International players attending the World Series of Poker may have 30% of profits withheld after a tax specialist alleges a change in the law disallows casinos from issuing Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers.
Professional poker players hailing from the UK have three things going for them.
1. They play a game for a living.
2. They have the freedom to ‘work’ on their terms.
3. They don’t have to pay tax.
Currently, when a player from the UK gets lucky at an event like the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas, they don’t have to pay any tax on their winnings. The ‘special relationship’ that Presidents and Prime Ministers always refer to in time of crisis extends to a tax treaty between the two nations.
So, after spending several hours waiting to get to the cage in the Rio to pick up your winnings, there is no hassle with tax. The casino provides you with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), and Bob’s Yer Uncle.
But Fox believes that’s about to change.
Fox has heard on Marvin’s Grapevine that casinos are no longer allowed to issue ITINs, meaning you have to turn up with one in tow or the casino withholds 30% of your winnings until you do.
“The IRS sent a major casino here in Las Vegas a letter informing them that because of a provision in the PATH Act no one but the IRS can issue ITINs.” Fox wrote in a blog post you can read, right here.
And that ‘until you do’ part isn’t as easy as it used to be. According to Fox the only way to get hold of an ITIN is via the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and apparently, it’s easier to get pregnant on Wonder Woman’s island.
“Fuck!” As one British poker player typed to me when I mentioned it to him.
The WSOP Are Chilled Winston
Safe in the knowledge that international poker players are now soiling their knickers, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) very quickly issued this Tweet.
— WSOP (@WSOP) February 14, 2017
Fox then reacted in kind by suggesting the paperwork from the IRS is likely stuck in the Caesars food chain and hasn’t reached the inbox of WSOP employees via the Rio quite yet.
Let’s hope that the tax expert is not an expert, and the WSOP have got their facts straight. Otherwise, there is going to be a lot of whinging Brits peppering them with Tweets in the coming weeks.