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What happens if you win Mega Millions’ $970M jackpot?


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DES MOINES, Iowa — Despite the terrible odds — one in 302.5 million for those keeping score at home — someone will eventually match all six numbers and win the Mega Millions jackpot, which now stands at $970 million. It could happen as soon as Friday night, when the next drawing is held.

That would leave most of us disappointed but some lucky winner beset by a host of questions. Here are some answers for someone holding that prized lottery ticket for what would be the second-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.


Lottery officials recommend winners take a deep breath, put their winning ticket in a safe spot and consult with a reputable financial planner before popping over to the lottery headquarters. Their first decision is whether to take the cash option, which would now be $548 million, or an annuity, with one initial payment and annual installments over 29 years. Nearly all winners opt for cash, but the annuity has advantages, as it reduces the tax bill a little and offers a stable flow of income that climbs by 5 percent annually.


States have different rules, so depending on where you purchased the ticket, you have from 180 days to a year.


No, you can’t just cash one of those oversized checks shown in all the winner photos. Payment speed also varies by state, but a week or two is common. Carole Gentry, a spokeswoman for the Maryland lottery, said the requirement is seven to 10 days in that state.


Winners can remain anonymous in six states — Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and South Carolina. In Arizona, people who win more than $600 can keep their names secret for 90 days after claiming prizes, but after that names are public record. In Michigan, winners are anonymous unless they win Mega Millions or Powerball prizes.


For winners of $5,000 or more, all states automatically deduct 24 percent in federal taxes but state taxes vary widely. Some big states, including California, don’t withhold taxes from lottery winnings, and some like Texas don’t have individual income taxes at all. For the others, the state takes a bite, especially in New York, where a winner would need to pay a state tax of 8.8 percent. Residents of New York City would pay an additional tax of 3.9 percent. In general, taxes eat up nearly half of winnings.

Melissa Labant, a tax policy expert at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, said winners should realize that while taxes are initially withheld when prizes are awarded, more money will likely be due at tax time as people suddenly are in up to a 37 percent tax bracket.

“That catches people off guard,” she said. “You have to be prepared to write another check to the IRS in April.”



This can get complicated, but for the most part winners pay taxes where they bought the ticket and then can get a credit on their taxes in their home state. The final tax bill can depend on if the state where you live taxes at a higher or lower rate than where you purchased the ticket. Rules vary by state, so this is a good topic for that financial planner.


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we would go celebrate at the olive garden!

then buy clothes for all the kids

I want an AR in 458 and a doberman

get the wife a new ipad and some nail polish

maybe have a celebratory bottle of beer

go to the beach and relax


I would still go to work, i just wouldn't care about doing such an awesome job


I would not buy mom and sister a house, but maybe pay their rent for a while/forever

mom gets a new car


that's about it, pretty simple, plus the fact that we could have anything else we wanted would be really nice. stay humble...



I work with a guy who won the lotto while out for lunch on his break.. 1 million dollars... a year later that fool is back here at the factory working his ass off because he cant afford his house taxes and other bills he racked up....


and im sure you all hear about the people who buy tons of drug or fast cars and die really fast....


winning the lotto might not be a good thing

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I would buy Minnesota and force SuperAmerica to relocate their evil headquarters from Coon Rapids to Detroit.

Dismantle the Mackinac Bridge and declare the Republic of Superior..  We don't need more Mitten Heads.

Transplant moose to Kentucky.

Buy Eric a knife.

Buy Rabbi a 747-800.

Then, pasties for all!

Edited by tous
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Shite odds, but what the hell. You only gotta hit it once.


That's ridiculous money. you could by most of any rural county in a flyover state. Definitely buy the Sheriff and his boys enough new equipment to ignore the occasional speeding ticket.


The compound would be grand. Party at Tad's house.

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In the unlikely event I win I would assign the winnings to a trust and try to maintain some degree of anonymity. Any of the few relatives who receive disbursements would have to sign an acknowledgment that what they receive is a one time good deal and that ******* off the money WILL NOT make them eligible for another disbursement EVER. 

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First, I'd have my attorney create all legal means to never have anyone but him know I won.  Then, perpetual funding for my kids that they can't blow all at once.

For myself, I'd upgrade to a 74' Viking or similar, and better transportation, something that could hop the pond, so to speak.


I'd send out invitations to all on TBS to a party, perhaps at Knob Creek.  We could all sit around and speculate who is footing the party bill.  Ooops, I et the cat out of the bag.  ?

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