Winnings earned from casino gambling would be taxed as per a decision taken by the Columbus administration during a meeting held last week. As declared, all winnings on church raffles, games of chance, state-run lottery and other drawings would be subject to 2.5% income tax. The gamblers who bag cash prizes from basket-ball tournament pools or playing bingo would also be taxed. The rule would be applicable to the non-residents who are declared jackpot winners in Columbus and the city residents who happen to bag jackpot in Las Vegas, Columbus or Louisiana. Rate of Income Tax of Columbus is the highest among the four cities that impose the same. Cleveland, Toledo and Cincinnati have already imposed the said tax in the year 2009.
As per the city ordinance, the winnings up to $1,200 or more at a video-lottery terminal or at a casino would be subject to income tax; the threshold being $600 for drawings, horse racing, lotteries and promotions.
The income tax will become a reality before 8th of October, the opening day of Hollywood casino on the West Side. The city’s income-tax administrator, Melinda Frank said that the scheme of income tax is in line with the Ohio’s Revised Code. She added that the amount of revenue for the city from the income tax is not clear as yet. Income tax for casino winnings in Cleveland is two percent, while winnings of $2,500 or more are taxable in Toledo whereas Cincinnati’s taxation rate is almost the same as in Columbus. The city would not permit to recover the amount of income tax through losses, unless the same are claimed by the professional gamblers who depend upon gambling alone for their day-to-day needs. The owner of Columbus and Toledo casinos and a spokesman for Penn National Gaming; Bob Tenenbaum holds Penn responsible for income tax on single winnings of $1,200 or more. He said that the income tax on jackpots on electronic games or slot machines could be recovered straightway from the winnings but for other games, things have to be sorted out after deliberate discussions. He expressed that the gamblers making fortunes from the Columbus casino’s blackjack, 30-table poker room, roulette, craps and other table games would be required to declare the wins in their annual income tax returns to be submitted to IRS for the city. The winnings made by the Columbus residents in their returns would be disclosed to the city through an agreement with the IRS, said Frank who added that audits would ensure full payment of taxes. A senior project director for Policy Matters Ohio, Wendy Patton said that the decision of income tax on the casino winnings reflects the city’s economic preferences. Patton added that it is a very good act on the part of the city in the context of its economy.
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