All Things Tax

All Things Tax

Like the title says, from the filing process and tax questions to tax policy and reform, you can search and share All Things Tax here. This is the place to find answers to all your general questions that don't fall under the other categories. And just a reminder: questions about software or online filing should be posted in DIY Products.

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Pioneer
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎07-31-2017

How to report gambling winnings/losses

According to IRS  Topic 419

 

"Gambling winnings are fully taxable and you must report the income on your tax return."

 

also...

 

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

 

Since  all gambling winnings  are taxable and must be reported, we run into a problem regarding certain situations in a casino. A W2-G is typically only given out for jackpot wins on machine games, progressive jackpot wins at a table, and tournament prizes. Most traditional table games, like blackjack, craps, poker, roulette, do not issue a W2-G or any other kind of receipt, ticket or statement for the cash winnings. This seems like a major gray area.  Even if you asked the cashier for a printed receipt at the counter, it wouldn't itemize your winnings from losses and your original stake in the game(s), neither would a Win-Loss statement (which is not always available anyway).  A dairy alone would not be sufficient proof of wins/losses (as referenced above) without verifiable documents to prove your activity.   If someone were to be audited after reporting gambling  income, but did not have this supporting documentation (which would be impossible to obtain), there would be a potential for trouble, would there not? 

 

That begs the question: How would one accurately report those winnings/losses?

 

 

 

Tax Pro
Posts: 5,442
Registered: ‎02-23-2016

Re: How to report gambling winnings/losses

Hi jm76,

 

Welcome to the H&R Block community.

 

You have an excellent point here.  You may not have a receipt for individual table games.  However, it is your responsibility to keep track of winnings and losses.

 

Keeping a good record when you have no way of obtaining a receipt that shows everything that's relevant is sufficient.  If you can get a receipt from the counter when you buy chips that shows your stake then at a minimum that serves as proof that you did in fact make the wager, so keep any receipts that you can get with your record book.  You don't have to track every single hand you play at a table game, but if you jot down how many chips you started the game with and then jot down how many you finished the game with then you can figure out the outcome of each game and you can create your own activity log.  If you purchased any additional chips during play add that to your starting amount to figure your total cost in that game.

 

If you have any other questions I'll be glad to help.

 

Louis,
Senior Tax Advisor (Tampa, FL)