We all know the thrill of winning from gambling whether you’re an avid gambler or the occasional one. But did you know that all winnings are fully taxable? No matter how small your gambling winnings, they must be reported on your tax return. Gambling income includes- but not limited to- winnings from lotteries, keno, slot machines, table games (i.e. poker, craps, roulette, blackjack, etc.), racing or sports betting, and bingo.
Are gambling losses deductible?
Yes, and here’s where the deductions on your gambling losses come in – you may be entitled to a deduction if you had any gambling losses come tax filing season, but only up to the extent of your winnings for the year. For example, if you won $3,000 from gambling for 2016, the most you can deduct on your 2016 tax return is $3,000, no matter how much you lost. Gambling losses must be reported on Schedule A as an Itemized Deduction, which are separate from winnings. Continue reading for important facts about claiming your gambling losses on your tax return.
Five important facts about deducting gambling income and losses:
- You must report the full amount or your winnings as income and claim your losses (up to the amount of your winnings) as an itemized deduction.
- You cannot reduce your gambling winnings by your gambling losses and then report the difference.
- Claim your gambling losses on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, under ‘Other Miscellaneous Deductions’.
- The IRS recommends that you keep written documentation, like a notebook or a diary, for proof in case of an audit and to keep winnings and losses separate and organized. According to the IRS Publication 529 Miscellaneous Deductions, your notebook should contain at least the following:
- The date and type of your specific wager or wagering activity.
- The name and address or location of the gambling establishment.
- The names of other persons present with you at the gambling establishment.
- The amount(s) you won or lost.
- According to the IRS, you should also have other documentation for additional proof through the following:
Form W-2G (if given), certain winnings; Form 5754, statement by person(s) receiving gambling winnings; wagering tickets; canceled checks; substitute checks; credit records; bank withdrawals; and statements of actual winnings or payment slips provided to you by the gambling establishment. Learn more about how gambling impacts your taxes with Optima Tax Relief. To keep up to date with gambling winnings tax laws and your responsibilities as a taxpayer, please refer to the IRS Help & Resource page or consult your local CPA or tax attorney.