Tax strategies for lottery winners

Written by luke arthur
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Winning the lottery might provide you with enough money to fix all of your financial problems for life. When you win the lottery, you should deal with the taxes that come with those winnings before you start spending all of your money. There are a few different ways that you can handle your taxes in this situation.

Payment Choice

When you win the lottery, you will generally be able to choose between two different payment arrangements. You can usually decide to receive the money in a lump sum or over several payments over the course of many years. If you take the lump sum payment, the amount will generally be less than what the total jackpot was. If you take the payments, you can get the entire amount, but you will receive the money over several years.

Income Taxes

When you receive a payment from winning the lottery, you will have to pay income taxes in that year. You are not liable for taxes until you actually receive the money. With most lotteries, there is a grace period after you win in which you can claim your prize. This means that you will not have to count the income until the check comes to you. If you take a lump sum, you will have to pay a large tax bill all in that year. If you spread it out, you will pay taxes over the long term.

Estate Taxes

When you win the lottery, you also have to think about estate taxes. This can be a particularly complicated issue if you die before you receive the entire amount of your payout. To help your beneficiaries avoid estate taxes, you may be better off to take the lump sum and plan accordingly. For example, you could go ahead and pay the income taxes on the money and then put some in a trust arrangement to help avoid estate taxes for your beneficiaries.

Minimising Taxes

When you receive a lottery payout, you will have to pay a large percentage of your winnings back in taxes. To minimise the amount of money that you have to pay the Internal Revenue Service, there are a number of strategies that you can use. For example, you could give contributions to charities and deduct up to 50 per cent of your annual income. You could also give gifts to an unlimited number of individuals up to the annual gift-tax exemption level.

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