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Are lottery winnings considered other income?

Winning the lottery is an exciting event that can provide a financial windfall. However, lottery winnings also have tax implications that winners need to consider. One key question for tax purposes is whether lottery winnings are considered “other income” by the IRS.

What are considered “other income”?

“Other income” is a catch-all tax category that includes any taxable income that does not fall into the standard categories of earned income, investment income or retirement income. Some examples of other income include:

  • Lottery or gambling winnings
  • Awards and prizes
  • Inheritances
  • Royalties
  • Hobby income
  • Canceled debts
  • Court awards from lawsuits

Other income is fully taxable unless exempted under tax law. It is reported along with all other taxable income sources on Form 1040 of your personal tax return.

Are lottery winnings considered other income?

Yes, lottery winnings are specifically considered other income by the IRS. If you win a state lottery, Mega Millions, Powerball or other lottery game, those winnings are subject to taxes like other income.

You must report 100% of your lottery winnings on your tax return. This is the case whether you take the lump sum payout or annuity option. Your full winnings are taxed in the year you receive the money or the economic benefit of the winnings.

How lottery winnings are taxed

Lottery winnings are taxed like ordinary income based on your federal income tax bracket. That means your winnings are subject to your top marginal tax rate, which ranges from 10% to 37% depending on your total taxable income and filing status.

In addition to federal taxes, you may owe state taxes on lottery winnings. States with income taxes will also tax lottery winnings according to their own tax brackets and rates, which typically range from 3% to 8%.

When you win more than $5,000 from a lottery, the lottery organization will withhold 24% for federal taxes before paying out your prize. Many states also require state tax withholding when lottery winnings exceed a certain threshold.

Reporting lottery winnings

If you win $600 or more from a lottery, the lottery organization will issue an IRS Form W-2G showing the amount you won and the taxes withheld. You must report this income on Form 1040. Any winnings of less than $600 are still taxable income, but the lottery organization will not issue a Form W-2G.

If you win the lottery across state lines or in multiple states, you may receive W-2G forms from each state. Include all winnings on your federal return.

If you win one lump sum across multiple years, report the full winnings in the tax year you receive the lump sum payment. Do not try to split the winnings across multiple years even if an annuity was offered.

Tax deductions and lottery winnings

Can you deduct expenses against lottery winnings? Unfortunately lottery taxes are not that simple. Lottery winnings are considered “unearned income” meaning you cannot deduct expenses to offset this income source. You also cannot carry forward losses from gambling to deduct against lottery winnings.

However, if you donate some of your winnings to charity, you may be able to deduct those charitable contributions if you itemize. Make sure you receive proper documentation from the charity, such as a donation receipt.

Other special rules

There are some other special rules around lottery winnings that may impact your tax situation:

  • If you win an annuity prize and die before receiving all payments, the remaining payments are still taxable income to your estate or beneficiaries.
  • Lottery installments may be subject to a different tax rate each year if your income changes.
  • Winnings paid to minors may be taxed at the parent’s top rate if used for parental expenses.
  • If you share a lottery ticket and win, each person reports their share of winnings and taxes.
  • Lottery winnings do not impact your Social Security benefits or Medicare premiums.

Reducing taxes on lottery winnings

To reduce taxes on lottery winnings consider the following tips:

  • Claim the winnings as a lump sum rather than annuity to take advantage of the current year’s tax brackets.
  • Contribute to tax-advantaged accounts like a 401(k) or IRA to lower your taxable income.
  • Donate a portion of the winnings to qualified charities.
  • Invest in municipal bonds which provide federally tax-free income.
  • If you win across state lines, live in a state without income tax like Florida, Texas or Washington.

Proper planning is key to reducing taxes and maximizing your lottery earnings. Consult with a tax professional to understand your full range of options.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don’t report my lottery winnings?

You are legally required to report all lottery winnings, no matter the amount, on your tax return. Intentionally failing to report winnings is considered tax evasion and fraud, punishable by fines of up to $100,000 and up to 1 year in prison.

Can I establish a trust to claim lottery winnings anonymously?

While winners can claim lottery winnings through a trust, this does not make the winnings anonymous for tax purposes. The trustee who claims the winnings on behalf of the trust must still file a tax return and report the winnings under the trust’s tax ID number.

Are jackpots taxed the same as regular lottery winnings?

Yes, large lottery jackpots are taxed the same as regular lottery winnings. Mega Millions, Powerball and other big jackpots are all fully taxable income whether taken as a lump sum or annuity.

Can I deduct gambling losses against lottery winnings?

Unfortunately you cannot deduct gambling losses against lottery winnings. Gambling winnings and losses are reported separately. Only professional gamblers can deduct gambling losses against gambling winnings.

Do I have to pay state taxes in the state where I bought the ticket?

It depends. Some states like California and Maryland exempt out-of-state residents from state tax on lottery winnings. Other states like New York and Rhode Island require state tax withholding even for non-resident winners.


Lottery winnings are considered fully taxable other income by both federal and state tax authorities. Winners are required to report their full winnings in the year received regardless of whether they take a lump sum or annuity. Proper tax planning and compliance is necessary to make the most of a big lottery windfall.

Comparison of Federal Tax Rates

To understand how lottery winnings are taxed, it helps to look at the federal tax brackets and rates for 2023:

Taxable Income Single Filers Married Joint Filers
$0 to $11,000 10% 10%
$11,001 to $44,725 12% 12%
$44,726 to $95,375 22% 22%
$95,376 to $182,100 24% 24%
$182,101 to $578,125 32% 32%
Over $578,125 37% 37%

As you can see, lottery winnings could push you into a higher federal tax bracket. Proper planning is important to minimize the tax bite.

State Tax Rates on Lottery Winnings

In addition to federal taxes, the following states impose state income taxes on lottery winnings as of 2023:

State Tax Rate Range
California 1% – 13.3%
Colorado 4.55%
Connecticut 3% – 6.99%
Delaware 2.2% – 6.6%
Georgia 1% – 5.75%
Illinois 4.95%
Massachusetts 5%
Michigan 4.25%
New Jersey 1.4% – 10.75%
New York 4% – 8.82%
Ohio 0% – 4.797%
Oregon 5% – 9.9%
Pennsylvania 3.07%
Rhode Island 3.75% – 5.99%
Vermont 3.35% – 8.75%
Virginia 2% – 5.75%
Wisconsin 4% – 7.65%

Make sure you understand your state’s tax rates when planning for a big lottery windfall.

Sample Lottery Winnings After Federal and State Taxes

To see the impact of taxes on lottery winnings, consider the following example for a $1 million Powerball jackpot:

Tax Amount
Gross Winnings $1,000,000
Federal Withholding (24%) – $240,000
State Withholding (8%) – $80,000
Federal Tax (32% rate) – $224,000
State Tax (8% rate) – $64,000
After-tax Winnings $392,000

In this example, taxes consume over 60% of the gross $1 million prize. Consulting a tax professional is important to minimize taxes.

Strategies to Reduce Taxes on Lottery Winnings

Here are 5 smart strategies to help you keep more of your lottery winnings:

  1. Claim winnings in a lump sum to take advantage of your current tax bracket.
  2. Contribute to retirement accounts like a 401(k) or IRA to lower your taxable income.
  3. Donate a portion of your winnings to qualified charities for a tax deduction.
  4. Invest part of your winnings in municipal bonds that offer federally tax-free income.
  5. Move to a state with no income tax like Florida or Texas.

Proper planning is crucial to minimize taxes and maximize your lottery earnings. Be sure to work with an experienced tax professional.

Best States for Lottery Winnings Based on Tax Rates

The following states offer the most tax-friendly treatment of lottery winnings as of 2023:

State Income Tax Rate State Tax on Lottery Winnings
Florida 0% No
Texas 0% No
Washington 0% No
Wyoming 0% No
South Dakota 0% No
New Hampshire 5% on interest/dividends No
Tennessee 1% on interest/dividends No
Alaska 0%/15% Partial
Nevada 0%/4.75% Partial

Claiming your lottery prize in a state with no income tax will let you keep significantly more of your winnings.


Lottery winnings are considered fully taxable income, both federally and in most states. Winners must report gross winnings in the year received, regardless of whether they take a lump sum or annuity payment option. Careful tax planning is essential to minimize taxes and keep more of your lottery windfall.

Key strategies include claiming winnings in a lump sum, making tax-advantaged contributions, donating to charity, investing in municipal bonds, and establishing residency in a state with no income tax. Every financial decision you make with your lottery winnings should take potential tax implications into account. Working with an experienced tax professional can help you properly report winnings, reduce your tax liability, and retain more of your lottery earnings.