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Meadville District Office
900-920 Water Street
Downtown Mall
Meadville, PA  16335
Phone (814) 336-1136
Hours 8 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. (M-F)

Fairview Office (Mondays Only)
Fairview Township Building
7471 McCray Rd., Fairview, PA
Hours 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Monday)

Cranesville Office (Thursdays Only)
Cranesville Borough Office
10195 John Williams Ave.
Cranesville, PA 16410
Phone: 1-800-770-2377
Hours 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (Thursday)

Capitol Office
Hon. Brad Roae
151 East Wing
Harrisburg PA 17120-2006
Phone: (717) 787-2353
Fax: 717-782-2902


House Approves Bill to Garnish Back Taxes from Lottery Winnings
QUESTION: If someone owes state taxes and they win the lottery, how is that handled?

ANSWER: The House recently voted in support of a bill that would deduct back taxes from the payouts of those who win the Pennsylvania Lottery.

House Bill 1489 would require the Department of Revenue to conduct a background check on any individual who wins more than $2,500 as a result of playing the Pennsylvania Lottery. That background check would reveal whether or not the winner owes any back taxes. If so, the amount of those delinquent taxes would be deducted from lottery winnings.

In addition, the bill also directs the Department of Revenue to request that the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) determine if the prizewinner is currently a recipient of public assistance benefits prior to making any lottery winnings payment. If the prizewinner is found to be receiving public assistance benefits, DPW must determine if the individual remains eligible for public assistance benefits.

Current state law only requires the Department of Revenue and the Department of Public Welfare to work together to garnish lottery winnings when back child support is owed. In the event someone owes both child support and taxes, the child support would be deducted first.

There is a moral question as to whether or not someone who owes back taxes should be playing the lottery in the first place. If they cannot pay their taxes, they probably shouldn’t be purchasing lottery tickets.

Having said that, there are cases in which people who owe back taxes receive lottery tickets as a birthday or Christmas present. For years, the Pennsylvania Lottery has marketed games specifically aligned with certain holidays. If a person receives a lottery ticket as a gift and the ticket turns out to be a winner worth more than $2,500, he or she would have the taxes owed taken out of the winnings under this bill.

The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.
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