The Swedish tax agency, Skatteverket, sent police into some poker players’ homes across Sweden on Tuesday. Under Swedish law gambling winnings within the European Economic Area are not taxed; however, gambling winnings from outside the European Economic Area are taxable. It appears that many poker players were not filing their income tax returns. While some online poker sites are not taxable, many others are. It also can get confusing with some sites: PokerStars.com is outside of the EEA while PokerStars.eu is within the EEA. PokerStars.eu wasn’t formed until 2012, so many Swedish players playing on PokerStars likely owe back taxes.
This should not have been a surprise to any Swedish players. Back in 2008 I reported on Skatteverket’s use of “spiders” to find poker players. Governments move very slowly, so the fact that it took four years for results is not surprising.
Skatteverket sent a letter to poker players; a copy of it was published in Swedish in Poker Magazine. Players were given until December 10th to respond with documentation for 2008 – 2011.