Winning the lottery – hitting the jackpot: when does the lottery prize expire, where do you collect it and do you have to pay tax on the winnings?

It rarely happens, but it does: Winning the lottery, at best the jackpot. What you need to know around the sudden windfall.

Suddenly rich? This is what you have to consider when you win the lottery

At regular intervals, the lottery winnings in popular lotteries such as 6aus49 or the Eurojackpot rise to astronomical heights – winnings of several 10 or even 100 million euros are not uncommon. Shockingly often, however, the lucky winners of the jackpot do not receive their won amounts of money. Whether completely forgotten, lottery ticket lost or other reasons: The lottery win remains valid in no case forever and also otherwise it applies to consider some important things approximately around the sudden money blessing. Find out what you need to consider in terms of taxes, payouts and much more here.

Lottery winnings forgotten: When does the lottery win expire?

Hard to believe, but true: Year after year, many lottery winnings are forfeited because the winners do not redeem them. Because in principle applies: Who does not announce itself in time, lets its winnings possibly expire. These are the collection deadlines for lottery winnings:

3-year deadline for collecting winnings

It is not always possible to claim a large cash prize directly within the next few days. For this reason, there is a period of three years in total during which winners can contact their sales outlet at their leisure. In any case, the game receipt is necessary for this purpose.

If you still do not make it in time within these three years and cannot collect your winnings, you must fear that your winnings will be forfeited. Sometimes the lottery is accommodating and turns a blind eye to large winnings, but this is by no means the rule.

No deadline for online lottery players

If you have played the lottery online, you do not have to worry about a time limit and are on the safe side. As a registered online player, you have your bank details stored so that your winnings are automatically transferred to your account. Problems such as a lost game receipt can therefore not occur in the first place.

Lost or stolen lottery ticket – what to do??

If you have lost your lottery ticket or it has been stolen, most lotteries are not liable for your loss – even if there is a large prize behind the numbers you have picked. In any case, it is advisable to sign the lottery receipt, as this prevents someone else from submitting your lottery ticket. In order to avoid the loss of a lottery ticket from the outset, you can play lotto online and are thus on the safe side.

Lottery ticket not legible: Is it invalid and the prize lost?

If the lottery ticket has ended up in the washing machine or faded in a trouser pocket, the numbers may no longer be legible. For the collection of the winnings this is quite problematic if you cannot prove your tip otherwise. It also becomes difficult if the barcode, serial number or date are no longer legible. If the lottery ticket cannot be correctly assigned to the winning numbers, it is usually invalid. Online lottery players have the better cards here in any case, because their lottery tip is stored in the system.

Strange lottery ticket found: Who owns the winnings?

Have you unexpectedly found a lottery ticket on the way? The temptation may be great to retain this. However, this is not legal, because it is a so-called fund misappropriation. On the other hand, this can only be proven if the actual owner has signed his lottery ticket. Otherwise it is above all a question of conscience. So always remember to sign your own lottery ticket so that you can clearly prove that you own it.

Many lottery players also use a customer card, so that the respective lottery ticket is provided with a customer number. Then any winnings can only be claimed by the owner of the customer card.

Where can I collect my lottery winnings??

If you have won the lottery, you will probably ask yourself after the first dance of joy how you actually received your winnings. The type of payout is not always identical, because it depends on the amount of the winnings. There is a concrete cash payout limit, from which a payout is only possible by bank transfer.

Paying out small lottery winnings

If you have won the lottery and are below the cash payout limit, you can collect your winnings at a lottery retail outlet. Important: A lottery prize can only be collected in the federal state in which you purchased the lottery ticket.

The respective cash payout limit varies between 500 to 5000 euros depending on the federal state. So if you have a profit in the profit classes 5 to 9, it is usually paid to you in cash. According to Lotto.The cash payout limits of the federal states are currently as follows:

To collect your winnings, all you have to do is prove them at the lottery office. For this you need a game receipt and an identity card.

Payment of high lottery winnings

If your lottery winnings are above the cash payout limit of your state, then the payout is only possible via bank transfer. You must claim your winnings via a central winnings claim form. You can get this form at any lottery retailer.

When to pay tax on lottery winnings?

Lotto has been played in Germany for several years now, but many people still don’t fully understand how a potential lottery win affects taxes. In principle, lottery winnings are tax-free – but there are still a few important details. So the next time you win, take note of the following:

1. Investing by winning the lotteryIf an invested lottery prize earns interest, this interest is taxable and the state must be involved. In this case, the winnings are subject to the final withholding tax of currently 25%. You must declare your income to the tax office and pay tax on it.

2. Social benefits despite lottery winningsIf you receive social benefits such as Hartz IV or unemployment benefits, you are obliged to declare your winnings as one-time income. In some circumstances, these payments can be reduced or suspended, depending on the amount of your winnings.

3. Winning the lottery in other countriesThe tax liability for lottery winnings differs internationally, in some cases considerably. Similar to Germany, lottery winnings are treated, for example, in Austria, Belgium or Great Britain and are not taxable. In the USA, on the other hand, things are more complicated: tax must always be paid on any amount over 5.000 dollars, in addition, the individual states also levy individual tax rates in some cases.

Especially in the case of high lottery winnings, it is advisable to consult a professional because of the possible tax liability. In fact, for large winning amounts, the lottery company will even provide a personal winnings supervisor to advise you on how to handle the large amount and ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Lotto winnings: How long does the payout take??

As a rule, lottery winnings are paid out comparatively quickly. For larger amounts of money, however, the process is a bit more extensive: once you have submitted the Central Winnings Form and your identity has been confirmed, you will usually receive the winning amount within a week via the bank details you have provided. If you play with a customer card or online, you can sit back and relax, because in this case you will be notified by phone or by post or. You will be notified about your winnings via e-mail or SMS. For smaller winnings, the normal processing times between banks apply, i.e. usually 2-3 working days. In the case of a classic paper lottery ticket, you must first submit it to a retailer; with online lottery, you receive your winnings automatically.

Cancel after winning the lottery? The right way to behave after winning the jackpot

They get six right numbers and suddenly they are millionaires? Now it is necessary to keep calm, because hasty actions such as immediately quitting a job, buying an expensive sports car or directly spreading the sudden money blessing among friends and acquaintances is usually not a good idea. Remember that high cash winnings often attract envious people and that some acquaintances may now see you in a different light. If you quit your job immediately, this is not only very conspicuous, but also involves the danger of no longer having a regular daily routine. Of course, you are free to spend your winnings as you wish and fulfill long-cherished dreams. However, try to remain humble and invest some of your earnings so that you can benefit from them in the future as well. By the way, even the bank advisor is not always your friend in this case – so it is best to contact a professional expert from a reputable institute that specializes in high lottery winnings.

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