isn’t free to withdraw their prize money then you can’t include these sums. Also you can’t deduct such prizes if the customer has to re-wager them or there are any other conditions attached to the prizes (see paragraph 3.3.3).
Make sure you only include prizes in your profits’ calculation, in the accounting period in which they are provided. Only include customer’s prize money in your calculation from the date you notify them that you have credited their accounts and that it is available for withdrawal. Normally the issue of a statement to your customers will create this date. However, there may be occasions where you can show that they were notified earlier. If so, you are entitled to include the prize money amounts in your calculation from the earlier date.
Where a non-cash prize has been obtained from an unconnected person, the cost of obtaining it is the amount you use when calculating the profits figure for the RGD calculation. Where a prize has been obtained from a connected person, you must use the value that it would have cost from an unconnected person for your profits’ calculation.
You must include the specified amount in your profits ‘calculation if the prize is a voucher which:
- can be used instead of money for a specific purpose from a named source
- specifies how much the winner can use it for, and
- has been obtained from a connected person
If the voucher fails to meet the above criteria, it has no value as a prize and can’t be deducted.
If the voucher is received from someone unconnected with you, use the price you paid for the voucher rather than the face value of the voucher.
3.2.2 Goods or services
If the prize is neither money nor a voucher and is obtained from a person:
- unconnected with you, use the actual cost of the prize inclusive of any VAT
- connected with you, use the value the prize would have cost had it been obtained from an unconnected person (don’t include the item at all if you can’t reasonably prove the value of the prize)
You may make promotional offers to your customers in the form of freeplays. This is where the player gets to play a game of chance for free, or at a reduced fee. Incentive schemes such as ‘matched deposit’ or ‘rake back’ schemes usually take the form of crediting amounts to players’ accounts (bonuses) on condition, for example, that players stake a set amount in play, or deposit a certain amount in chip purchases.
3.3.1 Treatment of freeplays - Finance Act 2017
The taxation of freeplays, brought in by Finance Act 2017, is effective for any RGD accounting periods beginning on or after 1 August 2017.
From this date, in certain circumstances freeplays now have a value when calculating your remote gaming profits, and freeplays given out as prizes don’t have a value and therefore can’t be deducted as winnings in your profit calculations.
However, where a freeplay is used and results in a win which is withdrawable cash or can be used instead of cash, you can deduct these winnings when calculating your duty.
RGD is due on a freeplay as if it were a (non-discounted) fully paid up stake. A freeplay when used, effectively becomes a gaming payment, so you must include the notional value of freeplays in your profits’ calculation. The notional value is the full amount the player would have paid but for the offer.
For example, if a £10 online poker game was offered as a freeplay, you would show this as £10 stakes in your RGD calculation. If the player then proceeds to win £20 cash which they can withdraw, you can deduct this £20 as winnings in your RGD calculations. Similarly if a £10 online poker game was offered at a discounted sum of only £5 to the player, you would also show this as £10 stakes in your RGD calculation.
Any freeplay given a value in this way should be treated as having been made at the point when the player takes part in the game, and unlike ‘cash’ gaming payments, can’t be returned as part of any winnings and so can’t be added to any prize fund.
For further information on the use of freeplays contact HMRC by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
3.3.2 Prizes as freeplays
A freeplay obtained from a connected person, and given out as a prize, isn’t deductible as winnings in the duty calculation.
However if a prize is a voucher obtained from a connected person that can either be used as a freeplay, or as payment for another benefit, although its value can’t be deductible as winnings if used as a freeplay, its face value can be deducted if used for another benefit.
3.3.3 Excluded winnings
In certain other circumstances a freeplay won’t be treated in this way.
Freeplays which come from ‘winnings’ from previous remote gaming by means of a freeplay, where these winnings can’t be withdrawn but can only be used as payment to participate in further gaming, are seen as ‘excluded winnings’ and mustn’t be included in your RGD calculation.
So where terms of play dictate that customers must re-stake any winnings winnings from successful use of a freeplay, and can’t withdraw them as cash, these re-staked winnings aren’t treated as dutiable stakes and will fall outside your duty calculation. In these circumstances only the initial freeplay and any eventual winnings which are withdrawable as cash, are taxable.
For example a player is awarded a £10 freeplay as a bonus balance, with a requirement that £200 needs to be wagered through before any winnings can be withdrawn as cash from the bonus balance. The player then makes a series of wagers, using the initial £10 freeplay plus winnings from it, and any other successful wagers in the series until they have met this £200 re-wagering requirement, with £6 winnings left in the bonus balance which the player can then withdraw as cash.
In this scenario HMRC would expect the initial bonus of £10 to be treated as taxable stakes, minus the withdrawable cash of £6, that is, £10 - £6 = £4 taxable sum. The re-wagering of the ‘excluded winnings’ as the customer plays through their wagering requirement won’t be taxed.
Freeplays won under restricted circumstances
‘Excluded winnings’ also applies to freeplays won as a prize from remote gaming where the freeplay is the only prize on offer. In such cases, the use of that freeplay isn’t included in your duty calculation. If there are other prizes on offer, as well as the freeplay, the freeplay must be included in your duty calculation when used.
Freeplays for games with more than one player
If all players are given free entry to play a game or a tournament, such as online poker or bingo, with no payment required for their participation, that game won’t be treated as a game of chance and so won’t be liable to remote gaming duty. There will be no notional stakes to be included in the duty calculation, and no winnings to be deducted.
If however the tournament has a mixture of free entries and paid-for participation, all players will be treated as having paid the same amount to play and duty calculated accordingly.
3.3.4 Combination of ‘excluded winnings’ and additional cash
Where a player uses both excluded winnings, as at paragraph 3.3.3 above, and additional cash to participate in remote gaming, you must include the additional cash element of the gaming payment in your RGD calculation.
Note: Freeplays when used fall subject to the appropriate tax treatment. However, the tax treatment can differ for the different gambling duties. Please see the notices relating to GBD and PBD (Excise Notice 451a: General Betting Duty and Excise Notice 147a: Pool Betting Duty) for how to treat freeplays when calculating GBD or PBD.
If you make a loss in an accounting period because you paid out more money for prizes than you’re due from gaming payments, then you’ll have no duty to pay. You can carry over any losses as a negative profits’ amount from one accounting period into the next accounting period. You must show the loss in the relevant box on the RGD return. If necessary, this carry forward procedure can continue into the following accounting periods until you make a profit.
There’s no provision to repay any ‘unused’ loss carried forward. This means that if your business ceases to trade and shows negative net gaming payment receipts in its final accounting period, you can’t claim any repayment or refund for that amount.
3.5 Bad debts
There is no duty relief for bad debts. You must include the full value of all gaming payments made with you in your gaming provider’s profits’ calculation, whether or not you received payment when your UK customer started to play the game. The arrangement between you and your UK customer, for them to participate in the game, is liable to duty even if your customer doesn’t pay you.
RGD isn’t chargeable on any arrangements between you and your customer, which are entered into from outside the UK and the facilities used to take part in the gaming can’t be used in or from the UK.
3.6.2 Other gambling duties
Remote gaming duty isn’t chargeable on any participation in remote gaming which is either:
- already liable to another UK gambling duty
- specifically exempted from another UK gambling duty
The other UK gambling duties are:
- Bingo Duty
- Gaming Duty
- General Betting Duty
- Lottery Duty
- Pool Betting Duty
- Machine Games Duty
Bingo games are liable to remote gaming duty when played by remote communication. However, we make an exception for remote bingo played at licensed bingo club premises, for example, when clubs make wireless bingo equipment available to players under an ancillary remote licence. This is liable to bingo duty and falls outside the scope of remote gaming duty.
4.1 Registration applications
All gaming providers liable to RGD must be registered with HMRC. Applications for registration must be made at least 31 days before your intended start date. This is reduced to 14 days in advance for businesses based in the UK, EU, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, Norway, the Faroes, Iceland, New Zealand or South Africa.
Important note: You must use the online registration system. For RGD, there’s no option to register using a paper form.
The following has the force of law under the General Betting, Pool Betting and Remote Gaming Duties (Registration, Records and Agents) Regulations 2014 made under section 164(3)(a) of the Act
The applicant must:
Set up a Government Gateway account (if not already set up) by following all prompts.
Enter your Government Gateway credentials to Register for gambling taxes.
Complete the application in full through the GTS and follow all prompts.
Keep records of the on-screen automatic acknowledgement confirming completion of the registration application, together with the unique acknowledgement reference number.
4.2 Changes to information given at registration
You must tell us about any changes to, or inaccuracies in, the information supplied on your application for registration within one month of the date of registration or within one month of the changes or inaccuracies happening (whichever is the later).
Below we’ve made statutory provision in relation to this.
The following has the force of law under the General Betting, Pool Betting and Remote Gaming Duties (Registration, Records and Agents) Regulations 2014 made under section 164(3) (d) of the Act
Notification of changes to application for registration
The applicant (or, if the application has been accepted, the registered person) must notify HMRC of any changes or inaccuracies in the information supplied on their application for registration by making the changes through the GTS Online Service.
4.3 Group registration
A group may be formed by corporate bodies under common control. The group must appoint a Group Lead Member (GLM). The GLM must have a principal place of business in the UK.
The common controller itself need not be registerable for RGD.
A corporate body can only join a group registration for RGD if the corporate body itself is registerable for RGD.
All members of a RGD group are jointly and severally liable for all other group members’ RGD liabilities. The GLM must obtain from all prospective group members written confirmation that they consent to joining the group. All prospective group members must confirm to all other (prospective) group members that they understand the position on joint and several liability.
A RGD group registration is only valid for RGD. Any liability to another gambling tax needs a separate registration for that tax.
4.4 How to apply
The following has the force of law under the General Betting, Pool Betting and Remote Gaming Duties (Registration, Records and Agents) Regulations 2014 made under section 164(6) and (7) of the Act
To register online, the GLM must:
Set up a Government Gateway account (if not already set up) and follow all prompts.
Enter your Government Gateway credentials to register for gambling taxes.
Complete the application in full (including any supplementary information for group treatment) through the GTS and follow all prompts.
Keep records of the on-screen automatic acknowledgement confirming completion of the registration application, together with the unique acknowledgement reference number.
4.5 How to change group registration information
The GLM must tell us about any changes to, or inaccuracies in, the information supplied on the application for registration within one month of the date of registration or within one month of the changes or inaccuracies happening (whichever is the later).
Below we have made statutory provision in relation to this.
The following has the force of law under the General Betting, Pool Betting and Remote Gaming Duties (Registration, Records and Agents) Regulations 2014 made under section 164(6) and (7) of the Act
Notification of changes to application for group registration
The GLM must notify HMRC of any changes or inaccuracies in the information supplied on their application for registration by making the changes through the GTS Online Service.
4.6 Agents and representatives
4.6.1 Appointing an agent
You can, if you wish, appoint someone in the UK to manage your RGD affairs. HMRC describes a person acting on your behalf as an ‘agent’. An agent can be an accountant but doesn’t have to be. You, and not the agent, will still remain liable for paying RGD and for any penalties.
If you want to appoint an agent to act on your behalf, you can do this when you register online or as a change to your existing GTS registration. Your agent will need to have a Government Gateway identifier and be enrolled for the Gambling Tax agent online service. As the online GTS covers RGD, General Betting Duty and Pool Betting Duty your agent will be able to view all your gambling tax liabilities and payments online.
HMRC can’t discuss your RGD affairs with your agent until your agent has been authorised.
For more information see Gambling Tax for Agents: HMRC Online Services.
4.6.2 Appointing a representative
You’ll need to appoint an HMRC approved representative in the UK if you aren’t in a group registration or you’re not based in any of the places listed:
- the EU
- the UK (excluding the Channel Islands)
- Norway, the Faroes, Iceland, New Zealand or South Africa
- in a jurisdiction which has an agreement with the UK to enforce gambling tax debts for the UK - such agreements are in place with Gibraltar and the Isle of Man
The appointment of your representative will form part of the online registration process, covered at paragraph 4.1 above, although you can start this approval process before starting your registration if you wish.
A UK representative is different from an ‘agent’ described above. If your representative is appointed as a fiscal representative, they must have consented to both act on your behalf and to be jointly and severally liable for all your RGD obligations.
If your representative is purely an administrative representative appointed to interact with HMRC, and isn’t jointly and severally liable for your RGD obligations, HMRC may also require you to provide a security.
4.7 Providing a security
We may require a security where:
- you need to appoint a representative in the UK and you choose to appoint a representative who won’t be jointly and severally liable for your RGD
- at any time where we believe there is a risk to the revenue
We will tell you if we require security and advise on how you can provide it.
For more information see General Betting Duty, Pool Betting Duty and Remote Gaming Duty.
If you wish to deregister you must notify us as set out below.
The following has the force of law under the General Betting, Pool Betting and Remote Gaming Duties (Registration, Records and Agents) Regulations 2014 made under section 164(3(e) of the Act
If a registered person (including a group) ceases to be liable for RGD (or, in the case of a group, if the members cease to be eligible to form a group) they must notify HMRC confirming:
- that they’re registered for RGD including their registration number
- the date from which deregistration should take effect
- that after the date of deregistration they won’t be engaging in activities liable to RGD
Deregistration notifications must be sent through the GTS Online Service.
You’re strongly advised to submit your deregistration notification within the 14 days before liability ceases. If liability has already ceased, you must submit your deregistration notification within one month from the date your liability ceased. HMRC may charge a penalty for failing to tell us about this on time.
5. Accounting periods
Returns must be made after the end of each accounting period in respect of activity during that period. An accounting period is sometimes referred to as a ‘return period’.
A standard accounting period is 3 whole calendar months starting on the first day of the first month and ending on the last day of the third month.
The following direction has the force of law made under section 165(2) of the Act
HMRC direct that each standard accounting period starts on the first day of a calendar month. This doesn’t preclude non-standard accounting period arrangements being agreed under section 165(3) of the Act.
In the event of a person becoming registered for RGD part way through a calendar month, that person’s first accounting period begins on the date of registration.
Non-standard accounting periods
Section 165(3) of the Act allows HMRC to agree with individual gaming providers that they may follow non-standard accounting periods.
HMRC will only agree to non-standard accounting periods if the gaming provider:
- first selects a pattern of accounting periods based on four 3 month periods in 12 months each ending on the last day of a month
- then selects 8 non-standard period end dates (each period end date must be within 16 days before or after the date that would have been the standard end date)
If you wish to continue with non-standard accounting periods after the end of the eighth period you should, during the seventh period, give HMRC a further 8 non-standard period end dates. Otherwise you’ll automatically revert back to the standard accounting periods after the eighth non-standard period.
6. Duty returns
If we don’t receive each of your returns by the due date we may impose a ‘late filing’ penalty.
The due date for each return is the 30th day following the end of every accounting period. If the 30th day isn’t a business day, the return must be received by the last business day before that day.
In this notice, ‘business day’ means any day except:
- Saturday, Sunday, Good Friday or Christmas Day
- a bank holiday under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971
- a day appointed by Royal proclamation as a public fast or thanksgiving day
- a day declared by an order under section 2(1) of the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 to be a non-business day
6.1 How to submit returns
Below we have made statutory provision in relation to RGD returns.
The following has the force of law under the General Betting, Pool Betting and Remote Gaming Duties (Returns, Payments, Information and Records) Regulations 2014 made under section 166 of the Act
A gaming provider liable to make RGD returns (as someone who holds or is required to hold a Remote Operating Licence (ROL)) must use the GTS to make those returns.
The gaming provider must submit a RGD return even if they don’t have any dutiable profits.
If you realise you’ve made a mistake on a return or returns which have resulted in you declaring to us less than you actually owe, you must correct that error by one of the following 2 methods:
The following has the force of law under the General Betting, Pool Betting and Remote Gaming Duties (Returns, Payments, Information and Records) Regulations 2014 made under section 166 and section 167 of the Act
Write to HMRC about the error. The postal address can be found at Imports and exports: general enquiries where the address is provided under the heading ‘Post’.
Use this method for errors of any size. The letter must detail the amount of the error and the circumstances in which it came about. The amount you owe as a result of the under-declaration must accompany the letter.
Enter the amount of the under-declaration in the relevant box on the next RGD return.
Only use the under-declaration box if less than 4 years has passed since the original incorrect return was due, and the overall amount of the under-declaration:
- doesn’t exceed £10,000 (net value)
- doesn’t exceed £50,000 (net value) and won’t be more than 1% of the gaming provider’s total profits in the accounting period during which the error was discovered
- the error wasn’t caused because of lack of reasonable care
We may wish to look into the circumstances in which the under-declaration came about and we may impose a penalty.
If you’ve made an error on a previous RGD return which has resulted in you paying too much duty, you may be entitled to be repaid the amount of your overpayment. Under the law (section 137A of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, and regulation 9 of the Revenue Traders (Accounts and Records) Regulations 1992) overpayments of RGD can only be claimed by writing to HMRC.
Any claim must include all relevant information. There’s no specific form for making claims but claims must:
- be in writing
- be on headed paper
- include your registration number
- include your full bank account details
- include the amount of claim
- include the name of registered trader
- include the name of person making the claim
- include the contact telephone number
Send any claim to the following address:
You should keep all documentary evidence to support a claim, including documents showing how and when the error arose.
6.4 Payments for late registrations
If you don’t register before you start your RGD activity we’ll assess you for the duty payable for the period between commencement of trading and the registration date. We may talk to you before we issue the assessment so that the assessment correctly reflects what you owe. You’ll not be able to make a return for the period for which you were liable to RGD but weren’t registered.
You may also be subject to penalties for failing to notify us on time. You mustn’t account for this late payment of duty by adjusting your return.
If we don’t receive duty payments by the due date we may impose a penalty on you.
The due date is the 30th day following the end of every accounting period. If the 30th day isn’t a business day, it must be received by the last business day before that day. See paragraph 6 above for more information about business days.
7.1 How to pay
The following has the force of law under the General Betting, Pool Betting and Remote Gaming Duties (Returns, Payments, Information and Records) Regulations 2014 made under section 167 of the Act
HMRC prescribes that payments must be made by one of the following methods:
Electronically by Bacs, CHAPS or Faster Payments, or by credit or debit card payment from a UK bank.
Payment by cheque must be made payable to: ‘HM Revenue and Customs only’ followed by the appropriate RGD registration number and sent to:
By SWIFT (for payments from overseas which must be in Sterling).
Find full payment details in the guidance on Pay gambling duties.
Payment of RGD can’t be made by Direct Debit.
7.2 RGD - Joint and several liability
The gaming provider is liable for any RGD due on their profits from remote gaming undertaken in an accounting period.
If the gaming provider is a company, HMRC can also recover any unpaid duty from the directors of that company.
7.2.1 Remote Operating Licences (ROL)
HMRC can also recover any unpaid duty from the holder of a ROL for the business which provided the gaming, to the customers, on which the tax is due.
HMRC won’t recover duty from any other operating licence holders who may be involved with the provision of gambling services to the gaming provider.
Software Operating Licence holders - operating within the terms of their licence, don’t contract directly with UK customers and are never liable to register or pay RGD. They’ll never be held jointly and severally liable for duty either.
Remote Casino and Remote Bingo Operating licence holders - will be liable to register and pay RGD, as follows:
(a) All those contracting to gamble with UK persons will have to register for, and pay RGD in relation to that activity.
(b) All those who provide facilities to gamble but only to support the businesses in (a) above, (they don’t contract with UK persons themselves) won’t have to register and pay RGD. They’ll never be held jointly and severally liable for duty either. These people typically provide platforms and payment facilities etc.
Note: As businesses can sometimes have a range of activities, each case will need to be considered on its own merits. Whether a person holds a licence or not has no bearing on any liability to register and pay tax. Assuming the business concerned is operating within the terms of the licence, the key factor affecting liability is whether the business holding the licence, has contracted with the UK person.
Online casino A offers a number of casino games to UK players. When a player signs up to play a game they enter into a contract with company A (and this is clear in terms and conditions for the game which are displayed on the site). Company A is a gaming provider and must register for and pay RGD. Note that company A has a remote operating licence from the Gambling Commission.
Online casino A offers a number of casino games to UK players - players signing up to play an online slot game X enter into a contract with company A.
Online slot game X is played on a platform provided by company B and the game content itself is provided by company C. Neither company B or company C have any direct contractual relationship with the player - company B and company C both have a contractual relationship with company A.
Neither company B nor company C are a gaming provider and neither needs to register for or pay RGD. Note that both company B and company C have a gambling software operating licence from the Gambling Commission and company B may also have a remote casino operating licence if it is itself hosting the platform.
Late payment interest accrues if you’re late in paying what you owe. Late payment interest is calculated on the outstanding duty from the date the amount became due and payable to the date the amount is actually paid.
Repayment interest accrues where appropriate.
Late payment and repayment interest is calculated on a simple (not compound) basis. This means that interest is only calculated on the amount of the tax or penalty (late payment interest only) and not on interest that has already been charged or accrued.
7.4 Licence revocation
The civil penalty regime exists to address matters such as late filing and late payment of duty. In the more serious cases of remote gambling operators failing to meet their gambling tax obligations, HMRC may direct the Gambling Commission (GC) to ‘revoke’ their remote operating licence (ROL). Without a ROL, a remote gambling business can’t legally advertise or transact with customers in Great Britain. These more serious breaches could be failure to:
- meet specified registration conditions, such as requirements to make records available in the UK
- pay the required amount of duty at the right time
- to appoint a representative or provide security as required by HMRC
Any decision for a ROL to be revoked is made by HMRC, but the decision is carried out by the Gambling Commission. You can ask for a review or an appeal against this decision. Any appeals must be made to the Tax Tribunal.
Before a licence is revoked HMRC will issue ‘Breach Notices’. This will be followed by action to suspend the licence before moving to revocation.
At each stage of the process, HMRC may arrange to have that ROL reinstated if the original breach has been fully remedied and no other breaches which could lead to licence revocation, have occurred. You can appeal the decision at each stage.
The following has the force of law under section 191(2) of the Act
The value of any amount in any cryptocurrency is the sterling value of the amount at the point the transaction (that is, the payment) takes place.
A record of all relevant checks and transactions must be kept.
For each transaction, the following records must be kept:
- the amount of the transaction in cryptocurrency
- the date and time of the transaction
- the sterling value of the cryptocurrency on that day
The exchange which is used to provide a sterling value mustn’t be a connected company. A ‘connected company’ is to be determined in accordance with section 1122 of the Corporation Tax Act 2010.
9. Record keeping
Anyone who is a ‘revenue trader’ must keep records for the purposes of RGD. The term revenue trader covers anyone who carries on a trade or business which constitutes remote gaming and anyone carrying out the management or administration of a gaming prize fund.
Notice 206: revenue traders’ records explains the general record keeping requirements which apply to revenue traders. In summary, a revenue trader must keep all business records and an excise duty account as an audit trail to support all figures entered on each return. A gaming provider must retain all business records for the purposes of RGD for 4 years.
9.1 Access to records
All revenue traders must provide us, on request and within 14 days, with information and documents from the records. We may specify the place where information and documents are to be made available, but this place will always be somewhere in the UK (and may be a business’ principal place of business if this is in the UK).
Under our powers we require that the additional records are held and made available as follows:
The following has the force of law under Regulations 6 and 8 of the Revenue Traders (Accounts and Records) Regulations 1992 and the General Betting, Pool Betting and Remote Gaming Duties (Registration, Records and Agents) Regulations 2014 made under section 168 of the Act
1. All gaming providers liable to RGD must keep:
An Excise Duty account to be known as the ‘Remote Gaming Duty account’. This must summarise by accounting period the information required to complete RGD returns.
2. Payments to play received and prizes paid out
What records must be kept:
- a record of all payments to play received (whether received direct from the customer or through another party)
- a record of all prizes paid out
3. Non-cash prizes and free or reduced-cost bets
What records must be kept:
- details of the circumstances in which prizes which aren’t cash or cash equivalents are given out, and the value of such non-cash prizes
- details of any offers of free or reduced-cost play, the take up and use of such offers, and the value had the full amount been paid
4. All gaming providers liable to RGD must keep the following:
- all information received which is relevant to determining whether or not a person is a UK person
- in support of Step 1 of the process for determining whether a person is a UK person, each address submitted by or on behalf of the person as being where they usually live, and the date of receipt of the information by the gaming provider
- in support of Step 2 of the process for determining whether a person is a UK person, all information used to verify that a person isn’t a UK person, and evidence that this information has been considered to establish whether or not there are 2 indicators that the person usually lives in the UK
5. The manager or administrator of a gaming prize fund must keep:
- records of amounts assigned to or otherwise paid into the fund, from whom they are received and whether or not they’re in respect of amounts paid by a UK person
- records of amounts paid from, or otherwise deducted from the fund and to whom they are given
6. Records must be retained as follows:
- all records used or created in the course of the gaming provider’s business, or used for the purpose of completing duty returns must be stored in a readily accessible form and manner for at least 4 years unless an exception below applies
- all papers or other media used to record winning play must be stored in a readily accessible form and manner in daily batches for a period of 6 months after the date when the winnings were paid out or notified as payments to customers’ accounts
- all papers or other media used to record other play must be stored in a readily accessible form and manner in daily batches for a period of 6 months after the date when the payments to play were made
- all other records, documents and accounts including, but not limited to:
- trading and profit and loss accounts
- balance sheets, customer and bank statements
used or created in the course of the business, or used for the purpose of completing duty returns, must be stored in a readily accessible form and manner for at least 4 years
7. Determining the 4 year period
7.1 Documents that record individual events
Records such as invoices should be retained for 4 years from the date of issue, but if they refer to a future event they must be retained for 4 years from that future date.
7.2 Documents that record a summary
Records such as a balance sheet or trading account should be retained for 4 years from the date they are prepared.
7.3 Documents that record a series of events:
- records such as ledgers, daybooks or stock books which are kept in bound books, should normally be retained for 4 years from the date of the last entry made in the bound book
- records maintained in loose-leaf binders, on cards and so on, should be retained for 4 years from the date of the last entry on the loose leaf record
- records kept in an electronic format, are to be treated the same way as paper records
- HMRC may in writing agree different periods with individual taxpayers in cases of genuine difficulty
8. Making records available to an Officer of HMRC
8.1 Gaming providers liable to or likely to become liable to RGD and those providing facilities for gaming providers to carry out their business must make available to an Officer of HMRC any information or documents which that officer reasonably requires.
The information must be made available at a time and place that the Officer reasonably requires.
8.2 Information won’t be considered to have been made available to an Officer of HMRC unless:
- in the case of computerised records and recording systems:
- (a) the Officer is provided with access to computer records/systems through a computer in the UK and sufficient support is made available to the Officer to enable that Officer to navigate the records or systems and a printing facility is provided
- (b) the Officer is provided in the UK with data extracts following parameters set by the Officer (for example: date ranges) in hard copy or in a Microsoft Excel compatible format
- in the case of paper-based record keeping the Officer is provided with access in the UK to paper records
- in the case of a gaming provider who has appointed a fiscal or administrative representative, information or documents reasonably required must be made available through that representative unless agreement is reached with HMRC for some other access arrangement
HMRC won’t accept electronic data other than in a Microsoft Excel compatible format.
Important note: Each gaming provider registered for RGD has a records requirement attached to that registration. This is clearly stated on the certificate of registration sent to each gaming provider and is as follows:
‘It is a requirement attached to this registration that you make information to support what you tell us on your returns (as listed in the ‘record keeping’ section of Notice 455a: Remote Gaming Duty) available in the UK to an HMRC Officer on request. If the business doesn’t comply with this requirement, HMRC can require that any Gambling Commission Remote Operating Licence held is revoked.’
9.2 Records held regarding liability before 1 December 2014
Nothing in paragraph 9.1 above affects records for liability before 1 December 2014. Such records must be kept in accordance with Notice 455: Remote Gaming Duty (edition April 2010).
9.3 Record keeping for a shorter period
If you have a problem with record storage, you can ask HMRC for a dispensation to keep some of your records for a period shorter than 4 years.
10. Reviews and appeals
You have the right to ask us for a review, or appeal directly to an independent tax tribunal, on certain decisions we make about your business. Some of these include:
- a person’s liability to an assessed amount of duty
- a person’s liability to pay an assessed amount of duty
- the issue of civil penalties
If you don’t agree with a decision, you can:
- ask for it to be reviewed by an HMRC officer not previously involved in the matter
- appeal to an independent tribunal
If you choose to have a decision reviewed you can still appeal to the tribunal after the review has finished.
For further information see Disagree with a tax decision.
Your rights and obligations
Read Your Charter to find out what you can expect from HMRC and what we expect from you.
Your comments or suggestion
If you have any comments or suggestions to make about this notice, please write to:
HM Revenue and Customs
Gambling Duties Team
3W, Ralli Quays
3 Stanley Street
This address is not for general enquiries.
Putting things right
If you’re unhappy with HMRC’s service, please contact the person or office you have been dealing with. They’ll try to put things right.
If you’re still unhappy, find out how to complain to HMRC.
How HMRC uses your information
HMRC is a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 1998. HMRC holds information for the purposes specified in its notification to the Information Commissioner, including the assessment and collection of tax and duties, the payment of benefits and the prevention and detection of crime, and may use this information for any of them.
HMRC may get information about you from others, or may give information to them. If it does, it will only be as the law permits to:
- check the accuracy of information
- prevent or detect crime
- protect public funds.
HMRC may check information it receives about you with what is already in its records. This can include information provided by you, as well as by others, such as other government departments or agencies and overseas tax and customs authorities. HMRC will not give information to anyone outside the organisation unless the law permits it to do so. For more information read the guidance on data protection.