Claiming Your Winnings on April 15th Tax Day


April 15th 2013 is the deadline to file your taxes. For those getting a nice juicy refund you have most likely filed early. For anyone that owes, waiting until the very last day is what most will do. It is the time of year Uncle Sam is grinning ear to ear as the moolah comes rolling in.

It was not until 1862 that Congress imposed the first income tax law. During the Civil War Americans who earned $600 to $10,000 was taxed 3% of their income. Today that percentage is nearly 30% of your total income when adding up Federal/State, Social Security and Medicare.

Gambling wins are not exempt from paying taxes and the following must be reported:

$600 or more at a race track

$1,200 or more at a slot machine or bingo game

$1,500 or more in keno winnings

$5,000 or more in poker tournament winnings

The only nice advantage a gambler has is reporting losses on wagering throughout the year to offset the wins.

It would be interesting to know the why certain forms of gambling allow higher winnings before a tax is imposed. You are allowed to win up to $5,000 on poker yet the Bingo player is only allowed $1,200.

It sort of is the same concept that has us scratching our heads at only certain forms of gambling are allowed to be played online like Horse Racing or the Lottery in some states. Then there were talks of allowing only games of skill to be played online when and if the law was to ever be passed.

Aren't Blackjack, Poker and Sports betting a game of skill? It does require a certain amount of knowledge and thinking process. Yet State Lotteries that are purely a game of chance is legal online.

To complicate matters more the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 prohibited the operation of certain betting interpreting that online gambling was illegal. However that was until recently the Act was deciphered again and has been determined to refer to Sports betting only. So if that is the case why is the US still banned from playing Bingo, Slots, Casino Games or Poker online?

Are you confused yet? Well, it is that time of year and taxes and gambling laws are in the same class of complete chaos in trying to reason or understand it all.

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