Nepal: Government moves to close tax loophole

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The Nepalese government is looking at introducing new legislation that would empower it to confiscate the personal property of any casino operators which failed to pay their taxes.

The measure forms part of the government’s new regulatory framework for casinos, which forms part of the Federal Tourism Bill, and will include a provision allowing officials to seize assets both within and outside Nepal’s borders.

The government would also be able to seize passports and freeze the bank accounts of those deemed liable as well as cutting off access to utilities.

Under the proposed bill, operators would be required to spend at least two percent of their profits on corporate social responsibility schemes, while stronger penalties for allowing locals to gamble would introduced.

The new legislation sees the government moving to close a legal loophole that has permitted three casinos which had been shut down for failing to pay their taxes to remain open after they obtained an interim order by the Supreme Court.

However the bill does not solely focus on enforcement and also aims to expand the potential locations for casinos from five-star hotels only to include luxury resorts as well.

“We have held several rounds of discussions on the new law. We plan to consult the private sector and the public regarding the new bill,” said Tourism Ministry spokesman Ghanshyam Upadhyaya. “The final draft will be sent to the Finance and Law ministries for their approval before submitting it to the Cabinet.

“House committees may hold several rounds of deliberations before the bill is endorsed.”

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