A poker player from Bergen lost his court case against the state last week, and has been ordered to pay NOK 91,000 in punitive taxes for failing to declare his poker winnings. Such winnings often are tax-free in Norway, as are lottery gains, but not when they’re so regular and large that they can be considered income.
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that the court agreed with tax authorities in Bergen that Halland’s poker winnings amounted to income from business activity, not just recreational poker playing. Even though his winnings were less than NOK 10,000 per transaction, he accumulated NOK 1.8 million in tax year 2005, which after costs resulted in NOK 686,000 in taxable income.
Halland hadn’t declared any of it, and wound up getting hit not only with back taxes owed but also a fine and court costs. He told DN he would not appeal.
He’s not the only poker player in Norway being challenged by the tax authorities. DN reported that players of poker and other forms of gambling have been audited later and charged with tax evasion. Those playing online and having high currency exchange activity are especially vulnerable to being monitored.