Poker Players are struggling with Spanish Tax Authorities

The Spanish tax authorities seem to be on a crackdown to tax old winnings from poker players. The news come as poker players get ready for the PokerStars European Poker Tour Barcelona. A regular in the tournament; Hossein Ensan who is a resident of Germany said that he received information from the Spanish tax authorities that he owes them a hefty amount of money years after he cashed at the EPT Barcelona 2014. 

In 2014, Ensan was playing in small stake tournaments. He advanced to make a final three of the EPT Barcelona Main Event. Sam Phillips, Andre Lettau and Ensan came to a deal where Ensan won €652,667; in this, Phillips took home the most money while Lettau was the official winner of the tournament. 

Ensan explained that he had settled everything with the German tax authorities and he clarified everything that he had sorted out with them. But according to the Spanish tax authorities, Ensan still need to settle taxes of €235,000 and interests, as well as, legal fees. 

According to Firma, who were interviewing Ensan on the issue, he said that he had hired a Spanish tax expert who will fight the request for him. It is said that other German player have received similar letter from the Spanish government. Lettau is from Germany but has not been under pressure from the Spanish authorities. Germany is seen to produce some of the most successful poker players in the world even though a lot of them have relocated to other countries which means that different treaties might apply. 

It is said that the Spanish tax code is one of the strictest in Europe and it is without doubt that the poker players have felt the impact before. Last spring, Chess Grandmaster Francisco Vellejo Pons shared his distress after he had been crushed by tax authorities for more than one million in online winnings. 

Vallejo said that he had never won anything at all. He did not dispute cashing for the money but he never cashed even a penny. He said that he lost all the money he had deposited. 

Patrick Leonard said on twitter that the Spanish authorities were going after old poker winnings which is a scary move. There are claims that there are Danish, Italian and French players who are being contacted with tax demands. 

Firma said that they had tried contacting the Spanish tax authorities but they are yet to hear from them. If you want to make huge winnings similar to the professional poker players, play at and you will be making huge payouts without worrying about the Spanish tax authorities. However, you need to understand terms regulating online gambling in your jurisdiction to avoid being followed up by the relevant authorities in your country. 

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