Less than a month ago, Norwegian Felix Stephensen became the country’s all-time live poker tournament money leader by finishing runner-up in the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event for $5,147,911. However, according to Norway’s English news source TheLocal.no, the young poker talent will be faced with a hefty $2.5 million-plus tax bill on those winnings during the upcoming fiscal year.
The Local cites Norwegian business lawyer Trond Erik Andersen, who told the online newspaper that “poker prizes are specifically mentioned in the ABC of (Norwegian) 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.” Andersen added that the total tax rate comes out to 50.4% due to the poker player’s status as a “self employed” individual.
The country’s tax law applies even though Stephensen has made the United Kingdom his home in recent years. Apparently, Stephensen is roughly six months shy of being exempt from Norwegian tax laws due to taking up residence in a different country. Having lived in London since early 2012, he will be able to claim that exemption precisely three years after the move if he fits certain criteria.
Stephensen, who is in his mid-20s, put in a stellar performance at this year’s WSOP Main Event — outlasting every opponent except the eventual winner, Martin Jacobson of Sweden — who took home the $10,000,000 first place prize.