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Know ‘tax score’ on casual gambling losses

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in Small Business Tax

Q. I lost $500 playing in Fantasy baseball leagues with friends. Can I deduct the loss as a gambling loss on my personal return? H.B., West Islip, N.Y.

A. No. First of all, gambling losses are deductible only up to the amount of your winnings. Second, you have to be able to substantiate your losses. This can be done, for example, at a casino or racetrack, but not by casual betting among friends. The same rules would apply to a weekly poker game.

Tip: Gambling losses are claimed as miscellaneous expenses, but they aren’t subject to the usual 2%-of-AGI floor.

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