Tabcorp Wins AUD83 Million Tax Battle with Australian Tax Office
Posted on: September 12, 2023, 08:44h. | Last updated on: September 12, 2023, 08:44h.
Tabcorp, the leading Australian gambling and racing operator, has emerged victorious in a tax dispute with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) that has resulted in a refund of approximately AUD83 million (US$53.2 million).
Tabcorp announced the resolution of the dispute in a filing with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), putting an end to a long-standing disagreement with the tax authority over previous payments.
This outcome comes at an opportune time for Tabcorp, which recently incurred a fine of AUD1 million (US$638,600) from the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) for violating regulatory rules two years ago.
Tabcorp Prevails Against the ATO
The ATO had initially demanded that Tabcorp pay certain tax amounts related to its licenses and other provisions. Although the company complied and paid the full amount, it launched a legal battle, claiming that the tax obligations were miscalculated by the authority.
In a seemingly pragmatic move to avoid prolonged litigation, the ATO agreed to collaborate with Tabcorp, resulting in a refund equivalent to approximately 20% of the initial payment. This resolution brings closure and allows both parties to move forward without the burden of legal complications.
Tabcorp will reflect the reimbursement in its annual financial health report in June of next year. The report will also demonstrate a payment of around AUD37 million (US$23.7 million) that the company is obligated to make to The Lottery Corporation as a result of its demerger last year.
Consequently, according to the ASX announcement, Tabcorp will show a benefit of approximately AUD45 million (US$28.7 million) in June. The report will also disclose a new arrangement regarding certain license fees, which the company has classified as “capital.” However, Tabcorp states that this should not significantly impact its overall results.
Australian Gaming Industry Faces Transformative Changes
The entire gambling ecosystem in Australia is undergoing significant transformations, some of which may affect operators’ interactions with consumers. Although Tabcorp’s recent settlement with the ATO is unlikely to impact its results, certain proposed changes could have a notable influence if implemented.
Adam Rytenskild, the Managing Director and CEO of Tabcorp, disagrees with a complete ban on inducements, a measure advocated by some lawmakers and anti-gambling advocates. While he supports changes to advertising regulations, he believes that prohibiting any form of offer that attracts wagers goes too far.
Rytenskild expressed his views in an interview with Racenet, an Australian horse racing news platform, in response to a question about a recent parliamentary inquiry on online gambling, where the possibility of a complete ban on inducements was raised.
If such a ban were to be implemented, a process that could take up to three years, it could harm the regulated gambling market. While inducements from regulated platforms would no longer be advertised, offshore operators could continue to offer inducements on many websites.
Rytenskild, along with other industry figures, has proposed a compromise that would allow inducements but restrict their inclusion in advertising. Although it may not be a perfect solution, it is one that would still benefit the regulated market without causing harm.