As of 28 February, HMRC had received 23,624 registration applications from pubs and clubs — 60% of the estimated venues.
HMRC said it is planning a programme of educational and compliance activity, including visits, to encourage pubs that have not yet registered to do so. It expects that these will be smaller pub businesses that may not understand their obligations under this new tax.
From 1 February, anyone providing gaming machines for play from premises not covered by an MGD registration may have to pay a penalty for failing to register.
Licensees can be charged a penalty of between 30% to 100% of any unpaid tax.
However, HMRC said it will take a sympathetic approach to penalties in the early days of the new tax.
If a business was not registered at 1 February but is before 1 April, HMRC might not issue a penalty, provided that proper MGD records are kept for the period before the business was registered.
Further information is available at www.hmrc.gov.uk/machinegamesduty/late-registration-news.pdf
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “It is very good to see that HMRC is taking a pragmatic approach with late registrations under the new system. However, pubs with machines that are still not registered should get this done as soon as possible, to avoid any chance of a penalty.”