Form W-2G: Certain Gambling Winnings

A W-2G, also known as Form W-2G: Certain Gambling Winnings, is a document issued by casinos and other gambling establishments to report winnings to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) [1]. You will receive this form if you had gambling winnings during the previous year that meet specific reporting thresholds.

Purpose of Form W-2G

The W-2G serves two main purposes:

A. Reporting Winnings: It informs the IRS about the amount you won gambling, which is considered taxable income.

B. Withholding Taxes: Casinos or gambling establishments may withhold federal income tax from your winnings and report the withheld amount on the W-2G. This helps ensure you pay taxes on your gambling income.

When Will You Receive a W-2G?

You will generally receive a W-2G if you have winnings exceeding the following thresholds:

  • $1,200 or more from bingo or slot machines.
  • $1,500 or more from keno winnings, minus the amount you wagered.
  • $5,000 or more from poker tournaments (including any buy-in returned to you).
  • $600 or more from other types of gambling, if the payout is at least 300 times the amount you wagered (e.g., winning $1,800 on a $6 wager).

Important Note: Even if you don't receive a W-2G, you are still obligated to report all your gambling winnings on your tax return.

How do I use the W-2G to file my taxes?

  • Include the total winnings amount shown in Box 1 on your tax return as income.
  • Report any federal income tax withheld (Box 4) on your tax return as income tax withheld.
  • You can claim gambling losses up to the amount of your winnings to potentially reduce your taxable income. However, you will need documentation to substantiate your losses (receipts, statements, etc.).

What happens if I don't receive a W-2G?

Even without a W-2G, you are still responsible for reporting all your gambling winnings on your tax return. You can use your own records to track your winnings and losses.

Can I deduct gambling losses if they exceed my winnings?

Unfortunately, no. You can only deduct gambling losses up to the amount of your winnings. So, if you lose more than you win, you cannot deduct the excess loss on your tax return.

I received a W-2G, but I gambled outside the US. Do I still need to report it?

Yes, even gambling winnings from outside the US are considered taxable income and need to be reported on your tax return.