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Who Can Reclaim Winnings From IRS 30% Withholding Tax?

Young lady celebrating her recovery of the 30% US withholding tax on her US gambling winnings. She used Recovery Management Services.With so much to see and do, it’s no surprise that the United States is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, attracting roughly 70 million people annually. For many visitors, nothing beats the sights and sounds of a casino—and the chance of winning big. Not all winners are created equal, though; depending on what country you live in, your winnings could be subject to a 30% withholding tax.

Under U.S. law, substantial gambling winnings, typically over $1,200, are considered taxable income and subject to a withholding tax, though not all forms of gambling are taxable. If you love playing slots, gambling, playing poker, taking a chance on the lottery, or betting on horse races, a portion of your winnings can get withheld. But no matter where you live, gambling income is not taxed if you like to play blackjack, baccarat, craps, roulette, or Big Six wheel.

As a result of individual tax treaties, the gambling income won by those living in certain countries is not taxable by the U.S. Some of the countries that have signed gaming treaty tax exemptions include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean the gambling winnings of residents of these countries are free and clear; when you get home, your government will tax you on those winnings.

List of Countries Subject to 30% Withholding Tax

The tax exemption list might seem big, but there are a lot more countries not on that list; essentially, every other country in the world.

If you’re from Malta, your gambling winnings are taxed at 10%. All other countries, including Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Mexico, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates, are subject to a 30% withholding tax.

Of the top 10 international markets that visit the U.S., half are subject to a 30% withholding tax. Canada and Mexico come in at first and second place, respectively, while Brazil (5th), China (7th), South Korea (9th), and Australia (10th) round out the list.

When it comes to visitor spending, six of the top 10 countries have 30% of their winnings taxed, including Canada (1st), Mexico (4th), Brazil (5th), China (6th), Australia (8th), and India (10th).

Not so coincidentally, tourists from these countries love visiting the gambling capitals of America. Las Vegas is the undisputed champion of gambling in the U.S., Los Angeles is the most popular gambling destination on the West Coast, and Atlantic City remains popular on the East Coast. That said, it’s legal to gamble in some form in most U.S. states; that means Canadians and other non-U.S. residents can take a chance on slot machines, poker, or horse racing from coast-to-coast.

RMS: The #1 Choice Internationally for Gaming and Casino Tax Refunds

Road sign reading "Tax Refund Ahead" on an azure sky. Refund Management Services has been helping Canadians recover their tax withholdings since 1998.Refund Management Services (RMS) has successfully completed the most U.S. gambling tax refunds for Canadians and other non-U.S. residents since 1998. In fact, Refund Management Services has NEVER BEEN REFUSED AN ELIGIBLE REFUND.

If you won a substantial amount while gambling in the U.S. and had 30% of your winnings withheld by the IRS, Refund Management Services can help. That’s because the U.S. casino tax recovery professionals at RMS have CA designation and are certified Certified acceptance agents for filing W-7 applications.

In order to claim the 30% U.S. casino tax withheld by the IRS, you need to meet several requirements:

  • You must be a non-U.S. citizen at the time of your winnings and have proof that you are not a resident of the U.S.
  • Your winnings (or a portion thereof) were withheld by a gaming facility in the U.S.
  • You make your claim within three years of winning.

If you’ve won money in the U.S. while gambling and have had a portion of your winnings withheld by the IRS, contact Refund Management Services toll-free from the United States or Canada at 1-888-272-5559.

In just five minutes, we’ll explain how RMS can help you get a portion or all of your gaming tax refund back. In some cases, we can get your withheld winnings returned in as little as six to nine weeks.

U.S. Department of Commerce, “Fast Facts: United States Travel and Tourism Industry, 2013,” May 2014; http://travel.trade.gov/outreachpages/download_data_table/Fast_Facts_2013.pdf.

U.S. Department of Commerce, “Top 10 International Markets: 2013 Visitation and Spending;” http://travel.trade.gov/pdf/2013-Top-10-Markets.pdf, last accessed November 27, 2014.


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