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How to get Wisconsin Lottery credit?

Getting lottery credit in Wisconsin can seem complicated, but it’s actually quite straightforward once you understand the basic requirements. In the opening paragraphs, we’ll provide quick answers to some common questions about Wisconsin lottery credit to help readers quickly grasp the key points.

What is Wisconsin lottery credit?

Wisconsin lottery credit is a tax credit that Wisconsin residents can claim on their state income tax return for lottery tickets purchased in Wisconsin. For each dollar spent on Wisconsin lottery tickets, you can claim a credit of 5% of that amount, up to a maximum credit of $600 for single filers and $1200 for married couples filing jointly.

Who is eligible for Wisconsin lottery credit?

To be eligible for Wisconsin lottery credit, you must:

  • Be a resident of Wisconsin for tax purposes
  • Have purchased Wisconsin lottery tickets during the tax year
  • Have Wisconsin taxable income

You do not need to win the lottery to claim the credit – it applies to all Wisconsin lottery ticket purchases.

How do I claim Wisconsin lottery credit?

To claim the credit, you’ll need to complete Schedule L on your Wisconsin income tax return. Schedule L is where you report the amount you spent on Wisconsin lottery tickets. The Department of Revenue will calculate the allowable credit based on the amount you enter.

Be sure to hang on to all your Wisconsin lottery tickets, receipts, and records to document your purchases in case your credit is audited.

Are there any restrictions on Wisconsin lottery credit?

The main restrictions are:

  • The maximum credit is $600 for single filers, $1200 for married joint filers.
  • The credit cannot exceed your tax liability – you can’t get a refund from lottery credit.
  • Lottery tickets purchased outside Wisconsin don’t qualify.
  • Only actual expenses qualify – no estimated or projected expenses.

Otherwise, all Wisconsin residents who buy lottery tickets in the state are eligible for the credit.

What records do I need to claim lottery credit?

You should keep records such as:

  • Lottery tickets
  • Lottery receipts
  • Bank/credit card statements showing lottery ticket purchases
  • A lottery expenditure log

These records prove how much you spent on Wisconsin lottery tickets. Keep them safe in case your credit is questioned.


Claiming Wisconsin lottery credit is easy – just save your lottery tickets and receipts during the tax year, total up your Wisconsin lottery expenses, and enter them on Schedule L when you file. With proper documentation, you can get up to a $600 tax credit for playing the Wisconsin lottery.

Detailed Steps to Claim the Credit

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s go through the detailed steps for claiming Wisconsin lottery credit:

  1. Purchase Wisconsin lottery tickets during the tax year. Scratch-offs, lotto, Powerball®, Megabucks® – anything with the Wisconsin Lottery logo qualifies.
  2. Save all your Wisconsin lottery tickets, receipts, bank statements, credit card statements, and any other documentation that proves your purchases.
  3. Track your Wisconsin lottery expenses. One easy way is to use a spreadsheet to log each purchase.
  4. When filing your Wisconsin tax return, complete Schedule L. Enter your total Wisconsin lottery ticket purchases for the year. The allowable credit will calculate at 5% of this amount, up to $600.
  5. Attach your supporting documentation. Include the records from Step 2 to validate the amount claimed.
  6. If audited, provide these records again to verify your credit claim. Only actual ticket purchases qualify – no estimates.

Follow these steps carefully and the Wisconsin Lottery credit can help lower your tax bill by up to $600!

Strategies to Maximize the Credit

Here are some tips to maximize your Wisconsin Lottery credit:

  • Buy early. Purchases made January 1st to December 31st qualify for that tax year’s credit. Buy early to get the full year’s credit.
  • Play more tickets. Buying more Wisconsin lottery tickets directly increases your credit (up to $600).
  • Pool purchases. Buy in groups and gather all tickets/receipts to split the credit.
  • Use rewards programs. Free ticket vouchers from lottery rewards clubs count too.
  • Buy near year-end. Purchases made before December 31st boost that year’s credit claim.

Use these tips to maximize your qualified expenses and get the full $600 credit if possible.

Common Questions

Let’s review some frequently asked questions about Wisconsin lottery credit:

Do I need to win the lottery to claim the credit?

No, the credit applies to all ticket purchases, regardless of whether you won a prize.

Can I claim lottery tickets purchased as a gift?

No, only tickets personally purchased by you qualify for the credit.

What about scratch-off tickets? Do they count?

Yes. All Wisconsin lottery tickets qualify, including scratch-offs.

Where do I claim my lottery credit?

Enter your qualified expenses on Schedule L when filing your Wisconsin income tax return.

What records should I keep to prove my purchases?

Keep all lottery tickets, receipts, bank/credit card statements, and a detailed log as proof. You may need to provide this verification if audited.

Comparisons to Other States

Wisconsin is one of a handful of states that offer a tax credit for lottery ticket purchases. Here’s how Wisconsin compares:

State Lottery Credit Details
Wisconsin 5% credit on purchases, up to $600 single/$1200 joint max
Delaware 20% credit on purchases, up to $100 max
New York 8% credit on purchases, up to $200 max
Pennsylvania 6% credit on purchases, up to $250 max

As you can see, Wisconsin is on the higher end both in terms of percentage (5%) and maximum amount ($600). Only a handful of U.S. states allow tax credits for lottery ticket purchases.

Possible Changes to the Credit

While the Wisconsin Lottery credit has been around for many years, there are occasional calls to change or eliminate it. Here are some possible changes that have been discussed:

  • Lowering the 5% credit rate to 2-3% instead
  • Capping the maximum credit at a lower amount like $100
  • Restricting the credit only to Wisconsin residents below a certain income level
  • Ending the lottery credit entirely

However, none of these changes have been enacted so far. The lottery credit remains 5% up to $600 maximum per filer. But taxpayers should be aware that the rules could change in future years.

Impact on the State

The Wisconsin lottery credit results in tens of millions per year in foregone tax revenue for the state. Recent estimates put the total amount around $80-90 million annually.

This revenue could otherwise fund state expenditures like schools, infrastructure, and social services. However, supporters argue the lottery credit encourages voluntary tax contributions through lottery sales.

The state does use lottery profits (after prizes and expenses) to fund property tax credits for Wisconsin residents. But the lottery credit reduces income tax collections for the general fund.

Public Opinion

Public opinion on the Wisconsin lottery credit is mixed. Supporters argue:

  • It encourages voluntary tax payments through lottery sales
  • The lottery benefits the state through profits
  • It’s a small perk for lower income taxpayers

Opponents counter:

  • It reduces tax revenue that could fund needed services
  • It subsidizes an activity with poor odds like lotteries
  • It mainly benefits higher income taxpayers

Lawmakers have debated the pros and cons over the years. But for now, the credit remains in place at 5% up to $600 per filer.

How to Get Refunds for Excess Credit

Because the Wisconsin lottery credit cannot exceed your tax liability, there is no way to get a refund for any excess credit.

For example, if you had $600 in qualified lottery ticket purchases, but only $400 in tax liability, your credit would max out at $400. You could not receive the extra $200 as a refund.

The only way to potentially get money back is if you overpaid your taxes through withholding or estimated payments. The lottery credit can help lower your final tax bill, resulting in a larger refund of your overpayments.

But the credit itself cannot generate arefund. Any excess over your liability is simply foregone. Proper tax planning can help minimize this issue.

Use of Lottery Proceeds by the State

Lottery ticket sales in Wisconsin generate significant revenue for the state. These funds are used in a few key ways:

  • Prizes – Around 65% of total ticket sales are paid back out as prizes.
  • Administrative Expenses – About 10% covers lottery operating expenses.
  • Retailer Commissions – Retailers get about 6-7% for selling tickets.
  • Property Tax Credit Fund – Remainder is transferred to the state to fund property tax credits for residents.

In fiscal year 2022, the Wisconsin Lottery generated over $900 million in ticket sales. Of this amount, around $80 million went to the property tax credit fund after prizes and expenses.

So while the lottery credit reduces income tax collections, the lottery itself does provide revenues that fund property tax relief.

Ethical Considerations

There are some ethical implications surrounding the Wisconsin lottery credit that warrant consideration:

  • It could be viewed as the state promoting an activity with poor odds like lotteries.
  • Lower income residents may waste money chasing the credit that could be used for necessities.
  • It causes inequities by benefiting ticket buyers over non-buyers.
  • The revenue loss could be better spent on social services or education.

However, others argue the credit is fair because it essentially refunds a small portion of the sales taxes paid on lottery tickets. Since the state sponsors the lottery, they view it as reasonable to offer this credit.

There are good-faith arguments on both sides of this issue. In any case, lawmakers should continue assessing the credit in an ethical framework to ensure it aligns with Wisconsin’s values.


The Wisconsin Lottery credit offers taxpayers a chance to get up to $600 off their state income taxes simply by playing the lottery. While not everyone takes advantage of this credit, it provides a nice extra deduction for Wisconsin residents who enjoy the lottery.

The eligibility requirements are straightforward – simply document your qualified lottery ticket purchases from the year, enter them on Schedule L, and let the 5% credit lower your final tax bill. Just be sure to keep all your supporting records in case the credit is questioned.

While this credit represents foregone revenue for Wisconsin, the lottery proceeds do provide property tax relief. There are also arguments on both sides regarding the ethics of offering this type of credit. Overall, the lottery credit remains popular among many Wisconsin taxpayers looking to lower their burden each year.