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Do I Owe Taxes on Fantasy Sports Winnings?

Apr 07, 2014

Q: I occasionally win money playing fantasy sports. Do I owe any taxes? If I do, how can I lower them? -- Erik, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

A: You owe taxes on all your winnings, though gaming organizations aren't required to report that income to the IRS or send you a 1099 unless your net income -- your total winnings minus your entry fees -- reaches $600.

The good news, says Douglas Mueller, a CPA in St. Louis, is that if you itemize deductions, you can write off any expenses or other gambling losses incurred in the same year.

Deductions can't exceed the amount of your winnings, however. And expenses must be directly related to your gambling.

Related: Should I Take Out a 401(k) Loan to Pay Off Debt?

The cost of a book on fantasy baseball strategy might be fair game, says Mueller, but a satellite-TV subscription to NFL games is out of bounds, since the benefit to you goes far beyond research.

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