Winning the Mega Millions lottery? Here’s how much you’ll really keep

METAIRIE, LA — The Mega Millions jackpot for tonight, October 23, is $1.6 billion.  That’s an all-time record for the drawing.

Should you win, how much would you really take home?  To collect the $1.6 billion, you’d need to receive the money in an annuity over a 30 year period.  Also, money would be subtracted for federal income tax.  Still, you’d receive more than $40 million every year for those 30 years.

If you opt to take a lump sum payment instead of the annuity, your prize is a little more than $900 million.  But, more than $200 million would be subtracted for federal income tax.  So you’re final check would be about $687 million.

Oh, but don’t forget Louisiana state income tax.  That’s another deduction.  If you get the 30 year annuity, you’re annual payment would be a little under $38 million.  Should you get the lump sum payment, you’d take home a little more than $642 million.

Should you win, nobody’s feeling sorry for you.  But you can lose nearly two-thirds of that $1.6 billion jackpot after you take the lump sum and pay all your state and federal taxes.

If you’d like to check the numbers yourself, here’s a link to a website that breaks down how much winners will take home, state by state, after taxes.  The USA Mega website makes it clear that the numbers are estimates and are for entertainment purposes only.  Which is what playing the lottery is for almost everyone anyway, just entertainment.