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Casinos: Poker winners must do tax form

  Tax  -   POSTED: 2008/03/02 17:11

Starting Tuesday, it's going to get harder for poker tournament winners to bluff the tax man.

Casinos will be required to report winnings of $5,000 or more to the Internal Revenue Service, and will hand gamblers a tax form to record the payout.

It's actually a compromise from an original IRS proposal that would have made casinos withhold 25 percent of tournament winnings for tax purposes.

“There was such an outrage and outcry from the community, to suck all that money out” that the government changed its mind, Marissa Chien, a gambling tax expert in Las Vegas, told The Press of Atlantic City for Monday's newspapers.

“It allows the IRS to keep track of poker players, because poker is real big now,” said Chien, who is co-author of the book “Tax Help For Gamblers.”

Kevin Lillo, a shift manager at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, said the new rule will be little more than “a slight inconvenience.”

“It's always been the law” to report winnings, he said. “All they're doing is making the casino enforce it. They're seeing money that's falling through the cracks.”

Bruce Kramer of Voorhees has never won $5,000 in a single tournament, but he could see how it would be a problem for serious players.

Gamblers across the country are already required to report all their winnings, whether it's from tournaments, slot machines or table games.

“If you're already reporting your income and being truthful and honest, this shouldn't affect you one bit,” Chien said. “But for those who try to stay off the radar, this is going to make it that much harder.”


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