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pennsylvania lottery winners handbook

RSL-500 (02-16) Winners Handbook

    Britton Patterson 4 years ago Views:

1 RSL-500 (02-16) Winners Handbook

2 Table of Contents: Congratulations! How to claim a major prize Sign your lottery ticket Group claims When and how you will get your money Sharing Your Story How can I tell my story? Must I tell my story? Can I form a trust to remain anonymous? What should I do if I am contacted by the news media? Taxes and Financial Issues What will I have to pay in taxes? Will Lottery withhold additional funds from my check? How can I protect my new wealth? What should I do if I am contacted by investment or financial advisers? Annuity Information Should I take the cash or annuity prize? I selected the annuity option but changed my mind – can the Lottery give me a lump-sum payment instead? What happens if I die before I receive all of my annuity payments? How do I update my beneficiary information or address? Protecting Your Security & Avoiding Scams Contact Information

3 Congratulations! Thank you for playing the Pennsylvania Lottery, which benefits older Pennsylvanians every day! This guide is designed to answer questions you may have about claiming your Lottery prize, when you ll receive payment, sharing your winning experience and protecting your security in the future. How to Claim a Major Prize If you ve won a multi-state game jackpot or top prize, your prize claim must be made in-person at Lottery headquarters in Middletown, Dauphin County. Also, claims for annuity top prizes for instant games must be made at Lottery headquarters. When making a claim, you must present the winning ticket as well as a legal form of photo identification, like a drivers license or passport. The Pennsylvania Lottery encourages each top prize or jackpot winner to hire a trustworthy financial adviser and seek legal counsel. Then, when you are ready to file your major prize claim, call to speak with a Lottery representative for additional instructions. For instructions on how to claim other prizes, visit palottery.com and read How to Claim Your Prize. Many prizes may be claimed at the retail level, by visiting a Lottery area office or by submitting a prize claim by mail. Sign Your Lottery Ticket Signing your ticket is the best protection all lottery players can give themselves because it proves ownership of the ticket. Each lottery ticket is a bearer document, which means it is legally owned by the person possessing it, at least until it is signed. That s why it is important for you to write your name, address, phone number and signature on the back of the ticket. In fact, it is a good idea to complete the back of each ticket you buy, even before you know if it s a winner. Take care not to expose the ticket to water, extreme heat or light, which could damage the ticket and make it illegible and invalid. Pennsylvania Lottery winners have one year from the drawing date for numbers or jackpot games, and one year from the end-sale date for instant games, to claim prizes. Group Claims If you are claiming a prize as a group, decide which member of the group will sign the ticket. If your group is getting a single check, the person who signs the ticket will be the claimant of record. If you are getting separate checks, the person signing should be the spokesperson or contact for the group. The Pennsylvania Lottery allows winners to split any cash prize more than $600. For more information about group claims, please call the Lottery, toll-free, at and ask for the Claims Department. Annuity top prizes for instant games cannot be shared. The names of all members of a group may be made public under Pennsylvania s Right-to-Know Law. When and How You Will Get Your Money It typically takes four to six weeks to process a prize claim once it has been received at Lottery headquarters. Processing time can be affected by a number of factors, so please be patient we know you are anxious to receive your prize. The state Treasury Department will issue a check for the amount of your winnings, less 25 percent federal withholding* if your prize is over $5,000. Winners checks are sent via mail, or winners may make arrangements to pick up checks at Lottery headquarters or area offices. The Pennsylvania Lottery does not offer direct deposit. An annuity prize winner from an instant game may be able to receive future payments via direct deposit from the company selected to provide the annuity. If you would like to know the status of your prize claim, please call the Lottery, toll-free, at and ask for the Claims Department. *Note: withholding rate is as of the time of publication and may vary 2

4 Sharing Your Story The PA Lottery gives winners a chance to share their unique winner experiences with the public. Telling winners stories is important to players who want to see the winners of the games they play, and it is key to keeping Lottery s integrity. Am I obligated to tell my story? While you are not obligated to do a check presentation or allow the Lottery to share your story on its website, certain winner information may be released publicly under Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law and Lottery policy. This information includes: Name of the winner(s) City and county of residence Name of game won Date of win Prize amount We often encourage top prize or jackpot winners, especially for multi-state games, to participate in special events or news conferences coordinated by our public relations office. By holding a news conference, the Lottery is able to satisfy media interest in a controlled environment and a relatively short time period generally, less than an hour so you can enjoy your 15 minutes of fame. That said, we want to help our winners maintain their privacy, and we will never reveal a winner s address, phone number or Social Security number. How can I tell my story? 1. A check presentation is one option for winners. The PA Lottery can organize an event, invite local media and present a ceremonial check to the winner. Participating television stations and newspapers may take photos and videos and will ask questions. The resulting news stories will highlight your win to the local community. 2. Telling your story on the Lottery website is another option. A Lottery representative will ask you questions and write a brief article based on your winning experience. A ceremonial check will be presented to you and a still photograph will be taken of you with your written consent. This picture and story will be posted directly on Lottery’s website and social media outlets. Your image may also appear on the digital screens seen at each PA Lottery retailer. 3. The Lottery also works with winners who wish to tell their winning experience through our video channel. Video stories may be shown on our YouTube channel, website and social media sites. Can I form a trust to remain anonymous when I claim my prize? No. If you choose to claim your Lottery prize in the name of a legal entity, such as a trust, the Pennsylvania Lottery will release the name of the entity and other relevant information, including the entity s beneficiaries, partners or shareholders. What do I do if I am contacted by the news media? First of all, the Lottery cannot verify a winning ticket until it has been received at headquarters and all appropriate security checks have been executed. Therefore, we discourage winners from contacting media before a ticket has been validated. Second, it s important to understand that media interest in finding out more about Lottery winners is typically driven by public interest. Declining participation in a Lottery news conference does not necessarily mean you will avoid media attention, and you may still be contacted by a newspaper or television reporter. If you have questions about dealing with the news media, please call the Lottery, toll-free, at and ask to speak with our Press Office. 3

5 Taxes and Financial Issues What will I have to pay in taxes? Under law, Lottery prizes over $5,000 are subject to tax withholding (meaning the Lottery will withhold the minimum amount of applicable taxes before paying the prize). For all prizes of $600 or more, winners will receive a W-2G form from the Lottery to report their winnings when filing their taxes. These forms usually arrive by mail in late January or early February for prizes awarded in the previous calendar year. For questions, contact our Claims Department. A winner s total tax liability on Lottery prizes depends on income, deductions, exemptions and other factors, so please consult a qualified tax professional when preparing your tax returns. The Lottery cannot provide tax advice to prize claimants. Will the Lottery withhold additional funds from my check? Before paying a prize, the Pennsylvania Lottery checks with the state Department of Human Services to determine if a Lottery claimant owes delinquent child support payments. Any overdue child support payments will be deducted from winnings before a prize is paid. If any other court-ordered payments are owed by a claimant, those may also be deducted. How can I protect my new wealth? While winning a large prize is very exciting, it can also be accompanied by an array of questions, decisions and concerns. The best advice the Lottery can offer is to encourage you to speak with trustworthy professionals who are trained to offer counsel on such matters. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your winnings are protected: Speak with a financial adviser. Hire an attorney. Understand smart investing. What do I do if I am contacted by investment or financial advisers? The Pennsylvania Lottery occasionally will provide winner information to financial companies if such information is requested by these firms under Pennsylvania s Right-to-Know Law. However, we do not endorse or certify financial advisers nor do we ask them to contact you. Most people who are paid to give investment advice must meet certain competency requirements and register with the state. Call the Pennsylvania Securities Commission at to find out whether an adviser has registered. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission offers information on its website ( to help investors choose an adviser. 4

6 Annuity Information Should I take the cash or annuity prize? For prizes that offer a cash or annuity option, the winner has 60 days from the date a claim is filed to make their choice. The Lottery does not advise winners on financial matters, so consult a trustworthy financial adviser to decide which option may be best for you. The cash option is a one-time, lump-sum payment that includes the winner s share of all of the money available in the top prize or jackpot prize pool, less taxes and deductions. The annuity option provides an initial payment followed by a series of yearly payments over time. Some prizes are offered only as an annuity and no cash option is available. I selected the annuity option but changed my mind can the Lottery give me a lump-sum payment instead? If it has been more than 60 days since your claim was filed, you cannot change your payment option. Some private firms will pay cash typically a percentage of the total remaining prize to transfer some or all future annuity payments to them. The Pennsylvania Lottery occasionally releases winner information to these types of companies as required by Pennsylvania s Right-to-Know Law. However, we do not endorse any such firm and suggest you consult with a qualified attorney who can explain the annuity transfer process. If you have questions about your annuity, please call the Lottery, toll-free, at and ask to speak with our annuity servicing department. What happens if I die before I receive all of my annuity payments? When claiming any annuity prize, you will be asked to designate a beneficiary to receive remaining payments should the need arise. If we do not have a designated beneficiary on file for you, payments will be made as directed by your estate representative. Consult a qualified attorney with questions about naming a beneficiary. How do I update my beneficiary information or address? Please call the Lottery, toll-free, at and ask to speak with our annuity servicing department. 5

RSL-500 (02-16) Winners Handbook Table of Contents: Congratulations! How to claim a major prize Sign your lottery ticket Group claims When and

RSL-500 (10-10) Winners Handbook

    Patience Fields 5 years ago Views:

1 RSL-500 (10-10) Winners Handbook

2 Your Prize I checked my numbers, I scratched off my ticket, I m a winner now what? First, complete the back of your ticket, providing your name, address, phone number and signature. Remember, each lottery ticket is a bearer document, meaning it is legally owned by whomever possesses it, at least until it is signed. If you have a winning ticket, no matter how large or small the prize, sign it immediately and put it in a safe place. Take care not to expose the ticket to extreme heat or light, which could damage the ticket and make it illegible and invalid. However, don t let your ticket sit in a safe place for long you only have one year from the date of a drawing to claim a prize from one of the Pennsylvania Lottery s terminal-based games: Powerball, Mega Millions, Cash 5, Match 6 Lotto, Treasure Hunt, The Daily Number, Big 4, Quinto and Millionaire Raffle. A winning instant ticket may be presented for prize payment up to one year after the game s end-sale date. Check our website, to review end-sale dates. OK, I signed the ticket now what? The Pennsylvania Lottery encourages each jackpot winner to contact a financial adviser before claiming a prize. Claimants of large prizes are encouraged to call to speak with someone at Lottery headquarters for additional instructions. Winners of Cash 5, Quinto, Treasure Hunt and Match 6 jackpots or top-prizes may file prize claims at Lottery headquarters in Middletown or any Lottery area office (Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre, Harrisburg, Clearfield, Pittsburgh, Erie and Lehigh Valley). A Powerball or Mega Millions jackpot winner must file a claim form at Lottery headquarters in Middletown, Dauphin County. If you ve won an annuity top prize for an instant game like $1,000 A Week for Life, you must claim your prize at Lottery headquarters. For a cash top prize from an instant game, you can fill out a claim form at a Lottery retailer or any area office. When you head out to a Lottery area office to file your claim, don t forget to bring your ticket with you so security staff may conduct proprietary tests to verify the ticket is a winner. You will also need an approved form of photo identification, like a drivers license or passport. 1

3 Your Prize Should I take the cash or annuity? Powerball and Mega Millions jackpot winners have 60 days from the date the claim is filed to choose between the cash or annuity option. The cash option is a one-time, lump-sum payment that includes all of the money available in the jackpot prize pool. If you decide to go with the annuity option, you will receive an initial payment and a series of yearly payments over time. For Powerball, a jackpot winner will receive 30 graduated payments, meaning the payments increase slightly over time. A Mega Millions jackpot winner will receive 26 equal payments. The Lottery is not in a position to advise winners on financial matters; multi-million-dollar jackpot winners are encouraged to seek financial counsel before claiming prizes. Can I split the prize with my friends/family/co-workers? The Pennsylvania Lottery allows winners to split any cash prize more than $600. Group winners may opt to receive one check and split it amongst themselves or receive individual checks. For more details about group claims, please call the Lottery, toll-free, at and ask for the claims department. Group winners of Mega Millions and Powerball jackpot prizes must select either the cash or annuity option. The selection must be the same for the entire group; the prize cannot be paid as an annuity for some group members and cash for others. Annuity top prizes for instant games like $1,000 A Week for Life cannot be shared. How do I get my money? The Pennsylvania Lottery does not offer direct deposit. The state Treasury Department will cut you a check for the amount of your winnings, less 25 percent federal tax withholding. Winners checks are sent via certified mail, or winners may make arrangements to pick checks up at Lottery headquarters or area offices. An annuity prize winner from an instant game like $1,000 A Week for Life may be able to receive future payments via direct deposit from the company selected to provide the annuity. When will I receive a check? Typically, it takes four to six weeks to process a claim once it has been received at Lottery headquarters. If you would like to know the status of your prize claim, please call the Lottery, toll-free, at and ask for the claims department. 2

4 Taxes and Financial Issues What will I have to pay in taxes? PA Lottery prizes are not subject to state or local taxes for Pennsylvania residents. Federal tax law requires the Lottery to withhold 25 percent in federal taxes from prizes over $5,000, and that amount is taken off the top of your prize. Total federal tax liability on Lottery prizes depends on income, deductions, exemptions and other factors, and a tax attorney or accountant will be able to help you calculate the tax implications of your prize. By February following your win, you will receive a W-2G form from the Lottery to submit with your tax return. If you do not receive a form or misplace it, please call the Lottery, toll-free, at and ask for the claims department. Will the Lottery withhold additional funds from my check? Before paying a prize, the Pennsylvania Lottery checks with the state Department of Public Welfare to determine if a Lottery claimant owes any delinquent child support payments. Any overdue child support payments are intercepted and deducted from winnings before a prize is paid. If you have another court-ordered payment, it may also be deducted. What do I do if I am contacted by investment or financial advisers? The Pennsylvania Lottery, on occasion, will provide winner information to financial companies if requested by these firms under Pennsylvania s Right-to-Know Law. However, we do not endorse or certify financial advisers. The Pennsylvania Department of Banking s Office of Financial Education maintains a website called Your Money s Best Friend ( with resources on finding a reputable financial planner. You can also contact the Pennsylvania Securities Commission at to find out if your adviser is registered with the state. 3

5 Publicity Can I remain anonymous? Certain winner information is public under the state Lottery Law and Pennsylvania s Right-to-Know Law. The Pennsylvania Lottery publishes the following information on its website: Name of the winner(s) City and county of residence Name of game won Date of win Prize amount The Pennsylvania Lottery must be accountable to the taxpayers and residents who benefit from Lottery-funded programs, and transparency of operations is key to Lottery s integrity. Providing winners information is also important to players who want to see the winners of the games they play. We often encourage winners, especially Powerball and Mega Millions jackpot winners, to participate in news conferences coordinated by our public relations office. By holding a news conference, the Lottery is able to satisfy media interest in a controlled environment and a relatively short time period generally, less than an hour so you can enjoy your 15 minutes of fame, then get back to your life outside the public eye. That said, we want to help our winners maintain their privacy, and we will never reveal a winner s address, phone number, Social Security number or other personal information. Can I form a trust to remain anonymous when I claim my prize? If you choose to claim your Lottery prize in the name of a legal entity, such as a trust, the Pennsylvania Lottery will release its name and other relevant information, including the entity s beneficiaries, partners or shareholders. What do I do if I am contacted by the news media? First of all, the Lottery cannot verify a winning ticket until it has been received at headquarters and all appropriate security checks have been executed. Therefore, we discourage winners from contacting media before a ticket has been validated. Second, it s important to understand that media interest in finding out more about Lottery winners is typically driven by public interest. Declining participation in a Lottery news conference does not necessarily mean you will avoid media attention, and you may be contacted by a newspaper or television reporter regardless. If you have questions about dealing with the news media, please call the Lottery, toll-free, at and ask to speak with our public relations office. 4

6 Future Considerations I won an annuity prize can the Lottery give me a lump-sum payment instead? Remember that Powerball and Mega Millions jackpot winners have 60 days from the date the claim is filed to choose between the cash or annuity option. If you won an annuity prize or selected an annuity option, you cannot request a lump-sum payment from the Lottery at a later date. However, there are companies that will pay you cash typically a percentage of your total remaining prize to transfer some or all future annuity payments to them. The Pennsylvania Lottery on occasion will provide winner information to these types of companies as required by Pennsylvania s Right-to-Know Law. However, we do not endorse any such firm. We suggest you consult with a qualified attorney that can explain the annuity transfer process. If you have questions about your annuity, please call the Lottery, toll-free, at and ask to speak with our policy and regulations department. What happens if I die before I receive all of my annuity payments? When you select an annuity option for Powerball or Mega Millions, you or your estate will receive a set number of payments. If you won an annuity top prize for an instant game like $1,000 A Week for Life, you or your estate will receive a guaranteed minimum in total payments. For any annuity prize, you will be asked to designate a beneficiary to receive remaining payments if you die before receiving the guaranteed minimum or total number of set payments. If we do not have a beneficiary statement on file for you, payments will be directed to your estate. What if I need to update my beneficiary information or address? Please call the Lottery, toll-free, at and ask to speak with our policy and regulations department. 5

RSL-500 (10-10) Winners Handbook Your Prize I checked my numbers, I scratched off my ticket, I m a winner now what? First, complete the back of your ticket, providing your name, address, phone number and ]]>