Sports Betting And Taxes – Paying Taxes On Your Sports Betting Winnings

When it comes to sports betting and taxes, many people are left in the dark. Because the industry was underground and operating through offshore markets for an extensive part of the 21st century, there is the belief that you don’t have to start paying taxes on your sports betting winnings. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as all income no matter how big or small is to be reported to the IRS. Doing so can seem like an unnecessary obstacle and you will likely see the state or federal government collect a percentage as their cut but it is still a requirement, nonetheless.

Filing your taxes isn’t that difficult but there are still some procedures that first-time claimers might not be aware of. Use this page as a guide for sports betting and taxes. The proper channels are more widely utilized since the repeal of PASPA in 2018, but there was never a mandated report offering help for those looking to claim their legal winnings. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you made your money with an offshore legal sports betting site or with a local, state-licensed operator, winnings are winnings and the government will want a piece of the action.

Claiming Your Winnings On Sports Betting

Because all income is taxable, you must report your sports betting winnings to the IRS. This includes cash received from sports betting as well as any prizes or winnings from lotteries, raffles, and any other casino-style game. Another thing that doesn’t matter to the government is how you collected your gambling winnings or where you collected them. Through offshore platforms or state-licensed sportsbooks, bettors are required to still claim them. Also, even if you live in a state that has yet to approve sports betting, you still must do so.

How much money you owe to the IRS is all based around your income and personal taxation bracket. Winnings are not capital gains and the percentage of the money owed to the government increases the more you make, and this is only the start of the taxation process. Meaning, if you live in a state with a federal and state income tax, you may see the winnings hit twice.

Filling Out Tax Form 1040 For Sports Betting

Because the establishment you won your winnings from may have sent a Form W-2G to the IRS on your behalf, it is important to be responsible and claim your sports betting winnings. When this form is submitted, they explain how much you won, on what kind of wager, and how much (if any) tax they withheld (which is usually 0). This situation only happens in a few situations such as large wins but it is still best to have your own information on hand.

On Tax Form 1040, you will total your winnings from sports betting on line 21. This line is listed as “other income” and simply write in your total money won. If you live in a state with state income tax, the process will slightly differ but be of similar circumstances on your state income tax filing. States such as Alaska, Florida, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming are all exempt from state income tax.

What About My Gambling Losses?

Even if you made money overall for the year, you should still claim your losses as well. This goes on your Schedule A form under line 28 titled “other miscellaneous deductions.” You only pay taxes on your net winnings, so proving that you lost a decent amount will greatly negate a majority of the taxes if this is the case. Keep in mind you must be able to provide a detailed record of your winnings and losses but this information can help in the long run.

If you are claiming a yearly loss, your deductions cannot exceed your reported winnings. Stated in an example, if you won a $500 bet but lost $2,500 on the year, you can only claim $500 in losing wagers. In short, you cannot claim a loss for more than you won in gambling. Similarly, if you won nothing and lost $250, nothing can be deducted from your gambling efforts.

Penalties For Not Abiding By Sports Betting Tax Laws

Penalties for not abiding by sports betting tax laws are just as bad as anything else. The government will stop at nothing to receive the money they’re owed. Do not ever believe it is a good idea to try and fly under the radar when it comes to declaring your sports wager winnings. Unpaid taxes will gain in interest and if you cannot afford the price you will end up owing in the end, they have the right to garnish your wages in order to collect. It’s always best to declare this income and pay what you owe, if anything at all, right then and there. It could really come back to bite you later if you don’t and with a much steeper price tag.

Avoidance of paying these taxes is seen as a form of tax evasion. That is a felony charge. The fine for this can be as high as $100,000 depending on how many counts (times you’ve forgotten to pay taxes on your payouts), it could make that number even higher. Five years in prison is also on the table as a form of punishment. If it comes to this point, people that are found guilty will not only have to pay any back taxes owed but court costs and legal fees on top of that. And after all is said and done, they could still face considerable prison time. The takeaway? Pay your taxes because this is one gamble not worth taking.

Can I Keep My Winnings In An Offshore Account To Avoid Paying Taxes?

This is a question that many go back and forth regarding the correct way to claim your offshore sports betting winnings. While some believe that the moment you win a wager, you are required to claim it, others have the full belief that claiming winnings on your taxes from sports betting is not required until you bring the money back into the country. In reality, there is no exact answer. Different sportsbooks will have different terms and conditions that bettors must follow. Likewise, each state regulates tax law in a different manner, so what is true in one location may be the opposite in another.

Do Casinos Have To Report A Customer’s Winnings?

Casinos can withhold the taxes on your winnings should that be part of their policy. If a bettor has won more than $5,000 it is common practice for the establishment to take out the necessary taxes. After that point, they will also send their customers a W-2G form to fill out during tax season. Any sports betting earnings that go beyond $600 are expected by the IRS to be reported by the gambler when they file their taxes. While overseas gambling technically happened offshore, the IRS still wants that income reported and taxed accordingly. Should bettors fail to report their gambling earnings on their taxes, they run the risk of a future audit as well as all costs and fees to recover what was owed originally.