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Betting tax extended to online bookmakers

BETTING taxes are to be extended to online bookmakers and gambling exchanges.

Internet operators had previously been exempt from the levy on wagers placed in bookies shops and at track-sides.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan revealed the move in the Finance Bill, which gives effect to the Budget along with other new measures.

The Government has also postponed moves to restrict a property tax relief announced in the Budget.

The announcement that the relief -- known as Section 23 -- was to be restricted from next year had generated huge controversy among those who have investment properties.

Many people claimed they would be bankrupt if it was introduced.

Thousands of representations have been made to TDs from all parties since the change was announced in December.

Many of these investors are struggling to meet repayments.

But yesterday the Government, as part of the Finance Bill, said it would carry out an economic assessment of the measure before it is introduced.

Tax experts said this did not mean the measure was being dropped but instead was being delayed.

Some changes may be introduced, but the indications were that the Government intends to make the controversial alterations to the tax relief.

Section 23 is a tax relief that applies to rented residential property in a tax-incentive area.

Anyone with one of these properties gets tax relief for the capital expenditure incurred on the building or refurbishing of the property.

Crucially, additional relief from the Section 23 property can be used as a tax relief on any other Irish rental income of the taxpayer. But Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said in future the relief would be restricted to the income from the Section 23 property only.

Tax specialist at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Ken O'Brien said: "If this goes through it will be very painful for small operators. Many of them could go bankrupt."

Mr O'Brien said the changes to the tax break meant many investors would effectively end up having a tax charge imposed on their rental income.

Irish Independent