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Gamble Responsibly:

In Accounting & Finances, Business, Culture, Entertainment, Taxes on September 8, 2012 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Your Winnings are Taxable Income

Welcome home from your Summer vacation.  A special welcome home to all of you who spent your vacation in Las Vegas or at any of its alike gambling town.  By now you should know that everything that happens in Vegas, doesn’t stay in Vegas. Hotel bills with hidden fees, a marriage at the Little White Wedding Chapel, and taxable gambling winnings which you must report on your income tax return, will all follow you back home. But hey, you win some, you lose some – and vice versa – you can also deduct your gambling losses.

A “gambling income” is exactly what it sounds like: any money you win from lotteries, raffles, horse races, casinos, etc. Even those lucky $20 grocery store scratch-offs count. And there’s no way to avoid the system. If you pass on the cash and choose a new SUV or 7-day trip to Cancun, you’ll still owe taxes on the fair market value of your prize.

In general, you should record all your gambling winnings on the “Other income” line of Form 1040. So that’s where you’ll put down your $20 pay out from the grocery store scratch-off. But although all gambling winnings are taxable, some require extra paperwork. If you receive a certain amount of winnings or have any that are subject to federal tax withholding, you must get Form W-2G, Certain Gambling Winnings, from the payer. For example, you’ll need Form W-2G if you won $1,200 or more from bingo or slot machines.

Now for something that will make your bank account feel a little better. You can claim your gambling losses (up to the amount of your winnings) on Schedule A, under “Other Miscellaneous Deductions.” So that’s where you would report the $20 bucks you spent on scratch-off lottery tickets before you finally won. If you do decide to deduct, don’t guesstimate; make sure you have documentation of your losses and winnings.  So, folks, save all of your “losing” lottery tickets and scratchers!

To find out more about gambling and taxes, check out IRS Publication 529 on Miscellaneous Deductions. Remember that if Lady Luck is on your side, Uncle Sam will be waiting on your other side.

On the Money, Sufen Wang, Wang Solutions

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