Topic 419 - Gambling Income and Losses

The following rules apply to casual gamblers. Gambling winnings are fully taxable and you must report them on your tax return. Gambling income includes but is not limited to winnings from lotteries, raffles, horse races, and casinos. It includes cash winnings and the fair market value of prizes such as cars and trips. For additional information, refer to Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income or review Do I Need To Claim My Gambling Winnings and Can I Deduct My Gambling Losses? on IRS.gov.

A payer is required to issue you a Form W-2G (PDF), Certain Gambling Winnings, if you receive certain gambling winnings or if you have any gambling winnings subject to federal income tax withholding. You must report all gambling winnings on your Form 1040 (PDF) as "Other Income" (line 21), including winnings that are not subject to withholding. In addition, you may be required to pay an estimated tax on your gambling winnings. For information on withholding on gambling winnings, refer to Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax. If you are considered a nonresident alien of the United States for income tax purposes and you have to file a tax return, you must use Form 1040NR (PDF), U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return. Refer to Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, and Publication 901, U.S. Tax Treaties, for more information.

You may deduct gambling losses only if you itemize deductions. However, the amount of losses you deduct may not be more than the amount of gambling income reported on your return. Claim your gambling losses on Form 1040, Schedule A (PDF) as an "Other Miscellaneous Deduction" (line 28) that is not subject to the 2% limit. A nonresident alien of the United States cannot deduct gambling losses.

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. Refer to Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions, for more information.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: January 28, 2015