Tips about Gambling Winnings and Losses

Taxpayers must report all gambling winnings as income. They must be able to itemize deductions to claim any gambling losses on their tax return.

Taxpayers who gamble may find these tax tips helpful:

  1. Gambling income. Income from gambling     includes winnings from the lottery, horseracing and casinos. It also     includes cash and non-cash prizes. Taxpayers must report the fair market value     of non-cash prizes like cars and trips to the IRS.
  2. Payer tax form. The payer may issue a Form     W-2G, Certain Gambling Winnings, to winning taxpayers based on the     type of gambling, the amount they win and other factors. The payer also     sends a copy of the form to the IRS. Taxpayers should also get a Form W-2G     if the payer withholds income tax from their winnings.
  3. How to report winnings. Taxpayers must report     all gambling winnings as income. They normally should report all gambling     winnings for the year on their tax return as “Other Income.” This is true     even if the taxpayer doesn’t get a Form W-2G.
  4. How to deduct losses. Taxpayers are able to     deduct gambling losses on Schedule     A, Itemized Deductions, but keep in mind, they can’t deduct gambling     losses that are more than their winnings.
  5. Keep gambling receipts. Keep records of     gambling wins and losses. This means gambling receipts, statements and     tickets or by using a gambling log or diary.

See Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income, for rules on gambling and Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions, for more information on losses. Publication 529 also lists specific types of gambling records a taxpayer may want to keep. Download and view IRS publications on at any time.

Avoid scams. The IRS does not initiate contact using social media or text message. The first contact normally comes in the mail. Those wondering if they owe money to the IRS can view their tax account information on to find out.