Players Should Challenge IRS on Jackpot Wins

IRSJerry Faychak wonders whether he’s already seen the best days of casino gambling — and whether the IRS soon will make things worse for players and casinos alike.

An Internal Revenue Service idea to require reporting of slot jackpots of $600, half the current threshold of $1,200, “doesn’t reflect reality,” says Faychak, who retired after 50 years with Westinghouse, most of that time in research and development. He and his wife, Shirl, have gambled throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean since the ’80s.

“Thirty years ago, if you won $1,200 you were thrilled. We could pay for our (Las Vegas) trip with that,” says Faychak, 70, a slot and video-poker fan from Union Township, Washington County. “Today, $1,200 is a pittance.”

Faychak is among thousands of slot fans, horse bettors, horse-racing and casino-industry representatives and others who find fault with an IRS proposal to “update and simplify” tax regulations for slot, keno and bingo winnings.

Although the seven-page IRS explanation notes that the current $1,200 cutoff would not change with adoption of new regulations, it says technological advances since the limit was adopted in 1977 “may warrant reducing the threshold” to $600 in the future. The IRS requires businesses to report payments of $600 or more per year to independent contractors.

The IRS isn’t saying much. “The IRS and Treasury (Department) seek public comment on the proposed regulations before these are adopted as final,” says an agency statement to Player’s Advantage. “Careful consideration will be given to any written comments or electronic comments that are submitted timely.”

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