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What is the biggest lottery jackpot ever won in the US?

The Mega Millions jackpot has risen to $810 million this week, making it the fourth-largest lottery winnings total in US history.

Update:
Te compartimos los resultados de Mega Millions de hoy, 4 de octubre. ¿Quién se llevó los $380 millones de dólares? Aquí los números que cayeron y premios.
Andrew KellyREUTERS

The Mega Millions lottery draw on Tuesday evening is set to be one of the biggest in American history after the jackpot rose to a whopping $810 million. Last Friday’s draw did not result in a winner, meaning that the total rolled over to this week.

The $810 million jackpot would be the fourth-largest lottery prize ever won in the United States if a winner is found in the upcoming draw. We take a look at the biggest jackpots in US history…

Three jackpots of more than $1 billion have been won

While the ‘jackpot’ figure often appears as a single lump sum payment, the reality is that most lotteries offer an annuitized jackpot in which the money is paid in a series of instalments. Both Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots are paid out in 30 annual instalments.

The following is a list of the highest jackpots to have been won in US history, assuming that the winner chose to accept the higher annuitized amount rather than the lower cash alternative.

RankingJackpotLotteryDate
1.$1.586bnPowerball13 January, 2016
2.$1.537bnMega Millions23 October, 2018
3.$1.05bnMega Millions22 January, 2021
4.$768.4mPowerball27 March, 2019
5.$758.7mPowerball23 August, 2017

How much of a lottery jackpot goes on taxes?

Winning either the Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot is a truly life-changing amount of money, but a fairly substantial proportion of the winnings will go on taxes.

The cash equivalent of this week’s $810 million annuitized jackpot is a $470.1 million lump sum payment. This would immediately be subject to a 24% federal tax withholding, which would bring down the total by around $112.8 million.

The top rate of federal marginal tax is currently 37%, meaning that the recipient will likely face further taxes come filing time. If you were to pay this tax on the full amount then you would lose a further $61.1 million. This would leave the recipient with $296.2 million, little over a third of the $810 million jackpot advertised.

Lotto winners can reduce their tax bill by making charitable contributions. The American Institute of CPAs states that individuals can contribute up to 60% of their adjusted gross income to a public charity and receive a tax deduction for the same amount.

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