Gambling Winnings and Losses

Your summer vacation may mean a trip to the casino or the racetrack. What will you owe Uncle Sam if Lady Luck happens to be on your side?

Gambling winnings are fully taxable and must be reported on your tax return.

You must file Form 1040 and include all of your winnings. Gambling income includes, among other things, winnings from lotteries, raffles, horse races, and casinos. It includes cash winnings and also the fair market value of prizes such as cars and trips. You can find more information in Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income.

Anyone who pays your winnings or awards you a prize is required to issue you a Form W-2G if your winnings are subject to Federal income tax withholding or if your winnings are over a certain amount.

However, all gambling winnings must be reported regardless of whether any portion is subject to withholding. In addition, you may be required to pay an estimated tax on your gambling winnings. For information on tax withholding on gambling income, refer to Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax.

If your luck isn’t always so good, you may deduct gambling losses. Losses may be deducted only if you itemize deductions and only if you also have gambling winnings. Claim your gambling losses as a miscellaneous deduction on Form 1040, Schedule A. But remember, the losses you deduct may not be more than the gambling income you report on your return.

Even though you may be on vacation, if you want to deduct losses when you file your return next spring, it is important to keep an accurate diary or similar record of your gambling winnings and losses right now.

To deduct your losses, you must be able to provide receipts, tickets, statements or other records that show both your winnings and losses.

For more information, refer to Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions. The publication is available at or ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).