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.

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

It doesn’t matter what online sportsbook you are using, anything that you earn is taxable the moment you win the wager. In every offshore sports betting site’s terms and conditions, they will have a policy stating you must adhere to local tax laws. Even the IRS states that it doesn’t matter if the value is within your possession or not, as long as it is in your name, it is yours to pay. Keeping your money in an offshore account may feel like keeping it from the government but you will have to claim it eventually.

Penalties For Not Abiding By Sports Betting Tax Laws

If you know anything about the government, you will no they will stop at no costs to get their money. If you can’t afford to pay your income tax, your unpaid tax will be charged interest (generally at a daily or monthly rate). The rate isn’t too high, but it still will see your debt to the state increase over time so it is imperative to get it paid off sooner than later.

Avoiding claiming your winnings is a different story. Many are aware of the term “tax evasion” and have heard rumors about what this entails. Even the best mobsters couldn’t avoid tax evasion charges, so don’t think you can even try it. If you’re caught intentionally omitting information regarding your sports betting winnings, you could be facing felony charges. The charge comes with a fine of upward of $100,000 or up to five years in prison. Even worse, those found guilty of tax evasion must also pay for the costs of the court, trail, and prosecution.