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?

  • I would go with -1 day. Or as accountants write it: (1). – Pete B. Jun 19 '18 at 11:46

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.

  • Except people who tried to prepay property taxes in Dec. to beat the new $10k limit imposed by TCJA :) – dave_thompson_085 Jun 18 '18 at 0:22
  • 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 '18 at 6:18
  • I accepted the answer because the question was about lottery tickets; any other types of gambling are irrelevant. – RJo Jun 22 '18 at 3:41

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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