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How do I Report Gambling Losses and Winnings?

Q: I’m trying to find out if I can claim my Ohio lottery tickets that I scratched off and lost. If yes, how much do I need, and what kind of form do I need to file?

A: Gambling losses are only deductible if you have gambling winnings, and then only if you itemize your deductions. Report the winnings on line 21 of Form 1040 and the losses on line 28 of Schedule A to Form 1040.

 You can only deduct an amount equal to or less than the gambling winnings you have reported on your tax return. If you don't itemize your deductions already, because of other items, such as mortgage interest, state and local taxes, contributions, etc., the gambling losses may not be worth itemizing. Even if you had some gambling winnings, you may not have enough losses to claim to make it worth itemizing if your total itemized deductions would still be less than your standard deduction.

 These questions are actual inquiries submitted by taxpayers to our AARP Tax-Aide Program. The AARP Tax-Aide Program is a volunteer-run, free tax-preparation and assistance program offered to low- and middle-income taxpayers with special attention to those age 60 and older. Our volunteers are trained and IRS-certified to understand individual federal-tax issues. Our volunteers provide tax assistance as a public service and cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided.

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