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Gambling Income and Expenses - Tax Requirements

Hit a big one? With more and more gambling establishments, keep in mind the IRS requires people to report all gambling winnings as income on their tax return.

Gambling income includes, but is not limited to, winnings from lotteries, raffles, horse and dog races and casinos. Unfortunately, gambling income also includes the fair market value of prizes such as cars, houses, trips or other non-cash prizes.

Generally, if you receive $600 ($1,200 from bingo and slot machines and $1,500 from keno) or more in gambling winnings and your winnings are at least 300 times the amount of the wager, the payer is required to issue you a Form W-2G. If you have won more than $5,000, the payer may be required to withhold 25 percent of the proceeds for Federal income tax. However, if you did not provide your Social Security number to the payer, the amount withheld will be 28 percent.

The full amount of your gambling winnings for the year must be reported on line 21, Form 1040. If you itemize deductions, you can deduct your gambling losses for the year on line 27, Schedule A (Form 1040). You cannot deduct gambling losses that are more than your winnings.

It is important to keep an accurate diary or similar record of your gambling winnings and losses. To deduct your losses, you must be able to provide receipts, tickets, statements or other records that show the amount of both your winnings and losses.

Face it, the IRS gets you coming and going. Well, I'm off to play poker.

Richard Chapo is CEO of http://www.businesstaxrecovery.com - Obtaining tax refunds for small businesses by finding overlooked tax deductions and credits through a free tax return review.

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