How to Cash in a Winning Lottery Ticket

by Alia Nikolakopulos ; Updated June 29, 2018
How to Cash in a Winning Lottery Ticket

Congratulations! You took a chance, and bought a winning lottery ticket. Now, you need to cash it. Winning lottery tickets may only be redeemed in the state where the ticket was purchased. Prizes up to a certain amount may be redeemed at any store or location that sells lottery tickets. However, prizes over a certain amount must be redeemed with the state lottery office. If your prize is over $600, the prize amount is reported to the IRS and you will have to pay taxes on the amount. The state lottery commission also sends a 1099 to you at the end of the year listing your prize over $600. Prizes that are less than $600 are not reported to the IRS, but this does not mean that they are not taxable.

Winnings Less Than $600

When you win less than $600, you can take your winning ticket to an authorized lottery retailer. It doesn't have to be redeemed at the same place you purchased the ticket, however, it does have to be redeemed in the same state. You can redeem a winning ticket from any type of lottery game to an authorized retailer when your prize is less than $600. Authorized retailers include stores and other establishments that sell lottery tickets in your state such as, convenience or grocery stores.

State Lottery Office

You can also take your lottery ticket to a state lottery office to redeem it. Although the lottery office cashes out winning tickets for any prize amount, many players take tickets showing a prize of over $600 to the lottery office as some authorized lottery retailers may not have enough cash on hand to pay out large winnings. To redeem with the office, visit the website for the winning ticket’s state lottery to find claim office locations. Don't forget, you must sign the back of your ticket in order to make sure you're the only one who can claim it.

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Mail in a Claim Form

If you do not wish to visit the lottery office in person, you may mail your winning ticket, along with a claim form, to the lottery office for the state where the ticket was purchased. If you live in a state other than the state you purchased the winning ticket, you may also use the mail-in method to redeem your prize easily. Locate claim forms on the state lottery website for the state where the winning ticket was purchased for further guidance.

About the Author

With a background in taxation and financial consulting, Alia Nikolakopulos has over a decade of experience resolving tax and finance issues. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and has been a writer for these topics since 2010. Nikolakopulos is pursuing Bachelor of Science in accounting at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.

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