If you choose to take the lump sum payout, a $1.5 billion jackpot is really worth about $930 million.
That’s because $930 million is the actual jackpot and the $1.5 billion is the calculated worth if you choose the annuity payment plan.
The annuity option are annual payments stretched out over 29 years.
When you choose this, you end up with more money over the long haul because the base amount—$930 million—accrues interest earned over an additional 29 years after the year in which you win.
The money you haven't taken yet is invested for you.
You'll fall into the highest tax bracket in the year you win if you take the jackpot in a lump sum.
As of 2018, this means you'll likely owe the IRS at least 37% in taxes.
If the bounty is spread out over 30 years, you may not be in the highest tax bracket each year, depending on the size of your prize and your other income.
All winnings over $5,000 are subject to tax withholding by lottery agencies at the rate of 25%.
This potentially leaves a gap between the mandatory amount of withholding and the total tax you'll ultimately owe, depending on your tax bracket.
It works out something like this if you take the lump sum for the $930 million jackpot: As of 2018, the Internal Revenue Code allows you to give away—by gift and from your estate when you die—a total of $11.18 million over the course of your lifetime.
You'll owe an additional 40% gift tax for any cash or property transfers you make over $11.18 million, as well as a 40% estate tax on the value of your remaining estate.