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Lottery Tax at a Glance

Lottery Tax

Taxes on lottery winnings always apply on the federal level. In addition, taxes on lottery winnings must also be paid on the state level when applicable. Almost every state does allow for legalized lottery play.

However, some states do not have lottery taxes. For example, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas do not impose taxes on lottery winnings, even though lottery play is legal in those states. Whereas states such as New Jersey imposes lottery taxes at a rate of eleven percent of winnings. New Jersey has the highest lottery taxes and other states may impose taxes on lottery winnings at rates as low as three percent. Currently, there are only two states that do not allow for legalized lottery play.

Federal taxes on lottery winnings are withheld when the winning amount, minus the amount of wager, exceeds five thousand dollars. Like winnings at casinos, a rate of twenty five percent of winnings will be withheld to help the taxpayer immediately meet their tax burden. If however, an individual wins less than five thousand dollars, they are still required to report their winnings on their tax forms, and pay taxes on that amount.

In fact, winners will be issued a W-2G on winnings that exceed six hundred dollars, which helps them to report the winnings in the appropriate manner. If taxes on lottery winnings are paid in this way, taxpayers can still deduct provable losses from their taxable winnings. If taxpayers are unable to provide proof of losses, such as losing lottery tickets, they can apply the standard allowable deduction.

In fact, lottery winners that have proof of loses below the standard deduction, should also use the standard deduction, because it allows for a better tax break. If a lottery winner has decided to receive payments throughout their lifetime, each payment will have twenty five percent withheld because they have won an amount that exceeds five thousand dollars. The company responsible for making those disbursements would be required to withhold that amount for lottery taxes before the winnings reach the lottery winner.

Any proceeds from gambling are required to be reported on taxes, regardless of the amount. The burden of lottery taxes may be reduced by using any provable losses as a deduction. Lottery winners of even five dollars, are required to pay lottery taxes on that amount as income.

NEXT: Reporting and Procedure of Legalized Gambling

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