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Norway poker star wins big sum, loses big sum

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Chips are down for one Norwegian poker player. Photo: Shutterstock
23:48 CET+01:00
Norway's unluckiest gambler Felix Stephensen is to lose half his 35 million kroner prize money, won at the Poker World Championship held this week in Las Vegas. The Norwegian government will take just over half in tax deduction, it was revealed Friday.

Stephensen finished second to Swede Martin Jacobson in the World Series of Poker Championship in Las Vegas, to claim the multi-million dollar purse.

The Norwegian promised to throw a party for his fans in Las Vegas following his cash coup, but he did not mention the hefty tax bill he will receive from his government or did he say what he would spend his money on, reported Finansavisen.
 
Even though Stephensen lives in London in the UK, he must still pay Norwegian tax.
 
Norway business lawyer, Trond Erik Andersen, explains the tax regulations are clear.
 
“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,” said Andersen.
 
For the average Norwegian, the prize money would be eligible to 27 percent tax. For Felix Stephensen, the situation is different. He is registered as a professional poker player and will therefore be taxed like any other self-employed person would.

Andersen said: "For a professional poker player there will be surtax plus the self-employed person's social security contribution, in addition to the 27 percent. 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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Felix Stephensen played for Norway in the poker World Championship in Las Vegas, but he lives currently in London. However, his moving to London does not mean that he avoids Norwegian tax duty.
 
After three years living outside of Norway and if they fulfill a criteria set out by Norwegian law, a person is no longer elegible for tax. Stephensen has only lived in London for two-and-a-half years.

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