Will the third time be the charm?
U.S. lottery hopefuls have another shot at two jackpots exceeding $300 million. The Powerball jackpot is currently $385 million, and the Mega Millions, $318 million. It's the third time ever that both have simultaneously been above the $300-million mark.
(Although large, neither of the current prizes is a record-setting amount: For either to land in the top 10 of U.S. jackpots, they would have to surpass the $487 million Powerball claimed by a single ticketholder back in July 2016.)
The next Powerball drawing is at 10:59 p.m. ET on Saturday, and the next Mega Millions drawing is at 11 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
In that most recent run-up, the Mega Millions was the first to pay out its jackpot in early January, with Shane Missler of Florida taking home the $451 million prize. In a recent news release, game officials said the winner claimed the prize as "the trustee of Secret 007, LLC."
The Powerball prize landed a day later, with a lone ticketholder in New Hampshire scoring $559 million. That winner, currently known only as Jane Doe, claimed her after-tax winnings of $274 million via a trust this week. However, a misstep with her handling of the ticket means it's up to a judge whether she can maintain that anonymity.
Her story underscores the importance of getting good advice on claiming prize money – especially if you want to remain anonymous. Most lottery hopefuls say they do.
Tax advice is key, too: That headline prize is misleading. You won't walk away with the full amount. (See infographic below for lottery tax implications.)
Lottery site USAMega.com estimates the federal withholding on the $187 million Mega Millions lump sum would be $46.75 million, and state taxes could knock out an additional maximum amount of $16.5 million (with New York the worst offender).
For the Powerball, those tax tallies for the $229 million cash prize would be $57.25 million and up to $20.2 million, respectively.
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