I know I can write off losing lottery tickets (a) up to the amount of any winnings, and (b) provided I itemize my federal taxes.

But does that apply only to losses in the same year as winnings, or can the losing tickets be carried forward so that losses accumulated over the years can be claimed?


2 Answers 2


In general, you can only deduct expenses in the year the expenses were paid. The only exceptions to this that are talked about in Publication 17 are investment interest carryover and charitable contributions carryover.

Gambling losses cannot carry forward to future years, for most tax situations.

Per the IRS:

"If you itemize your deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040), you can deduct gambling losses you had during the year, but only up to the amount of your winnings. If you're in the trade or business of gambling, use Schedule C (Form 1040)."

  • 1
    Those are not the only exceptions and makes this answer go from decently correct to becoming very wrong. It overly simplifies the nuances carved out for gambling taxes.
    – CQM
    Jun 18, 2018 at 6:18

The default tax treatment involves only gambling losses from that same year.

Even with converting professional gambling into Net Operating Losses, you would still need tickets from the current year.

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