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WSOP Disputes Inability to Issue ITINs

poker taxes ITIN

The World Series of Poker states they're still able to issue individual taxpayer identification numbers, contrary to rumors that changes will cause issues for players outside the U.S.

"We have no problems issuing ITINs, not last year and not this year," said Seth Palansky, vice president of corporate communications for Caesars Interactive Entertainment Inc. and the World Series of Poker.

This news comes after Russell Fox, a lawyer in Vegas at Clayton Financial and Tax, released a statement about ITINs and how all casinos would need to shift.

Fox recently published a post on the Taxable Talk blog that this situation has changed:

"On Friday, the IRS sent a major casino here in Las Vegas a letter informing them that because of a provision in the PATH Act no one but the IRS can issue ITINs. I assume all casinos that had been authorized by the IRS to issue ITINs have received this letter and are implementing this policy."


Players who cash in a poker tournament in the United States and make a profit over $5,000 are subject to U.S. taxes from the Internal Revenue Service.

Players from outside the United States that live in countries that have a tax treaty with the United States need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), or a tax processing number issued by the IRS. Having this ITIN exempts players from paying taxes to the IRS and leaves tax obligations to their local tax authority.

To make cashing at a poker tournament as smooth as possible, casinos are allowed to issue ITINs. Upon cashing, players present their passport and a proof of residency to the hosting casino and receive their prize in full. This way, there's no need for players from outside the United States to go through the hassle of getting an ITIN via the IRS itself.

WSOP: No Problem Issuing ITINs

PokerNews contacted several Las Vegas casinos who host big tournament series this summer about whether they're issuing ITINs.

The Bellagio and ARIA were still looking into the matter and declined to comment at this time. The World Series of Poker stated that they have not received such a letter, that they haven't had any problems issuing ITINs and that they don't foresee any problems this summer.

Palansky had this to say:

I can tell you the RIO issued three ITINs on Valentine's Day yesterday to customers with no issues. At least for Caesars Entertainment properties, the information out is incorrect. I think someone is misinterpreting some of the information.

What if a Casino Can't Issue an ITIN

While the World Series of Poker sais they have no problems issuing ITINs, it's possible other casinos do have problems. Players are responsible for getting their own ITINs, even if casinos aren't issuing them. Unfortunately, this is anything but easy.

There are two ways:

  1. File Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, with your federal income tax return. Include original documentation or certified copies from the issuing agency to prove identity and foreign status. Players who qualify for an exception can file Form W-7 with proof of identity and foreign status documents.

    Mail the W-7, tax return, proof of identity and foreign status documents to:

    Internal Revenue Service
    Austin Service Center
    ITIN Operation
    P.O. Box 149342
    Austin, TX 78714-9342

  2. This way is, for most poker players from outside the United States, not an option. Effective June 22, 2012, the IRS began requiring most applicants, even those using acceptance agents, to submit original supporting documents or copies certified by their issuing agency. The IRS doesn't accept notarized copies of the passport for ITIN application. That means players must send their original passports, something most players should be hesitant to do as they need the document upon leaving the country again.

    The only other option is to get it in person at a Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC). Just walking into a TAC is not an option; players need to make an appointment. Las Vegas has one TAC:

    Taxpayer Assistance Center
    110 City Parkway
    Las Vegas, NV 89106
    Office information: 702-868-5005
    Make an appointment: 844-545-5640

If You Have an ITIN Already

Players from outside the United States of America who have an ITIN because they cashed for over $5,000 profit at last year's World Series of Poker or other poker tournaments are in the clear. An ITIN expires after five years or after three years of nonuse. ITINs issued prior to 2013 have started expiring in 2016, starting with those with middle digits of 78 and 79 (Example: (9XX-78-XXXX). More information on the renewal process is available on IRS.gov.

Players issued an ITIN, but who have lost their ITIN number, will need to call the IRS ITIN Hotline at 1-800-908-9982 and answer a series of questions to verify their identity for the IRS to provide the number.


  • WSOP: We have no problems issuing ITINs, not last year and not this year.

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