How Much Money Would You Actually Get if You Won Mega Millions in the Berkshires?
As of Monday afternoon, the upcoming Mega Millions jackpot sits at an astounding -- and record shattering -- $1.6 billion. That number is so big that it has us pondering what we would do with all of that extra income.
We all are very much aware that the chances of us winning this jackpot are very slim. As a matter of fact, the chances of winning it are 1 in 302,575,350. Yes, you read that right. However, that doesn't stop us from thinking about what life would be like to be debt free with lots of houses, cars and toys while helping out our families, friends and favorite charities.
That begs the question -- despite the gigantic odds against us -- how much would we actually take home in the Berkshires should we do the unthinkable?
Before I break this down for you, it will be far, far less than you would expect.
The Winner's Choice
First off, if you are lucky enough to have the winning ticket, you will have the choice of accepting a lump sum, or taking an annuity that would be paid out over a 29-year span. As you would expect, most people will go with the lump sum. As it stands currently, that sum would be $904.9 million; which is nothing to sneeze at.
The Tax-Man Cometh
The victory would be incredibly sweet. Over $900 million in your bank account? Not so fast. Uncle Sam is going to need his piece of the proverbial pie -- in the amount of 37-percent, which is the federal tax rate on income of over $500,000 for individuals. The first thing the tax folks are going to do is take 24-percent right off the bat. It is extremely important to note that you still have to pay the remaining 13-percent of those winnings come tax time 2018.
At this point, your $904.9 million worth of winnings gets $217,176,000 taken off the top immediately, leaving you with $687,724,000 -- which is still an outlandish amount of money. Don't forget, you still have to pay the final 13-percent in April during tax season -- extremely important to remember if you win.
Taxes Don't Stop There
We don't live in California, Delaware, Florida, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington or Wyoming. That means that the state will take their piece of the winnings.
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the lottery tax sits at five percent. Don't worry, I have done the math for you. Should one of us in the Berkshires, or in Massachusetts in general, win the biggest lottery jackpot in history on Tuesday night, the state tax on the lump sum winnings would equal $45,245,000.
That would leave us with a total of $639,479,000.
For our friends in New York, who would pay a state lottery tax of 8.82-percent, that would equate to $607,911,820.
The moral of the story, even though you would lose close to $1 billion with the lump sum option and with the incredible amount of taxes, you would still take home well over $600 million. I wouldn't throw all of your eggs in one basket, but even for someone who doesn't play the lottery that often myself, I will be throwing in a few bucks to try to get extremely lucky. I did, in fact, hit the Megaball number to win me a whopping free ticket for Tuesday's drawing.
Onwards and upwards, I suppose.