How Lottery Winners Are Taxed

Many people dream of winning the lottery, but winning it takes more than luck to achieve. Success requires careful planning, analysis and some audacity on your part.

The jackpot rolled over 21 times until two tickets sold in California and Wisconsin successfully matched all numbers, opting for the cash option each time.


Powerball is a nationwide lottery game offering players the chance to win cash and prizes at its top prize level. Each base ($1.00) play adds to the jackpot pool, which continues growing if no winner is chosen in one drawing. An estimated jackpot is determined based on factors like how much money has accumulated in said pool as well as projected sales projections and market interest rates of securities that might fund an annuity contract.

Edwin Castro of California recently won the second-highest jackpot ever awarded at any casino – $997 Million to be precise! Since winning, he has purchased three multimillion-dollar homes throughout California as well as making donations to charities in his community.

Mega Millions

Mega Millions draws more ticket buyers due to its large jackpots, increasing the chances of a winning combination. Unfortunately, there is no statistical basis for many popular picking strategies; odds for winning the jackpot are extremely slim (1 in 303 million), though eight smaller prize tiers offer lower probabilities; players can purchase an “Easy Pick” ticket that automatically selects numbers; for an additional $1 USD fee, players can add the Megaplier option which multiplies non-jackpot winnings up to five times!

Winnings may be subject to both federal and state income taxes; however, certain states don’t impose them. The top prize can take the form of either an annuity payment spread out over 30 annual installments, or cash as one lump sum payment; one winning ticket sold in Florida won a record jackpot worth an unprecedented $1.6 billion on August 8, 2023!


Megabucks starts at a jackpot of $1 Million and increases every week until someone claims it. Play Megabucks either online or in person to experience some of the best jackpot odds anywhere! Each play costs one dollar with additional options such as “The Kicker” that increase your chances of success even further.

Winners have 60 days from their date of win to select either a lump sum cash payment or an annuity payment plan as the method to collect their jackpot prize.

Luck struck in a small Wisconsin village called Luck when one of its residents won a $15.1 million Megabucks jackpot, the lottery announced. Wayne’s Food Plus in Luck was where they sold him the winning ticket.

Cash option

Depending on how you win the lottery, your prize could either come in one lump sum payment or via annuity payments. With a lump sum payment option, all the money will come at once after taxes and discounts have been withheld; an annuity allows you to invest the funds as they arrive – potentially helping to increase long-term returns; however taxes could still apply, though likely at a higher rate than on a lump sum payment.

Stoltmann recommends lottery winners assemble a team of professionals, such as an attorney, CPA and financial planner to carefully consider their options and avoid making common errors such as overspending or not saving enough. By working closely together they can avoid common pitfalls like overspending or not setting aside enough for unexpected expenses in their savings account.


The IRS assesses lotterie winnings, with large jackpots potentially placing lottery winners into the highest income tax bracket. Furthermore, depending on how they elect to claim their prize money they may also incur state and local taxes.

Reaping their prize in annual payments could lower their tax bill; however, prioritizing speaking with their CPA or financial adviser will ensure they don’t exhaust their winnings too quickly and end up having to pay additional taxes in the future.

Lottery agencies must withhold 24% of winnings over $5,000 as federal taxes, though this can leave a difference between what was withheld and the final taxes owed due to fluctuating federal tax brackets based on your income level.

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