Different online poker pros are targeted by the Canadian tax agency
Some of Canada’s top online poker players have recently been targeted by the nation’s tax authorities. According to a feature a few days ago in the French-language Journal du Montreal, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has taken interest in more than a dozen online pros who have recorded online wins. Five names are mentioned in the Quebec based paper, based on their place of residence.
Those players are Marc-Étienne McLaughlin, Pascal Lefrançois, Sammy Lafleur, François Billard, and Vincent Jacques. Each of the five, according to the report, is being investigated for possible underreporting or nonreporting of poker income generated from 2014 to 2016.
The five players above were each verified to have received queries from the CRA. According to a letter provided by Billard’s attorney to the Journal du Montreal: The verification concerns the player’s income from his poker game activities and the CRA is investigating whether the way the defendant operates his poker makes his earnings taxable.”
In Canada, income from true “games of chance” is not taxable; however, once the games become an ongoing source of professional income, then all incomes becomes taxable. All of the five mentioned poker pros being investigated have been deemed to be such career-professional players.
Canadas current activities closely resemble a program launched by Sweden’s tax authorities a few years back, but that’s just one example. Among other countries who are known to have taken a special interest in high-stakes poker pros’ reported income are Spain, Israel, Germany, Norway and many more. We live in another time and the countries care about online poker and understanding how much money players are earning with it. 10 years ago nobody cared about it and Online Poker was under the radar, but not in 2019!
Anyway, it is a very complicated topic and very difficult for any tax agency to calculate all and get reliable numbers.