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Mega Millions $1.6 Billion Jackpot Also Comes With a Mega Millions Tax Bill

Chris Morris

With a jackpot of $1.6 billion, tonight’s Mega Millions lottery drawing is the biggest in history. That could also land you a historic tax bill if you win, though don’t expect a lot of sympathy.

The Mega Millions drawing will be held Tuesday night at 11 p.m. ET—and the odds are categorically against you. As of Tuesday morning, they stand at 1 in 302.6 million and could go higher as people buy tickets before the 10:45 p.m. ET deadline). The Mega Millions tax bite, though, is pretty solid.

Expect to pay 24% of your jackpot winnings immediately. The government automatically deducts that for tax withholding. (Cheer up, though, it was 25% last year!) Assuming the Mega Millions jackpot doesn’t go up and you take the $904 million lump sum payment, that works out to just about $217 million automatically deducted.

You’re also going to see your tax bracket change with the windfall, though. Regardless of your income so far this year, welcome to the top of the financial food chain, where the tax rate is 37%. You’ll want to put aside another 13% of your Mega Millions jackpot winnings immediately. That’s another $117.5 million.

State taxes will take another bite from that jackpot. Those will vary depending on where you live. If you call California, Delaware, Florida, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, or Wyoming home, congratulations! None of these states tax lottery winnings. Otherwise, expect to pay up to just under 9%.

Add it all up and your takeaway from the $904 million Mega Millions lump sum is somewhere between $569.5 million and $490 million, a lot less than you started with (though there’s plenty left over to buy yourself something luxurious).

Incidentally, if you’re not a U.S. citizen, you can still win the Mega Millions lottery. However, you’ll face an immediate 30% withholding charge—$271.2 million—and you could face additional taxes in your home country.