“Winners are surprised by how much is withheld in taxes from the initial payment, and then how much more is owed with they file their taxes the following year,” said Jason Kurland, a partner at Rivkin Radler, a law firm in Uniondale, New York.
“All of the numbers involved in these huge jackpots are staggering, and the taxes are no exception,” said Kurland, who helps big lottery winners navigate their windfall.
The person will get to choose between taking the jackpot as an annuity spread out over three decades or as a lump sum of $254.6 million.
For federal taxes, lottery officials automatically withhold 24 percent of the money. If the winner goes with the cash option — which most winners do — that withholding would reduce the amount by $61.1 million to $193.5 million.