Report Gambling Winnings

When Do I Report Gambling Winnings to the IRS?

Now that so many types of gambling are legal in Ohio, when do you have to report your gambling winnings to the IRS? If you enjoy gambling, whether occasionally or frequently, it is crucial to understand how your winnings and losses can affect your tax liability.

Basic Rules to Reporting Gambling Winnings

Winnings: You report your gambling winnings from casinos, lotteries, raffles, and other gambling activities as “above-the-line” taxable income.

Losses: You deduct gambling losses “below-the-line” as itemized deductions on Schedule A, but only to the extent of your winnings.

Reporting: Casinos and other gambling institutions report your winnings to the IRS on Form W-2G if they meet certain thresholds. You will also receive a copy of this form.

A Real-Life Example: The Bright Case

Jacob Bright, a casual gambler, found himself in a complicated tax situation due to extensive gambling activities. The casinos reported his large winnings on Form W-2G, totaling $110,553.  Due to poor recordkeeping and misclassification as a professional gambler, Bright incurred a tax bill of $13,898 despite his gambling losses exceeding his winnings.

Tax Tips and Best Practices for Recreational Gamblers

  1. Keep a gambling log: Maintain a detailed log of your gambling activities, including dates, locations, types of wagers, and amounts won or lost. This record can serve as valuable documentation in an IRS audit.
  2. Use a player’s card: Whenever you gamble at a casino, use a player’s card to track your activities electronically.
  3. Understand the importance of session tracking: Track your wins and losses by gambling session. The session approach allows you to offset wins and losses within the same session, potentially reducing your taxable income.
  4. Be aware of itemizing requirements: Remember that you can only deduct gambling losses if you itemize your deductions. If you take the standard deduction, you don’t reduce your tax liability with your gambling losses.

Don't Let Gambling Winnings Lead to Unexpected Tax Bills

Gambling has tax implications and can, for the uninformed, lead to unexpected tax bills and complications. Keep this in mind. You could win a big jackpot on the last day of the year. Would you have the records to keep your tax bill to a minimum? If you want to discuss the tax implications of your gambling activities, fill out the form on this page or call us at 440-777-2207.

Small Business Tax Services

As an expert in small business tax services and tax consulting Ken-Mar Tax eats, sleeps and breathes small business tax strategies.  Being an enrolled agent allows founder, Ken Weinberg, to represent you to the IRS - something only a CPA, tax attorney and Enrolled Agent can do. EAs are the only federally licensed tax practitioners who specialize in taxation and also have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS. It also means he is continuously being updated on the new IRS tax codes and taking classes from the IRS that provide guidance on how to file returns so that they are not "flagged."

When you get your taxes prepared by Ken Mar Tax you also have the option to purchase the Tax Audit Protection Plan to avoid the extra costs of paying for audit representation. If you are audited by the IRS, State of Ohio or local taxing authorities, Ken-Mar Tax will meet with the taxing authorities on your behalf to negotiate a settlement for you. The fee covers all costs up to the Appeals level, including up to 15 hours of correspondence with the auditing party – either the IRS, State of Ohio or locality.

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