More on Registrations, Payouts and Withholding Tax for Australians at the WSOP

By: Paul Birman

There has been a change to the way the World Series of Poker (WSOP) handles pay outs since my original article for Poker Asia Pacific on withholding tax for Australians at the WSOP.

Previously an Australian holding dual passports could provide the second passport (if a country with a tax treaty with the USA) and not have the 30% withholding tax deducted from his/her pay out.

However, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a directive to the WSOP in May requiring players receiving payouts subject to tax ($5,000 over the buy in amount) to provide confirmation of their address.

The IRS directive was to ensure players are taxed appropriately and only receive relief from withholding tax if they are actually residents of the tax treaty country.

The WSOP is requiring written evidence of address – bills, lease agreement – before pay outs are issued with out the 30% withholding tax deducted. The WSOP will look at a player’s individual circumstances – where no written evidence is readily available – but the player will have to provide some type of verification.

So unfortunately it is no longer enough to provide a tax treaty passport to avoid withholding tax – you also need to arrange some type of matching address verification.

Players shouldn’t confuse WSOP registration requirements with pay out procedures.  You can still register for events with a foreign passport and no written evidence of address.  As one WSOP cashier staff member said to us – “The IRS aren’t concerned with registration.”

All the information in my original article on receiving refunds from the withholding tax is still applicable – so not all is lost.  So keep all your receipts. 

Besides it is always a nice problem to have when you are lining up in the pay out section of the WSOP and worrying about how much withholding tax you are about to be charged.  I look forward to it!!

Paul B Birman is currently attending the WSOP until 15 July for Poker Asia Pacific and Corndogpoker.com.  You can follow Paul on Twitter @PBBirman. 

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