How to claim your Florida Lottery prize (2024)

It’s your lucky day.

You’ve played a Florida Lottery game and you’re a winner.

For most folks, collecting the prize simply requires stopping by a Florida Lottery retailer.

But if your prize of $600 or more, you’ve got some traveling to do.

Where do I go?

The Florida Lottery divides the state into nine districts and has a district office in each area.

The Orlando District office is located in the Walmart shopping center at 1241 State Road 436, Casselberry.

There also are district offices in Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Tampa, Gainesville, Jacksonville and Pensacola, as well as Tallahassee, where Lottery headquarters also is located.

With one exception, district offices are limited to paying prizes of $250,000 or less. If someone matches the five white balls in Powerball, normally a $200,000 prize, and uses Power Play to increase the prize to $1 million, that prize also may be claimed at a district office.

Other prizes of more than $250,000 require a trip to Lottery headquarters in Tallahassee.

What do I need to claim a prize?

First and foremost, you need the original winning ticket. Once at the Lottery office, if the prize is $600 or more, you must complete a Florida Lottery Winner Claim Form and present one form of identification that is current or was issued within the past five years and bears a serial number or other identifying number.

Acceptable forms of identification include:

An identification card or driver’s license issued by a public agency authorized to issue driver’s licenses in Florida, a state other than Florida, a territory of the U.S., Canada, or Mexico.

A passport issued by the U.S. Department of State.

A passport issued by a foreign government.

An identification card issued by any branch of the U.S. armed forces.

An identification card issued by the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

If a person can’t produce the proper identification, affidavits from two people who know the winner can be used to verify the person’s identification. The people signing the affidavits must meet requirements of the notary statute and they can not have a financial interest in the prize.

Do you trust the mail? If the prize is $250,000 or less you can mail the ticket to the Florida Lottery for prize payment. A photocopy of the required identification must accompany claims valued at $600 or more that are submitted by mail. To claim your prize by mail, simply mail a completed Winner Claim Form, a photocopy of the required identification and the ticket to: Florida Lottery Claims Processing, 250 Marriott Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32399-9939.

Prizes for computer-based games (Cash 3, Play 4, Fantasy 5, Mega Money, Lotto and Powerball) must be claimed within 180 days. Prizes for scratch-off games must be claimed within 60 days of the official end-of-game date. Lotto, Powerball and Mega Money jackpot winners who want to take a one-time, lump-sum payment must claim their prizes within 60 days.

What about taxes?

With larger prizes, Uncle Sam is going to get his slice of the pie before you get yours.

The Internal Revenue Service requires the Florida Lottery to report all winnings of $600 or more for U.S. citizens and resident aliens. Income tax withholding is mandatory on prizes greater than $5,000.

If a prizewinner is a U.S. citizen or resident alien with a Social Security number, the Internal Revenue Service requires the Florida Lottery to withhold 25 percent from prizes greater than $5,000.

If the prizewinner is a U.S. citizen or resident alien who does not have a Social Security number, the Florida Lottery is required to withhold 28 percent from any prize of $600 or more.

For nonresident aliens, the Florida Lottery is required to withhold 30 percent from all prize amounts.

And before you get your money, on prizes of $600 or more, the Lottery will verify that there are no outstanding debts owed to state agencies or unpaid child support collected through a court. If there are, the amount owed will be deducted from the winnings prior to payment.

Along with your payment will come a W-2G which you file with your Income Tax return. Sometimes you will get some of your withheld money back, but in the case of large prizes, you often owe more taxes when you file your return.

Multiple winners can claim as a trust and have the tax liability distributed among each of the beneficiaries of the trust by completing an IRS Form 5754.

A person claiming a prize as an individual can also use Form 5754 to assign tax liability to others, but the winner has to distribute the money to the others.

Can I keep my prize a secret?

If you don’t tell your friends and relatives about your big win, the Florida Lottery probably will.

A winner’s name, age, city of residence, game won, date won and amount won are all public record. Home addresses, telephone numbers and social security numbers are confidential.

If the money is claimed as a trust, the same information is public record for each member of the trust as for an individual claimant.

Who can’t win a prize?

Anyone under 18 is prohibited from playing, as are Florida Lottery employees, relatives of Florida Lottery employees living in the same household as the employee, and some employees of vendors who provide goods and services to the Florida Lottery.

Gary Taylor can be reached at or 407-391-9681.

How to claim your Florida Lottery prize (2024)
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