Stiff Tax Bill For World Series Of Poker Main Event Finalist

The Norwegian taxman will claim half of runner-up Felix Stephensen's winnings

World Series of Poker main event runner-up this year, Felix Stephensen, will see only half of his $5,147,911 (around 35 million Norwegian kronor) winnings once the Norwegian taxman has finished with him.

Although Stephensen has lived in London for the past two-and-a-half years he remains a Norwegian and is subject to Norwegian taxes at just over 50 percent until he has lived abroad for more than three years.

The Norwegian publication Finansavisen reported the tax hit, quoting a leading Norwegian tax expert who said:

"Poker prizes are specifically mentioned in the ABC of tax regulations. It says that individual prizes of more than 1,000 kroner ($150) are eligible for tax, but there are possibilities to deduct expenses, like starting fees, that relate directly to poker tournaments."

The expert said that for the average Norwegian, the prize money would be taxed at 27 percent, but in Stephensen's case he is registered as a professional poker player and will therefore be taxed like any other self-employed person at the much higher rate.

"For a professional poker player there will be surtax plus the self-employed person's social security contribution, in addition to the 27 percent," the expert explained. "His income will be taxed at 50.4 percent. Like all self-employed people, he will get deductions for expenses related to poker playing."

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