Are lottery prizes taxable?
Lottery winnings of $600.01 and over are subject to Federal Withholding tax. For
winnings of $600.01, up to and including $5,000, you will be issued a W-2G form
to report your winnings on your federal income tax form. For winnings of
$5,000.01 and over, your state’s Department of Revenue removes the 24 percent federal
withholding before you receive your winnings check (or, if it is
an annuity, from each winnings check). You then receive a W-2G form with each
check to submit with your 1040 form to show that the 24 percent federal
withholding already has been paid. In addition to federal tax, your state will
make additional withholdings for taxes, and most states will deduct other money that
you may owe to the state, such as back taxes, child support, loan payments, etc.
In addition, like the federal tax withholding, the state tax withholding at the time
of prize payout may not be the total state tax owed at the end of the year.
You must consult your state division of taxation for more information about the total
state tax requirements for lottery winners.
The state tax withholdings are as follows:
|Arizona||4.8% state withholding (Arizona residents), 6% state withholding (non-Arizona residents)|
|Arkansas||6.6% state withholding|
|California||No state tax on lottery prizes|
|Colorado||4.63% state withholding|
|Connecticut||6.99% state withholding|
|Delaware||6.6% state withholding|
|Florida||No state tax on lottery prizes|
|Georgia||5.75% state withholding|
|Idaho||6.925% state withholding|
|Illinois||4.95% state withholding|
|Indiana||3.23% state withholding|
|Iowa||5% state withholding|
|Kansas||5.7% state withholding|
|Kentucky||5% state withholding|
|Louisiana||6% state withholding|
|Maine||7.15% state withholding|
|Maryland||8.95% state withholding (Maryland residents), 8% state withholding (non-Maryland residents)|
|Massachusetts||5% state withholding|
|Michigan||4.25% state withholding|
|Minnesota||7.25% state withholding|
|Mississippi||5% state withholding|
|Missouri||4% state withholding|
|Montana||6.9% state withholding|
|Nebraska||5% state withholding|
|New Hampshire||No state tax on lottery prizes|
|New Jersey||8% state withholding|
|New Mexico||4.9% state withholding|
|New York||8.82% state withholding, plus: 3.876% (NYC residents), 1.323% (Yonkers residents)|
|North Carolina||5.25% state withholding|
|North Dakota||2.9% state withholding|
|Ohio||4.797% state withholding|
|Oklahoma||5% state withholding|
|Oregon||8% state withholding|
|Pennsylvania||3.07% state withholding|
|Puerto Rico||No state tax on lottery prizes|
|Rhode Island||5.99% state withholding|
|South Carolina||7% state withholding|
|South Dakota||No state tax on lottery prizes|
|Tennessee||No state tax on lottery prizes|
|Texas||No state tax on lottery prizes|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||† Unknown State Tax Rate|
|Vermont||6% state withholding|
|Virginia||4% state withholding|
|Washington||No state tax on lottery prizes|
|Washington, D.C.||8.95% state withholding|
|West Virginia||6.5% state withholding|
|Wisconsin||7.65% state withholding|
|Wyoming||No state tax on lottery prizes|
† This state/jurisdiction has not responded to our requests for this information.
The odds of winning the US Powerball
The U.S. Powerball game is a 5/69 lottery format. So the rule is to pick five numbers from 1 to 69. There are 11 million ways you can do it in Powerball. So your probability of matching five numbers is 1 in 11 million chances.
However, to win the jackpot, you also need to match the extra ball called the Powerball from 1 to 26. So the odds to win the Powerball game becomes one is to 292 million.
In simple terms, you might need 292 million attempts to win the jackpot. So if you play one ticket every week, then you need 292 million weeks to win. That sounds like playing for 5.6 million years or possibly more.
The odds are so terrible that you probably have a better chance of becoming the next Governor of the State of California. So it’s not easy to win the Powerball.
In my opinion, the Powerball is one of the hardest lotteries to win in the world.
But Americans do play anyway. And if Powerball is one of your favorite lotto games, then you might as well do your best.
That said, mathematics remains the only way to get the best shot possible. And specifically, I am talking about combinatorics or combinatorial math and probability theory.
The Powerball, like any other lottery systems in the world, is a random game. So you cannot predict the next winning numbers.
Fortunately, you can increase your chances of winning if you buy more tickets.
And mathematically speaking, buying more tickets is “the only way.”
However, buying more tickets is useless if you’re making the wrong choices.
You need a mathematical strategy. And a mathematical strategy is all about calculating all the possibilities and making the right choice.
So what is this mathematical strategy that we are talking about?
Are we talking about statistics? Nope!
I have explained why statistical analysis doesn’t work in the lottery in my article A Visual Analysis of a True Random Lottery with Deterministic Outcome.
For now, let me tell you right off the bat, don’t use statistics. What works?
Well, a true mathematical strategy involves understanding the finite structure of a lottery game. In this case, we need the tools of combinatorial math and probability theory.
These two mathematical tools are essential in the study of combinatorial patterns that can help determine the best combinations and the worst ones to avoid at all costs.
Before we go to the actual calculation, let’s discuss first the important concept that matters in a random game.
If I live in a state that taxes prizes, but bought my ticket in a state with no tax on prizes, do I still need to pay state tax?
Yes, you do. Think of lottery prizes as regular earned income from a job. Just because you may work in a different state, that doesn’t permit you to get away with not paying state income tax in your state of residence. The lottery works the same way.
Whether it’s income from a job or income from gambling, the state where the money is won will tax the prize first at their out-of-state tax rate (assuming the state taxes lottery winnings). If your state of residence has the same or lower tax rate, then you won’t owe anything else. But if your state has a higher rate, you will get a credit for what you paid in the other state, and pay the difference to your state.
If the other state has no tax, you just pay the entire tax bill to your state.
The net result is that you end up paying whichever tax rate is higher between your state of residence and the state where you purchased the ticket. Of course, the tax law is quite complex and it’s possible that some condition or arrangement exists between the two states and a good tax attorney and/or accountant could discover a tax-saving loophole. That’s why we always recommend that major prize winners do not make any major decisions before first hiring a good legal and financial team.
One other option to consider, depending on how much in taxes you’re looking to save: the residency requirements as they relate to prize claims, state taxes, and income reporting. Since you aren’t responsible for paying taxes until you claim the prize, perhaps there is time to establish residency in the state where you purchased the ticket before the prize claim period expires. However, that is something you would definitely need to explore with an attorney before taking any action to assess the feasibility. You would also need to decide if it would be worth the risk of that important little piece of paper not getting lost, damaged, or destroyed in the time you spend arranging everything.