What is a W2G Tax Form?

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Tax forms on a table

We get a lot of questions about jackpots and taxes. Here’s one:

When you hit a jackpot and get a W2G, do you have to claim the whole amount on the W2G or just your net winnings for the session?

Cathy

This particular question we received opened the doors to zooming out a bit and discussing what a W2G is to begin with, and how they’re issued.

A W2G is a required reporting of a win at a casino based on rules set by the IRS. For slots and other electronic games, a $1,200 win on any single wager is when a W2G is required to be issued. For table games, the rules are a bit different and a bit more complex. 

When a W2G is generated, that information is shared with the IRS, and you’re given a paper that you then use for filing with your taxes. Gambling winnings is treated as income, and has to be reported accordingly.

The reason this matters is it gets to the crux of your question. When a W2G is issued, it is looking at that single wager and the outcome, so your full session isn’t involved as far as the paperwork is concerned. It’s all about that single wager that triggered the jackpot.

If you itemize your deductions on your taxes, which tax filers can do if they have a large enough amount of deductions to do so in lieu of the standard deduction, you have the ability to factor in wins and losses as a whole to put your losses against your wins, but that means all wins and all losses. We’ve previously written about this topic to share a bit more detail as to what’s involved there.

So in the case of the document generated, it’s a snapshot in time, effectively, of something that happened when you pressed that spin button. The entire amount you won is reported, and whether you can claw back losses depends on your filing situation.


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