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Skatt och poker – Inkomstskatterättens joker? En inkomstskatterättslig analys av poker i det svenska skattesystemet

Schwartz, Christian LU (2015) LAGM01 20151
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Likt jokern i kortleken kan pokervinster inta olika skepnader i det svenska skattesystemet. Pokervinster hänförs i skatterätten till lotterivinster som enligt Inkomstskattelagen är befriade från skatt ifall de härrör från spelanordnare inom EES. Andra pokervinster beskattas såsom inkomst av kapital. För dessa skattepliktiga vinster stadgas ett avdragsförbud för utgifter som uppstått i samband med lotterier. Ovan nämnda avdragsförbud har medfört orimliga beskattningskonsekvenser då insatser inte fått dras av mot vinsten. Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen har därför uttalat att vid beräkning av den beskattningsbara vinsten för lotterier avses årets överskott hos en spelanordnare. Således aktualiseras inte avdragsförbudet för insatsers vidkommande... (More)
Likt jokern i kortleken kan pokervinster inta olika skepnader i det svenska skattesystemet. Pokervinster hänförs i skatterätten till lotterivinster som enligt Inkomstskattelagen är befriade från skatt ifall de härrör från spelanordnare inom EES. Andra pokervinster beskattas såsom inkomst av kapital. För dessa skattepliktiga vinster stadgas ett avdragsförbud för utgifter som uppstått i samband med lotterier. Ovan nämnda avdragsförbud har medfört orimliga beskattningskonsekvenser då insatser inte fått dras av mot vinsten. Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen har därför uttalat att vid beräkning av den beskattningsbara vinsten för lotterier avses årets överskott hos en spelanordnare. Således aktualiseras inte avdragsförbudet för insatsers vidkommande vid pokerspel längre. Då kvittning inte är tillåtet mellan spelanordnare enligt Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen kan fortfarande situationer där de sammanlagda förlusterna vid poker överstiger vinsterna men där beskattning alltjämt utgår uppstå. Detta får anses vara ett avsteg från skatteförmågeprincipen.
Beskattningen av pokervinster utanför EES hade kunnat förbjudas av EU- domstolen om de ansågs strida mot den fria rörligheten för kapital som även är tillämpbar vid transaktioner till tredjeland. Troligast är dock att EU- domstolen fortsättningsvis anser att pokerspel faller inom den fria rörligheten för tjänst med hänsyn till tidigare praxis avseende skatter på lotterier och hasardspel.
I uppsatsen sker även positionering av poker i den svenska inkomstskatterätten i förhållande till den systematik och avgränsningar som finns till de olika inkomstslagen. Då pokerspel inte torde kunna hänföras varken till inkomstslaget kapital eller näringsverksamhet uppstår gränsdragningsfrågan mellan inkomstslaget tjänst och lotterier. Bedömningen om en verksamhet är att betrakta som lotteri regleras i Lotterilagen där det stadgas att hänsyn ska tas till verksamhetens allmänna karaktär och inte endast den grad av slump som präglar verksamheten. I uppsatsen konstateras att poker är ett spel där framgång nås genom skicklighet baserat på sannolikhetslära och matematik och där slumpen har en underordnad betydelse. I skatterättslig mening torde därför poker positionera sig såsom inkomst av tjänst. Att inte betrakta poker som ett lotteri i Lotterilagens mening skulle medföra betydande skattekonsekvenser för pokerspelarna då deras vinster skulle beskattas som lön. Vidare skulle övriga bestämmelser i Lotterilagen inte längre vara tillämpliga i förhållande till poker. Att tillståndskravet och åldersgränsen för pokerspel skulle tas bort skulle kunna få oönskade konsekvenser.
Pokerns roll som joker i den svenska inkomstskatterätten har under de senaste åren fasats ut något. Min prognos är att den lagstiftande och den rättskipande makten trots pokerns tvivelaktiga karaktär av lotteri fortsatt kommer att se den som ett sådant. (Less)
Abstract
Like the joker in a deck of cards, poker winnings assume various guises in the Swedish tax law system. In tax law poker profits attribute to lottery winnings, which under the Income Tax Act are exempt from tax if they derive from gambling providers within the EEA. Other poker winnings are taxed as capital gains. For those taxable profits a deductibility of expenses incurred in connection with lotteries are prohibited. The non-deductibility has brought exorbitant taxation consequences when stakes can not be deducted against profits. The Supreme Administrative Court has therefore stated that the calculation of the taxable profits of lotteries should refer to the yearly profit of a gambling provider. Thus, the prohibition of deduction no... (More)
Like the joker in a deck of cards, poker winnings assume various guises in the Swedish tax law system. In tax law poker profits attribute to lottery winnings, which under the Income Tax Act are exempt from tax if they derive from gambling providers within the EEA. Other poker winnings are taxed as capital gains. For those taxable profits a deductibility of expenses incurred in connection with lotteries are prohibited. The non-deductibility has brought exorbitant taxation consequences when stakes can not be deducted against profits. The Supreme Administrative Court has therefore stated that the calculation of the taxable profits of lotteries should refer to the yearly profit of a gambling provider. Thus, the prohibition of deduction no longer has an impact on the stakes in poker. Since deduction is not possible between different gambling providers, according to the Supreme Administrative Court, situations can still occur where poker winnings are taxed although the total losses exceed the total income. This may be a deviation from the principle of tax-paying capacity.
The taxation of poker winnings from outside the EEA could have been prohibited by the EU-court if they were considered to be contrary to the free movement of capital which is also applicable to third countries. However, the EU-court henceforth regards poker as falling within the application of the free movement of services considering previous practise regarding taxes on lotteries and gambling.
In this thesis there is also a positioning of poker in the Swedish income tax system in relation to the scheme and the definitions of various types of income. Since poker is not likely attributable either to income from capital gains or business profits the distinction issue arises between income of employment and lotteries. The assessment whether an activity is to be considered as a lottery is regulated by the Lottery Act which prescribes that account should be taken to the overall character of the activity and not only the grade of chance that characterizes the activity. In this thesis it is concluded that poker is a game where success achieved through skill based on probability theory and mathematics and in which chance has a secondary importance. In tax purposes poker should therefore be positioned as income from employment. To not consider poker as a lottery in the Lottery Act would have significant tax consequences for poker players because their profits would be taxed as wages. Moreover, other provisions of the Lottery Act would no longer be applicable in relation to poker. Since the authorization requirement and the minimum age for poker games would be removed, unintended consequences could arise.
Poker's role as the Joker in the Swedish income tax law system has in recent years been phased out. My prediction is that the legislative and judicial power, in spite of poker's dubious character as a lottery will continue to see it as such. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Schwartz, Christian LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Tax and poker – The joker of the income tax law? An analysis on the tax law meaning of poker in the swedish tax system from an income tax law perspective
course
LAGM01 20151
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
lottery, lotteri, poker, Skatterätt, tax law
language
Swedish
id
5434147
date added to LUP
2015-09-16 15:36:12
date last changed
2015-09-16 15:36:12
@misc{5434147,
  abstract     = {Like the joker in a deck of cards, poker winnings assume various guises in the Swedish tax law system. In tax law poker profits attribute to lottery winnings, which under the Income Tax Act are exempt from tax if they derive from gambling providers within the EEA. Other poker winnings are taxed as capital gains. For those taxable profits a deductibility of expenses incurred in connection with lotteries are prohibited. The non-deductibility has brought exorbitant taxation consequences when stakes can not be deducted against profits. The Supreme Administrative Court has therefore stated that the calculation of the taxable profits of lotteries should refer to the yearly profit of a gambling provider. Thus, the prohibition of deduction no longer has an impact on the stakes in poker. Since deduction is not possible between different gambling providers, according to the Supreme Administrative Court, situations can still occur where poker winnings are taxed although the total losses exceed the total income. This may be a deviation from the principle of tax-paying capacity.
The taxation of poker winnings from outside the EEA could have been prohibited by the EU-court if they were considered to be contrary to the free movement of capital which is also applicable to third countries. However, the EU-court henceforth regards poker as falling within the application of the free movement of services considering previous practise regarding taxes on lotteries and gambling.
In this thesis there is also a positioning of poker in the Swedish income tax system in relation to the scheme and the definitions of various types of income. Since poker is not likely attributable either to income from capital gains or business profits the distinction issue arises between income of employment and lotteries. The assessment whether an activity is to be considered as a lottery is regulated by the Lottery Act which prescribes that account should be taken to the overall character of the activity and not only the grade of chance that characterizes the activity. In this thesis it is concluded that poker is a game where success achieved through skill based on probability theory and mathematics and in which chance has a secondary importance. In tax purposes poker should therefore be positioned as income from employment. To not consider poker as a lottery in the Lottery Act would have significant tax consequences for poker players because their profits would be taxed as wages. Moreover, other provisions of the Lottery Act would no longer be applicable in relation to poker. Since the authorization requirement and the minimum age for poker games would be removed, unintended consequences could arise.
Poker's role as the Joker in the Swedish income tax law system has in recent years been phased out. My prediction is that the legislative and judicial power, in spite of poker's dubious character as a lottery will continue to see it as such.},
  author       = {Schwartz, Christian},
  keyword      = {lottery,lotteri,poker,Skatterätt,tax law},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Skatt och poker – Inkomstskatterättens joker? En inkomstskatterättslig analys av poker i det svenska skattesystemet},
  year         = {2015},
}