February 28, 2011
Can I deduct gambling losses on my tax return?

Gambling winnings are taxable income on your tax return and are reported to you on form W-2G. You can deduct gambling losses on your tax return only if you itemize tax deductions and only to the extent of your gambling winnings. Claim your gambling losses as a miscellaneous tax deduction on Schedule A of Form 1040. It is important to keep an accurate diary or similar record of your gambling winnings and gambling losses. To deduct your gambling losses on your tax return, you must be able to provide receipts, tickets, statements or other records that show the amount of both your gambling winnings and gambling losses. You cannot deduct or carry forward a net gambling loss on your tax return; even if you are a professional gambler.

The IRS provides the following guidelines for proving gambling winnings and gambling losses that you report on your on your tax return:
an accurate diary or similar record regularly maintained by the taxpayer, supplemented by verifiable documentation usually is acceptable evidence for substantiation of gambling winnings and gambling losses. In general, the diary should contain at least the following information:
  • date and type of specific wager or gambling activity
  • name of gambling establishment
  • address or location of gambling establishment
  • name(s) of other person(s) present with you at gambling establishment
  • amount(s) of gambling winnings or gambling losses

Verifiable documentation includes, but is not limited to,
  • gambling tickets
  • canceled checks
  • credit records
  • bank withdrawals
  • and statements of actual gambling winnings or payment slips provided by the gambling establishment.

When possible, the diary and available documentation of the placement and settlement of a wager should be supported by such documentation as hotel bills, airline tickets, gasoline credit cards, or affidavits or testimony from responsible gambling officials regarding the wagering activity.
Topic: Advice