Betting on the Super Bowl? 'You gotta pay the piper' on your winnings, says tax expert

Betting on the Super Bowl? 'You gotta pay the piper' on your winnings, says tax expert


If you are betting on the Super Bowl on Sunday, suppose twice about your plans for the winnings.

Nearly half of it could possibly be owed as taxes, which may put you in a troublesome spot in the event you spend all of it forward of submitting your 2024 tax return.

All playing winnings are considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service, even in the event you aren’t an expert gambler.

“Win massive? You gotta pay the piper,” Romeo Razi, an authorized public accountant primarily based in Las Vegas, tells CNBC Make It.

You’ll probably owe state taxes, too, as most U.S. states levy taxes on cash made by means of playing. Check out your state’s department of revenue website for extra data.

To make it easier to navigate the tax implications of playing, this is have a look at how your winnings are reported to the IRS, in addition to how playing losses are deducted. Knowing the details forward of time may make it easier to keep away from a nasty shock if you file your 2024 tax return.

You are chargeable for monitoring your winnings and losses

If you win $600 or extra utilizing playing web sites or apps, the vendor will probably ship you a W-2G tax form, which is a file of your earnings. Importantly, they ship the type to the IRS, too, which suggests they will not miss it, both.  

If the winnings are $5,000 or larger, the enterprise that processed your wager would possibly withhold as much as 31% of the proceeds for federal earnings tax, according to the IRS. This can be indicated in Box 4 of your W-2G.

That stated, firms do not all the time ship these types. And it does not actually matter, in a manner, because you’re chargeable for monitoring all of your playing earnings, whether or not you obtain a type or not.

The IRS recommends holding “an correct diary or related file of your playing winnings and losses,” in addition to receipts, tickets, statements or different data to assist your claims. Fortunately, many standard playing web sites and apps have a downloadable file of your transactions.

How to report your winnings and losses

Your playing winnings and losses are reported individually in your tax return. Although the IRS is obscure on this, the winnings you declare as earnings embrace the price of playing, or the authentic wager or wager, says Razi, a former income agent at the IRS.

Of course, you did not “win” your wager, but it surely’s included as gross winnings as a result of that is the way it’s reported on the W-2G types, he says. 

The quantity is added as “playing earnings” on line 8 of your Form 1040, Schedule 1, which is used to report varieties of earnings not listed on the main 1040 tax type. That whole is then added to Form 1040 line 8. If you utilize tax software program, these types can be crammed out robotically primarily based on your solutions to a questionnaire.

As for playing losses, you possibly can deduct them as an itemized deduction, though they can not exceed the winnings you report as earnings. The cause for that “is to stop tax filers from offsetting different earnings with playing losses,” says Razi.

You may also embrace the preliminary wager of a wager. “Your wager is like your price of service, or your loss. And that goes on the itemized deductions,” he says.

To give an instance of how this could work, “to illustrate you wager $1,000 and also you get $3,000 again,” says Razi. You would report the $3,000 and have a wager lack of $1,000 as an itemized deduction, he says.

Why you most likely will not really declare playing losses as a deduction

The solely approach to declare your playing losses is to itemize your deductions, which most taxpayers do not do. 

That’s as a result of the normal deduction for 2024 is a hefty $14,600 for single filers and $29,200 for those married filing jointly. This sometimes exceeds the quantity that most individuals can deduct as itemized bills, so it does not make a number of sense for many filers.

After all, the purpose with deductions is to attenuate your general tax legal responsibility, or the quantity that you simply owe in taxes.

What occurs in the event you do not report your playing winnings

By not reporting all your playing winnings, you are violating the regulation. The IRS can uncover discrepancies by comparing your income with the W-2G types they obtain or by analyzing your financial institution deposit exercise.

A 20% penalty may be utilized if the whole underreported quantity is greater than $5,000 or 10% of your precise tax legal responsibility — whichever is larger. For bigger sums, you threat jail time.

More informal playing that does not contain W-2G types, like fantasy football pools between friends, are much less observed by the IRS. But giant money deposits between mates can nonetheless set off an audit from the IRS. For that cause, you need to report all the pieces.

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