Brazil’s IBGR lambasts Lula administration’s betting tax ‘burden’

Lula challenged to include ‘betting exemptions’ in new tax plan

The subject of tax exemptions on gambling prizes/winnings will be debated once more by the government of Brazil.

This follows the PT government’s backing of Provisional Measure (PM) 1,206/2024, which seeks to revise the monthly income tax exemptions for public wages up to BRL 2,824 (€530).

The PM is reported to be favored by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, as a pledge of the Workers’ Party (PT) made during the 2022 General Election to revise Brazil’s income tax brackets for the benefit of ordinary workers.

Consequently, the PT government will propose to Congress “changes in the monthly Income Tax (IR) table to ensure exemption for individuals earning up to two minimum wages, approximately 2,824 reais.”

However, a modification proposed by Federal Deputy of Sao Paulo (SP), Fernando Marangoni, seeks to include sports betting prizes/winnings for tax exemption under the proposed tax tranches.

On 2 January, President Lula da Silva signed Bill No. 3,626/2023 into federal law, authorising the legislative framework for Brazil to launch its federal sports betting marketplace, locally referred to as ‘Bets’.

In the President’s final revision, Lula vetoed articles from the Economic Affairs Commission (CAE) that recommended tax exemptions for yearly winnings below the R$2,112 (€400) threshold.

As it stands, the Bets framework will apply a 15% tax on all prizes/winnings generated by customers, a levy widely opposed by industry stakeholders as discriminatory to the launch of Brazil’s federal marketplace.

Clashing with Lula, Marangoni is demanding ‘prize exemptions’ in the proposed income tax brackets. He asserts that the President’s veto has spawned legal uncertainties concerning the governance of the federal market.

Marangoni recommends that income tax should be levied on net prizes from sports betting, calculated annually, and paid by the last business day of the month following the calculation.

The Deputy seeks to reverse the distortion caused by the veto and aligns with the broader objectives of the Provisional Measure, brought forward by the PT government to Congress.

At present, Brazilian stakeholders are awaiting the Ministry of Finance to publish the regulatory schedule for the licensing of the Bets Regime, necessary to formally launch Brazil’s sports betting marketplace.

Recent developments include a shake-up at the Ministry of Finance, marked by the resignation of senior advisor José Francisco Manssur. His departure is reported to be linked to political meddling in the establishment of the Secretaria de Prêmios e Apostas (SPA) – ‘Secretariat of Prizes and Betting’ – which will oversee the Bets regime.

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