1. TurboTax /
  2. Tax Calculators & Tips /
  3. Tax Tips & Videos /
  4. Fun Facts /
  5. Tallying Up the Taxes of Powerball Winnings

Tallying Up the Taxes of Powerball Winnings

Updated for Tax Year 2017


OVERVIEW

If you find yourself holding a lottery ticket that doesn’t bear the winning numbers of an epic Powerball drawing, take heart. Although the odds of winning a Powerball grand prize are only 1 in 292 million, they improve to 1 in less than 12 million for the smaller $1 million prize. Here's an idea of what you’ll owe the IRS in taxes if you should win.


Choosing the lump sum payout vs the annuity option

Couple holding wine glasses

If you choose to take the lump sum payout, a $1.5 billion jackpot is really worth about $930 million. That’s because $930 million is the actual jackpot and the $1.5 billion is the calculated worth if you choose the annuity payment plan.

The annuity option are annual payments stretched out over 29 years. When you choose this, you end up with more money over the long haul because the base amount—$930 million—accrues interest earned over an additional 29 years after the year in which you win. The money you haven't taken yet is invested for you.

You must pay federal income tax if you win

You'll fall into the highest tax bracket in the year you win if you take the jackpot in a lump sum. As of 2017, this means you'll likely owe the IRS at least 39.6% in taxes. If the bounty is spread out over 30 years, you may not be in the highest tax bracket each year, depending on the size of your prize and your other income.

All winnings over $5,000 are subject to tax withholding by lottery agencies at the rate of 25%. This potentially leaves a gap between the mandatory amount of withholding and the total tax you'll ultimately owe, depending on your tax bracket.

It works out something like this if you take the lump sum for the $930 million jackpot:

  • $930 million, less 25% withheld = $232,500,000
  • Less an additional $135,780,000 (to meet 39.6% tax rate)
  • Total prize after federal income tax = $561,720,000

Gift and estate taxes

As of 2017, the Internal Revenue Code allows you to give away—by gift and from your estate when you die—a total of $5.49 million over the course of your lifetime. You'll owe an additional 40% gift tax for any cash or property transfers you make over $5.45 million, as well as a 40% estate tax on the value of your remaining estate.

Be careful with pool winnings

If you join a pool with others to buy a stockpile of tickets, your prize will be smaller because you're sharing it. But you're still subject to the income tax rate for the bracket your portion of the winnings places you into. If you personally claim the prize on behalf of everyone in your pool, protect yourself by documenting that the entire windfall isn’t yours.

If you collect the total winnings, then allot everyone else their share, the IRS may assume that you're giving the money away, which can result in the gift tax. You might also be responsible for paying income tax on the entire winnings. Have everyone enter into the pool with a written contract defining his or her shares, which you can then provide to the IRS if necessary.

Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $54.99*
Sign In

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Absolute Zero $0 federal (1040EZ/1040A) + $0 state offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed: File your 2016 TurboTax Self-Employed return between 4/19/17 and 10/16/17 to receive your complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 10/31/18. Activation by 12/31/17 required. Sign in to QuickBooks Self-Employed via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/turbotax; e-mail address used for activation and sign-in. Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers. See QuickBooks.com for price comparison.
    • When you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2017 taxes, you will have the option to renew your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription. If you do not purchase TurboTax Self-Employed by 10/15/18, you will have the option of renewing your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 10/31/18 for another year at the then-current annual subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section.
  • Pays for itself (TurboTax Self-Employed): Estimates based on deductible business expenses calculated at the self-employment tax income rate (15%) for tax year 2016. Actual results will vary based on your tax situation.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Expert Help, Tax Advice and SmartLook: Included with Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed (via phone or on-screen); not included with Federal Free Edition (but available for purchase with the Plus bundle). SmartLook on-screen help is available on a PC, laptop or the TurboTax mobile app. TurboTax experts provide general advice, customer service and product help; tax advice provided only by credentialed CPAs, enrolled agents and tax attorneys. Feature availability varies by device. State tax advice is free. Service, area of expertise, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • Tax Return Access, My Docs and My Analysis & Advice features: Access to all tax-related documents we have on file for you is available until you file your 2017 tax return or through 10/31/2018, whichever comes first. Terms and conditions may vary and are subject to change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • #1 rated online tax prep provider: Based on independent comparison of the best online tax software by TopTenReviews.com March 13, 2017.
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2016 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies; may require a free Intuit online account. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2016 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2012 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.