Felixstowe: Pier Amusements chief warns over gaming machine taxation

PLANNED changes by the Government to the taxation regime for gaming machines will create “unwelcome complexities” for operators, according to a director of a Suffolk-based seaside amusements business.

Ministers plan to make takings from most types of gaming machine exempt from VAT and to replace the existing Amusement Machine Licence Duty (AMLD) with a new Machine Games Duty (MGD).

Andrew Green, operations director of Felixstowe based Pier Amusements, said: “It is of paramount importance to provide the right type of machines at the right time in order to maximise our customers’ enjoyment of our facilities.

“The introduction of MGD will bring unwelcome complexities to our business, and indeed the whole sector, as it will require changes to the way in which we record the income we take from the machines, in order to determine whether it will remain subject to VAT, or liable to the new MGD.”

Richard Wild, director of VAT at business advisers PKF, said: “Not only will the leisure industry now have to deal with a brand new tax, but their VAT profile will change massively, meaning that they can no longer reclaim VAT on the purchase of many machines, and will also suffer VAT on a lot of their running costs.

“The practical implications of the changes are affecting the industry right now, so operators need to be taking action immediately.

“Different machines will be subject to different tax regimes and we can help manage the transition from VAT to MGD, help maximise the VAT position, and work out whether operators will be better or worse off.”