Taxes on Gambling Winnings and Deducting Gambling Losses
Employers engaged in a trade or business who pay compensation. Gambling income is almost always taxable income. More Tax Topic Categories. Apply for Power of Attorney. Certain special rules apply to gambling income, and there are strict recordkeeping requirements.
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However, you may be able to deduct gambling losses. Gambling income is almost always taxable income. This includes cash and the fair market value of any item you win. By law, gambling winners must report all of their winnings on their federal income tax returns.
Depending on the amount of your winnings, you may receive one or more Forms W-2G, which reports the amount of your winnings, as well as the amount of tax that was withheld, if any. You will need these forms to prepare your tax return. Remember that, even if you do not get a W-2G, you must report all gambling winnings. If you win a non-cash prize, such as a car or a trip, you will be responsible for paying taxes on the fair market value of each prize.
Depending upon the amount of your winnings and the type of gambling, the establishment or payer may be required to withhold income taxes. You may deduct gambling losses if you itemize your deductions. You can deduct your losses only up to the amount of your total gambling winnings. You must generally report your winnings and losses separately, rather than reporting a net amount. The IRS requires you to keep detailed records of your gambling winnings and losses, and to keep any related documents, including receipts, tickets, payment slips, statements, Form W-2G, and Form You must be able to prove both your winnings and losses if you wish to deduct your losses.
The IRS suggests that you keep a gambling log or diary. If you efile your tax return, you do not have to send any W-2Gs or other documents to the IRS but you must keep them for your records in case of audit.
The rules described on this page are for the majority of people with gambling income, those who are not professional gamblers. If gambling is your actual profession, then your gambling income is generally considered regular earned income and is taxed at your normal effective income tax rate.
As a self-employed individual, you will need to report your income and expenses on Schedule C. You can deduct gambling losses as job expenses using Schedule C, not Schedule A. Nonresidents can usually report income that is "effectively connected" with a U.
Gambling winnings, however, are considered to be "not effectively connected" and so must generally be reported on Form NR. Nonresident aliens generally cannot deduct gambling losses. However, there is a tax treaty between the United States and Canada that generally allows Canadian citizens to deduct their gambling losses, up to the amount of their gambling winnings. If you're a nonresident alien of the United States for income tax purposes and you have to file a tax return for U.
Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return. Refer to Publication , U. Tax Guide for Aliens , and Publication , U. Tax Treaties , for more information. Also, nonresident aliens of the United States can't deduct gambling losses. To deduct your losses, you must keep an accurate diary or similar record of your gambling winnings and losses and be able to provide receipts, tickets, statements, or other records that show the amount of both your winnings and losses.
Refer to Publication , Miscellaneous Deductions , for more information. For you and your family. Individuals abroad and more. EINs and other information. Get Your Tax Record. Bank Account Direct Pay. Debit or Credit Card. Payment Plan Installment Agreement. Standard mileage and other information. Instructions for Form Request for Transcript of Tax Return. Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate. Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return.