Poker Player Victim of Obsolete Tax Law: Must Pay €500K for Losing

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

"If you had the bad luck to play (poker) in 2011, your life can be destroyed."  SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE

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So says chess grandmaster Francisco Vallejo Pons, who just happens to be an established poker player.

He is speaking in reference to a now obsolute tax law in Spain.  Pons has been in battle with Spain's Tax Authority for the past two years.

He shared the experience via his Facebook page.

"We go back to the year 2011. I play some online poker, for fun, I'm not a gambler by any means. I lost everything, a few thousand and I stopped playing. Then I stopped.

"In 2016 I received a letter from the [Spanish tax authority] requesting more than six figures! More than half a million euros because I played poker and I lost. It seems a macabre joke, but it is not, from that moment begins a snowball that crushes you."

The law in question, changed in 2012, dictated that all online gambling winnings be subject to a 47 percent tax, while losses cannot be deducted.

Win or lose, you're screwed, or so it seems.  Pons is far from a bad poker player.

From PokerNews.com:

While Vallejo had over €1 million in online poker “winnings,” he lost a bit more than that to net a small loss overall. Ignoring the loss column, the Spanish tax authority demanded in 2016 Vallejo pay the more than €500,000 that represents 47 percent of the winnings column – money that Vallejo did not actually win and did not cash out.

All forms of gambling for any significant period of time produce a combination of wins and losses, and most tax systems reflect this reality, only taxing net winnings. While this is the case in Spain now and ever since 2012, Vallejo’s brief stint playing online fell just before 2012 and he has become a victim of the old law as a result.

- Ace King, Gambling911.com

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