Are you ready for some football? Or I guess the more appropriate question today should be have you placed your Super Bowl bets yet?
The Super Bowl is the most gambled-on sporting event in the United States. Super Bowl XLV features the closest betting line -- it's been holding in the 2.5 to 3 point range -- in 29 years, according to VegasInsider.com.
U.S. sports fans can only place bets on the big NFL game and other athletic events legally in Nevada. That geographic limitation is why millions of gamblers for the last couple of weeks have been making illegal wagers.
And that means the IRS will lose billions of dollars.
Gambling proceeds are taxable income, but folks who are making the money under the table aren't going to come clean at tax filing time.
Some folks, however, do report their winnings. And they provide us with today's By the Numbers figure:
In 2008, the latest tax year for which the IRS has complete data, gambling income was reported on 1.89 million returns. Those filers declared more than $27 billion in winnings from casinos and horse tracks, lottery and raffle jackpots, as well as the fair market value of cars, houses and other noncash prizes.
As for how many taxpayers didn't completely 'fess up on 2008 returns about their gambling income, the IRS won't even venture a guess. Or as an IRS spokesman once told me, "We can't tell you what we don't know."
But guesstimating that a whole heck of a lot of gambling income never gets taxed is a very safe bet.
- By the Numbers (2011 collection)
- Super Bowl is prime time for advertisers, betting and, yes, taxes
- IRS is big Super Bowl loser
- Super Bowl bets mean IRS losses
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