Skatteverket, which is Sweden’s tax authority, has suddenly taken a keen interest in their country’s poker players. Going further, the group is demanding that professional grinders pay taxes on money made “outside the European Economic Area” between the years of 2008 and 2011. The beginning of the letter sent to suspected pro players reads as follows:
(We have) obtained information that you have played poker in one or more Internet sites based outside the European Economic Area (EEA) for the period 2008-2011. Please submit bank statements or similar documents from any internet site where you had the bankroll for the period 2008-2011.
The letter eventually names specific sites like Absolute Poker, Full Tilt, Bodog and PokerStars as places where grinders might have played. Furthermore, Skatteverket asks that players reveal their poker room screen names, bank statements, and online banking (Moneybookers, NETeller, PayPal) information so the matter can be investigated more thoroughly.
The back taxes announcement and investigations come on the heels of raids that have been conducted on Swedish poker players’ homes. An unidentified pro player had his laptop taken for evidence and was told that he raised suspicion after online tournament-tracking websites were checked.
As you can see, it’s definitely not good that Skatteverket is monitoring poker players so closely. And what’s particularly bad is that the tax authority isn’t exactly known for dealing with poker taxes in a rational way. They used to judge taxes based on individual hands; however, they’ve since changed this to wins/losses on a per-site basis. But even this isn’t ideal because a grinder could win $30,000 on one site, lose $20,000 on another, and still be paying taxes on the $30k in winnings on the first site.
We hope that Swedish grinders can make it through this tough back taxes debacle without too many headaches.