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Poker Players Hit Hard by Spanish Taxes

May 15, 2018

Just as Spain is set to host the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) in Barcelona later this summer, a brand new headline has hit the web that could make players from certain jurisdictions stop and think twice about attending.

Hossein Ensan, an EPT regular based in Germany, says that he has been informed by Spain's tax authorities that he owes them a considerable debt after he made a huge cash out at EPT Barcelona back in 2014.

Four years ago, Ensan made the final three in the EPT Barcelona Main Event, in which he, Sam Phillips and Andre Lettau played to a situation that saw Ensan cash €652,667. Phillips claimed the largest share of the money, while it was Lettau who officially won the tourney.

Ensan was quick to settle his taxes with German officials back home, ascertaining that he had sorted out all of the necessary paperwork. However, according to tax authorities in Spain, Ensan apparently owes them as well. The player was sent a letter from the authorities demanding a payment of €235,000, over and above legal fees and years' worth of interest.

Other players from Germany have also reported having been sent similar letters of demand from the Spanish government, asking for tax money on wins long since passed.

Just this year, Chess Grandmaster Francisco Vallejo Pons voiced his frustration with the public after being nailed for over €1 million in taxes for what the taxman dubbed to be "online winnings". According to Vallejo, the government of Spain seized his savings, leaving him to deal with a physical and emotional breakdown because of it.

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