Skatteverket, the Swedish tax agency, a body equivalent to the American IRS, claims that it has discovered unreported poker winnings worth 250 million Kronor or €27.5 million.
The poker gaming community first heard of this when Dag Hardyson, the project manager for Skatteverket, discussed it at an interview on Radio Sweden. According to Hardyson, the agency has listed around 50 gamblers who have not reported their poker winnings to the tax authorities on a regular basis. He said: “Many of the people involved are professional poker players. As far as I know, this is the first time that we have used the opportunity to seek information about unidentified people.”
Speaking about the methods used by the tax agency to come to its conclusions, he said that the tax authorities investigated nicknames used by gamblers while placing bets at the tables. He said that this methodology can now be applied for several other cases too.
Hardyson is of the opinion that collaborative efforts on the part of Swedish tax authorities and certain global tax heavens could serve as a model for future investigations, considering the fact that gamblers continue to use nicknames in all varieties of gambling activities.
Revealing further details on how exactly tax authorities identified players who dodged the rigid tax system in Sweden, Hardyson said that tax authorities worked in collaboration with authorities of global tax heavens while simultaneously researching bulletin boards, databases of online poker rooms, and online poker forums. Using these methodologies, Swedish tax authorities drew up a list of around 50 online gamblers, who consistently use unregulated gambling sites and did not pay taxes on their winnings.
Writing on Aftonbladet, a leading newspaper on Sweden, Dan Glimme, brand ambassador for Unibet Poker, said that the players who have been identified will now fined “millions of Swedish Kronor.” In addition, they will also be made to pay their pending taxes. In his report, Glimmel explains that the tax agency’s investigation reveals that the abilities of the Swedish tax authorities to track financial operators related to online poker gaming have gotten better. The only way to escape getting into trouble with the law is to play at online poker rooms licensed in Sweden.
Swedish law requires players to report winnings at online poker rooms that are not licensed by any European Union (EU) member state and to pay taxes on any money won while playing at unregulated poker sites.