Online gaming operators’ taxes are now being directly collected by FIRS.

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The Sentinal National Payment Gateway and Electronic Solution is being used by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to start deducting taxes from online gambling transactions at the point of sale.

The Sentinal National Payment Gateway is a transaction processing system that allows integrated payment services providers to deduct taxes at the points of transaction and immediately remit the tax deducted to the government’s treasury, the Service explained in a public notice signed by its Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami, while directing full compliance by the online gaming community.

“The FIRS is employing Sentinal National Payment Gateway and Electronic Solution to automate the administration of tax on online gambling.” Sentinal National Payment Gateway deployment will make it easier for businesses involved in online gambling to comply with tax laws, according to the announcement.
In addition, the FIRS stated that by December 31, 2022, all operators providing online gambling services in Nigeria must “link to the Sentinal National Payment Gateway, deduct tax from online gaming transactions, and send same directly to the relevant government’s treasury.”

The notice explained that although it was not required, current tax laws required online gaming operators providing services from outside Nigeria to connect to the Sentinal National Payment Gateway in order to deduct tax from player gaming transactions in Nigeria and remit same directly to the government coffers.

Muhammad Nami, Executive Chairman of the FIRS, commented on this method of tax collection at the point of transaction and said that the nation needs to innovate and harness technology for better e-commerce revenue generation as well as for accountability.

“The world is entering a challenging time where there is a strong obligation on Governments to increase tax revenue as a percentage of GDP so as to provide much needed funding for local infrastructure and public services. Nigeria needs to innovate and harness technology to ensure that online transactions are taxed and accounted for.

“We have been very impressed with the Sentinal platform which allows us to not only collect tax revenues at source, but also provides us with tax reporting and monitoring tools in real time,” Nami stated, “The system will also integrate with our own TaxPro Max portal.”

The Director General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission of Nigeria, Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila, praised the acceptance of this innovation and called it a “major stride” for taxing the gaming business in his remarks at a meeting with the head of the tax authority.

“Online gaming continues to grow rapidly in Nigeria, particularly on mobile, and the adoption of E-technologies’ Sentinal National Payment Gateway is a huge step for us to allow us to capture gaming duty at source.

“We are welcoming all responsible offshore gaming operators to apply for a Remote Operator Permit as long as they pass all the relevant criteria including full AML screening and responsible gaming practices. We are proud to be the first country to adopt the Sentinal System and we believe it will bring a real national benefit to Nigeria,” Gbajabiamila noted.

David Kicks, CEO of E-Technologies Global Limited, owners of the Sentinal National Payment Gateway, expressed delight on the Service’s adoption of the system.
Governments in nations that are fast developing find it difficult to keep up with the development of e-commerce and the rise of mobile transactions.
“We are delighted that the Nigerian Government has chosen to incorporate our Sentinal System, enabling them to simplify online taxation. We can promote a paradigm shift toward a consumption tax technique by better understanding how the payments ecosystem functions and changes, he said.

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