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01.28.20

Casual gambling income and tax consequences

Have you had winnings from visiting a casino, betting on horse races, sports wagering, purchased lottery tickets, or received a prize from a raffle lately? You are planning on claiming your winnings/fair market value of the prize on your personal tax return and paying your share of taxes right?

All of these items are gambling winnings and are fully taxable even if you are a casual gambler. The IRS requires you to report the full amount of your gambling winnings on your personal tax return on Schedule 1, line 21. Gambling losses can be deducted but only to the extent of your gambling income. However, the losses don't get directly offset against the gambling income. You must itemize your deductions to deduct your gambling losses as they get reported on Schedule A, line 16 as "other itemized deductions."

Don't roll the dice with the IRS! Remember, all gambling winnings must be reported as taxable income so just don't report gambling income reported on a W-2G (certain gambling winnings) tax forms. The IRS is finding ways to track your unreported gambling income, in particular with sports betting as there now is a trail via apps on your phone, so be sure you report it and pay your share of taxes. If you choose not to track and report your gambling income and losses, you are putting yourself at risk to be subject to interest and penalties or you could be missing out on tax-saving opportunities.

So don't spend all of your gambling winnings as the IRS wants their share too!