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Beskattning av pokervinster efter Grebbestadsdomen

Vildhede, Johan LU (2011) JURM02 20112
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Beskattning av pokervinster har inte minst under 2011 varit ett ämne för många diskussioner i media. Vissa anser att det krävs stora inslag av skicklighet för att vara duktig på poker och att det inte borde anses vara ett lotteri. Denna skicklighetsaspekt var fall för prövning i HD under 2011 i den s.k. Grebbestadsdomen. Vissa ansåg att domen skulle direkt avgöra om pokervinster skulle komma att beskattas. Jag har i arbetet undersökt vilka aspekter som kan göra poker till ett skicklighetsspel. Grebbestadsdomen har jag gått igenom samt undersökt om några förändringar i skattebestämmelserna om pokervinster skett efter domen eller om några kommer att ske. Jag har även undersökt huruvida ett pokerproffs skulle kunna försörja sig på poker om... (More)
Beskattning av pokervinster har inte minst under 2011 varit ett ämne för många diskussioner i media. Vissa anser att det krävs stora inslag av skicklighet för att vara duktig på poker och att det inte borde anses vara ett lotteri. Denna skicklighetsaspekt var fall för prövning i HD under 2011 i den s.k. Grebbestadsdomen. Vissa ansåg att domen skulle direkt avgöra om pokervinster skulle komma att beskattas. Jag har i arbetet undersökt vilka aspekter som kan göra poker till ett skicklighetsspel. Grebbestadsdomen har jag gått igenom samt undersökt om några förändringar i skattebestämmelserna om pokervinster skett efter domen eller om några kommer att ske. Jag har även undersökt huruvida ett pokerproffs skulle kunna försörja sig på poker om poker skulle komma att beskattas som ett skicklighetsspel, alltså i inkomstslaget tjänst. Jag har även granskat SKV:s roll och inflytande inom beskattningsområdet samt om lagarna som finns angående beskattning av pokervinster är tillräckliga.

För en i Sverige obegränsat skattskyldig person är pokervinster erhållna i Sverige och inom EES skattefria. Detta då både tolkningar av lotteriinspektionen och ställningstaganden av SKV anser poker vara ett kortspel som är ett lotteri enligt 3 § lotterilagen. Enligt 8 kap. 3 § första stycket IL är svenska lotterivinster skattefria medan utländska vinster är beskattningsbara enligt 42 kap. 25 § IL. Ett undantag finns i 8 kap. 3 § andra stycket IL som stadgar att lotterivinster från länder inom EES är skattefria.

HD kom i Grebbestadsdomen fram till att poker i turneringsform inte är väsentligt beroende på slumpen i den mening som avses i 16 kap. 14 § BrB. Vidare menar de att cash games i sin spelform beror till väsentlig del på slumpen med hänvisning till att en spelare kan lämna bordet när som helst samt att nya inköp kan göras. Poker anses alltså, enligt HD, delvis vara ett skicklighetsspel beroende på spelform. Det går dock inte att ta bort det slumpmoment ur poker som utdelningen av korten utgör vilket enligt lotteriinspektionen innebär att poker inte kan ses som ett rent skicklighetsspel. Lotteriinspektionen anser alltså att poker skall vara fortsatt skattefritt och SKV kom med ett nytt ställningstagande efter domen 2011 där de förtydligade vissa aspekter angående internetpoker och menade även de att poker skall vara skattefritt.

Inga förändringar har alltså skett på beskattningsområdet gällande pokervinster efter domen men om det skulle ske, hur skulle pokerspelandet påverkas i Sverige? Jag har givit exempel på beskattningssituationer som skulle uppstå för pokerproffs om deras vinster skulle beskattas i tjänst. Jag har gjort skattekalkyleringar i situationer där en spelare skulle spela poker genom ett AB respektive HB för att se hur pass mycket av vinsten som skulle försvinna i skatt och huruvida fortsatt spel är möjligt. Jag anser att fortsatt spel är möjligt även vid beskattning. Detta då avdrag är möjliga att göra för förluster samt resor, datorer osv. Dessutom skulle spelare få en social trygghet via socialavgifterna som de ej åtnjuter i nuläget. Jag har givit exempel där en spelare i ett HB är under 26 år gammal vid årets start. Den totala summan som denne spelare får betala i skatt är dryga 33 % av vinsten efter avdrag. Procentsatsen ökar om en spelare är 26 år eller äldre.

Något som dock är troligt vid införd tjänstbeskattning är att ett flertal spelare troligen kommer flytta från Sverige. En hel del kommer förmodligen sluta eller trappa ner med pokern och skatteintäkterna kommer vara relativt små. Poker är inte som ett traditionellt lotteri i och med att det oftast spelas i flera omgångar samt att spelarna själva i viss mån bestämmer sina satsningar beroende på spelutvecklingen. Poker är heller inte, i de flesta fall, som ett traditionellt yrke där det finns någon garanterad lön utan en spelare måste satsa pengar för att kunna vinna pengar.

SKV har tolkat beskattning av pokervinster i tre ställningstaganden som de publicerat på sin hemsida mellan 2005 och 2011. Lagarna som finns är inte tillräckligt specifika för att behandla beskattning av pokervinster så SKV har blivit en viktig myndighet i diskussionen om vilka bestämmelser som gäller. Detta då SKV:s ställningstaganden, som inte är några lagar utan allmänna råd, har tolkat skattereglerna som så att skattebetalarna har fått skattefrihet vilket inte har lett till något överklagande. På det viset står sig SKV:s tolkning då ingen hittills har överklagat att denne inte behöver betala någon skatt. SKV har bland annat tolkat vad ett spel innebär, att avdragsrätt borde finnas på pokervinster erhållna utanför EES och vad som gäller angående vinster över internet.

Ett område där förtydligande verkligen krävs anser jag vara spel över internet. Jag har visat på svårigheter för spelare att veta var pokersajter har sin hemvist vilket betyder att det är svårt att veta huruvida vinster från olika sidor är skattefria eller inte.

Något som klart pekar på att poker kommer att beskattas anser jag dock inte finnas då slumpmomentet spelar en så pass stor roll i spelet även om det enligt mig inte är övervägande. (Less)
Abstract
Taxation on poker winnings have not the least in 2011 been a topic of discussion in the media. Some believe that it requires significant element of skill to be good at poker and that it should not be considered a lottery. This skill aspect was tried in the Supreme Court in 2011 in the so-called Grebbestad verdict. Some felt that the appeal would directly determine whether poker profits would be taxed. I have in my thesis, examined the aspects that can make poker a skill game. Grebbestad verdict, I’ve gone through and examined whether any changes in tax rules on poker winnings have occurred after the decision or if any will. I have also investigated whether a poker professional could make a living off poker if poker would be taxed as a game... (More)
Taxation on poker winnings have not the least in 2011 been a topic of discussion in the media. Some believe that it requires significant element of skill to be good at poker and that it should not be considered a lottery. This skill aspect was tried in the Supreme Court in 2011 in the so-called Grebbestad verdict. Some felt that the appeal would directly determine whether poker profits would be taxed. I have in my thesis, examined the aspects that can make poker a skill game. Grebbestad verdict, I’ve gone through and examined whether any changes in tax rules on poker winnings have occurred after the decision or if any will. I have also investigated whether a poker professional could make a living off poker if poker would be taxed as a game of skill, thus, as income from services. I have also examined Tax Board’s role and influence in the area of taxation and if the laws that exist on taxation of poker winnings are sufficient.

For one in Sweden unlimited taxable person, poker winnings obtained in Sweden and in the EEA is tax-free. That when interpretations from the Gaming Board and statements from the tax office believes poker to be a card game that is a lottery under the 3 § of the lotteries act. Under chapter 8 § 3 first paragraph of the Income Tax Act is Swedish lottery winnings tax-free while foreign winnings are taxable under chapter 42 § 25 of the Income Tax Act. An exception exists in chapter 8 § 3 second paragraph of the Income Tax Act which provides that lottery winnings from EEA countries are tax-free.

In the Grebbestad verdict the Supreme Court came to the conclusion that poker tournaments are not significantly dependent on chance in the meaning of chapter 16 § 14 of the Penal Code. Furthermore, they claim that cash games in the form that it is played depends substantially on chance on the grounds that a player can leave the table at any time and that new purchases can be made. The Supreme Court means that poker is thus partly a game of skill, depending on the game. It is not possible to remove the element of chance from poker that the distribution of the cards is which according to the Gaming Board makes it impossible for poker to be seen as a pure game of skill. The Gaming Board therefore considers that poker is to remain tax-free and the tax office came with a new position after the decision in 2011 where they clarified some aspects concerning internet poker and they also meant that poker should be free of tax.

No changes have occurred in the area of taxation applicable on poker winnings after the decision but if so were to happen, how would poker gambling be affected in Sweden? I have given examples of tax situations that would arise for the poker professionals if their winnings would be taxed. I have made tax calculations in situations where a player would play poker through corporation or partnership to see how much of the gain would be lost in tax and whether any further play is possible. I believe that further play is possible, even with tax. This is because the deductions for losses and travel, computers etc. are possible. In addition, players would receive social security through social security contributions as they are not enjoying at the moment. I have given examples where a player in a partnership is under 26 years old at the year start. The total amount of tax this player is to pay is just over 33 % of earnings after deductions. The percentage increases if a player is 26 years or older.

Something that is likely if taxation is started is that many players will probably move from Sweden. Some players will probably slow down their play or totally stop playing and tax revenues will be relatively small. Poker is not like a traditional lottery cause it is usually played in several rounds and the players themselves, to some extent determines their bets depending on the game development. Poker is not, in most cases, as a traditional occupation because in poker there is no guaranteed salary and a player must wage money to win money.

The Tax Office has interpreted the taxation of poker winnings in the three positions that they published on their website between 2005 and 2011. The laws that exist are not specific enough to address the taxation of poker winnings so the Tax Office has become a major authority in the discussion about what rules apply. This is because the Tax Office’s positions, which are not laws, but general counsel, has interpreted the tax rules so that taxpayers have received tax exemption which has not led to any appeal. In this way, the interpretations from the Tax Office stands since no one have appealed because he doesn’t have to pay taxes. The Tax Office has among other things; interpret what a game means, that deductions should be possible on poker winnings received from outside the EEA and what applies on profits over the internet.

One area where clarification is really needed is about poker played over the internet. I have demonstrated the difficulties for players to know where the poker sites are located which means it is difficult to know whether the gains from the various poker sites are tax-free or not.

I don’t see anything that clearly indicates that poker will be taxed because the element of chance plays such a major role in the game even though in my opinion the element of chance is not overwhelming. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Vildhede, Johan LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Taxation on poker winnings after the Grebbestad verdict
course
JURM02 20112
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Skatterätt, Poker, Grebbestadsdomen, pokerbeskattning, beskattning av pokervinster
language
Swedish
id
2277544
date added to LUP
2012-02-22 11:28:03
date last changed
2012-02-22 11:28:03
@misc{2277544,
  abstract     = {Taxation on poker winnings have not the least in 2011 been a topic of discussion in the media. Some believe that it requires significant element of skill to be good at poker and that it should not be considered a lottery. This skill aspect was tried in the Supreme Court in 2011 in the so-called Grebbestad verdict. Some felt that the appeal would directly determine whether poker profits would be taxed. I have in my thesis, examined the aspects that can make poker a skill game. Grebbestad verdict, I’ve gone through and examined whether any changes in tax rules on poker winnings have occurred after the decision or if any will. I have also investigated whether a poker professional could make a living off poker if poker would be taxed as a game of skill, thus, as income from services. I have also examined Tax Board’s role and influence in the area of taxation and if the laws that exist on taxation of poker winnings are sufficient. 

For one in Sweden unlimited taxable person, poker winnings obtained in Sweden and in the EEA is tax-free. That when interpretations from the Gaming Board and statements from the tax office believes poker to be a card game that is a lottery under the 3 § of the lotteries act. Under chapter 8 § 3 first paragraph of the Income Tax Act is Swedish lottery winnings tax-free while foreign winnings are taxable under chapter 42 § 25 of the Income Tax Act. An exception exists in chapter 8 § 3 second paragraph of the Income Tax Act which provides that lottery winnings from EEA countries are tax-free. 

In the Grebbestad verdict the Supreme Court came to the conclusion that poker tournaments are not significantly dependent on chance in the meaning of chapter 16 § 14 of the Penal Code. Furthermore, they claim that cash games in the form that it is played depends substantially on chance on the grounds that a player can leave the table at any time and that new purchases can be made. The Supreme Court means that poker is thus partly a game of skill, depending on the game. It is not possible to remove the element of chance from poker that the distribution of the cards is which according to the Gaming Board makes it impossible for poker to be seen as a pure game of skill. The Gaming Board therefore considers that poker is to remain tax-free and the tax office came with a new position after the decision in 2011 where they clarified some aspects concerning internet poker and they also meant that poker should be free of tax.
 
No changes have occurred in the area of taxation applicable on poker winnings after the decision but if so were to happen, how would poker gambling be affected in Sweden? I have given examples of tax situations that would arise for the poker professionals if their winnings would be taxed. I have made tax calculations in situations where a player would play poker through corporation or partnership to see how much of the gain would be lost in tax and whether any further play is possible. I believe that further play is possible, even with tax. This is because the deductions for losses and travel, computers etc. are possible. In addition, players would receive social security through social security contributions as they are not enjoying at the moment. I have given examples where a player in a partnership is under 26 years old at the year start. The total amount of tax this player is to pay is just over 33 % of earnings after deductions. The percentage increases if a player is 26 years or older. 

Something that is likely if taxation is started is that many players will probably move from Sweden. Some players will probably slow down their play or totally stop playing and tax revenues will be relatively small. Poker is not like a traditional lottery cause it is usually played in several rounds and the players themselves, to some extent determines their bets depending on the game development. Poker is not, in most cases, as a traditional occupation because in poker there is no guaranteed salary and a player must wage money to win money. 

The Tax Office has interpreted the taxation of poker winnings in the three positions that they published on their website between 2005 and 2011. The laws that exist are not specific enough to address the taxation of poker winnings so the Tax Office has become a major authority in the discussion about what rules apply. This is because the Tax Office’s positions, which are not laws, but general counsel, has interpreted the tax rules so that taxpayers have received tax exemption which has not led to any appeal. In this way, the interpretations from the Tax Office stands since no one have appealed because he doesn’t have to pay taxes. The Tax Office has among other things; interpret what a game means, that deductions should be possible on poker winnings received from outside the EEA and what applies on profits over the internet. 

One area where clarification is really needed is about poker played over the internet. I have demonstrated the difficulties for players to know where the poker sites are located which means it is difficult to know whether the gains from the various poker sites are tax-free or not. 

I don’t see anything that clearly indicates that poker will be taxed because the element of chance plays such a major role in the game even though in my opinion the element of chance is not overwhelming.},
  author       = {Vildhede, Johan},
  keyword      = {Skatterätt,Poker,Grebbestadsdomen,pokerbeskattning,beskattning av pokervinster},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Beskattning av pokervinster efter Grebbestadsdomen},
  year         = {2011},
}