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This lottery jackpot is up to an estimated mind blowing 1.35 billion dollars. However, do you know just how much money the Mega Millions Lottery winner REALLY takes home? Ya, we were wondering the same. So we did a little digging.

lottery ticket

Tonight’s Mega Millions Lottery jackpot is up to an estimated 1.35 million dollars. That’s a lot of dough

This is the second highest jackpot in U.S. history. However, it’s not the exact amount the winner will pocket, if a winning ticket is actually sold.

How does the Mega Millions Lottery work

First of all, only winners who agree to take their payout over the span of 29 years get that full 1.35 billion. If you want to take the money and run, that number drops and that’s what a majority of winners do according to lottery officials. So if you win and want one big fat payout, that 1.35 billion suddenly becomes 707.9 million. That’s still a nice payday and one that most winners are thrilled at.

However, there is one more little fly in this payout ointment. The IRS. Say it with me…UGH. Hey, the man has to get his cut too. And trust me, he takes it. He takes it to the tune of 24% on any winnings over $5,000. So when you do the math now, that lump sum drops to a slightly disappointing but still large $538 million dollars.

Finally, you have to claim that money as income when you file taxes next year. Yep, the man gets yet another cut. That’s one reason why some savvy winners wait to come forward. They need to do a little financial and legal planning when such a large sum of cash is dumped in their lap.

So to sum how much money the Mega Millions Lottery winner REALLY takes home depends on more variables than originally meets the eye. Good luck in winning tonight’s jackpot. What will you do with the money?