Thursday July 21,2011 : Tax compliance audit by Italian authorities
Following on from the Italian Revenue Agency and Guardia di Finanza's (Financial Police) request for income information from Italian poker professionals earlier this year, an operation appropriately named "All In" has been launched.
All income earned by Italian poker players via interactive media such as dedicated television channels run by foreign operators and live tournaments abroad must be declared to the Italian authorities and is subject to personal income tax without any allowable deductions for expenses.
The authorities’ initial analysis of over four thousand Italian players who have been lucky at the tables indicate that approximately Euro 73 million of winnings were not declared via the correct channels.
Operation "All In" is focusing on poker players who are fiscally resident in Italy who chose to participate in tournaments abroad. Fiscal details under the microscope include live winnings from abroad between 2006 and 2009 and errant tax payers have been invited to visit their tax authority and disclose any winnings they "forgot" to mention previously.
The drive to increase tax compliance is targeted at those Italian players who thought they "had fiscal immunity and could safely exploit what they thought was a grey area". Italian authorities say it was relatively easy to identify, unequivocally, all individuals who engaged in the pastime.
A departmental spokesperson said "online winnings have been excluded for the moment" while the authority concentrates on live winnings but with the recent opening of the cash games market in Italy it may be in the poker playing fraternities best interest to ensure they are tax compliant in anticipation of the tax net being thrown wider in the future.