Dutch Poker Players Catch Tax Break Worth Millions

Dutch poker players are due rebates worth millions thanks to a recent decision by the Netherlands Tax and Customs Administration.

Lex Veldhuis

Dutch poker pros like Lex Veldhuis caught lucky tax breaks thanks to a recent ruling. (Image: Twitter/Lex Veldhuis)

Dutch news site CasinoNieuws broke the story last week that a long-running battle between players and the tax authority has come to an end.

Local pros have been fighting to overturn tax demands on money won on PokerStars.eu. With the help of lawyer and poker enthusiast Pepijn Le Heux, the players have triumphed.

European Law Saves Dutch Poker Players Money

Profits from poker sites within the European Union haven’t been taxable under Dutch law since 2015. That fact isn’t disputed by players or the government.

What has been in dispute over the last few years is the location of PokerStars.eu. Players have argued that the site’s servers are based in Malta and, therefore, within the European Union.

The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration had a different opinion. In its view, PokerStars.eu is linked to PokerStars, which has its headquarters on the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man is outside the European Union, which means money won on the site was taxable at the national rate of 30.1%. Thanks to the work of Le Heux, the tax agency has changed its stance.

Using a precedent set by previous court rulings, the lawyer successfully argued that the location of PokerStars.eu should be where its servers are based (i.e., Malta).

The victory means that hundreds of Dutch poker players can now file for rebates. Per the ruling, any tax paid on winnings from PokerStars since 2012 will be returned.

The names of those represented by Le Heux haven’t been disclosed.

Tax Rebates Could be Worth Millions

Without specifics on earnings vs. expenditure, it’s hard to know how much individual players will receive. However, we looked at a recent run by Dutch pro and PokerStars ambassador Lex Veldhuis.

In January, he notched up $196,971 in MTT prize money on PokerStars. From the tournaments he cashed in, Veldhuis spent $28,313 on buy-ins.

It’s almost certain he spent more on other MTTs that he failed to cash in. However, based on the data that’s available, he made a profit of $168,658 profit.

Under the Netherlands’ old system, he would have paid 30.1% tax equal to $52,283 on those winnings. With a new understanding now in place, that money is his to keep.

Of course, that’s a fairly basic example based on limited information. However, it shows the amount of money Dutch players can save thanks to the tax authority’s change of heart.

Things will get even better for Dutch players in April when the country’s new licensing system comes into force. The remote gambling law will introduce a regulatory system that means operators will have servers in the Netherlands.

That, in turn, means players using all poker sites licensed in the Netherlands can keep 100% of their profits.

The only negative in an otherwise sea of positives is that any money won on PokerStars.fr will be taxed. As part of the agreement, players have to pay tax from money won on the French site.

This is likely to be a much lower figure than what’s going to be returned. However, as the Brits would say, the tax authority has found a way to get its pound of flesh or, in this case, a few ounces of it.

Written by
Daniel Smyth
Dan Smyth is a poker media journeyman who politely reminds CardsChat readers that poker is played all around the world, not just America.

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