The three winners of the record-breaking $656 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot will owe at least 25 percent of their winnings to the Internal Revenue Service.
Lottery officials have identified Maryland, Illinois and Kansas as the states where the winning tickets were bought. As of press time, the names of the winners have not yet been released, but the operators of a 7-Eleven store in Milford Mill, Md., and a Motomart store in Red Bud, Ill., will also be able to claim lucrative bonuses for selling the winning tickets: $500,000 for the Motomart owners and $100,000 for the 7-Eleven owners. The Kansas store has not yet been identified.
Lottery officials called the couple who operate the Motomart in the pre-dawn hours Saturday morning to tell them the good news. Manager Denise Metzger said she screamed and woke up her husband, and residents of the town crowded into their store once it opened to check their tickets.
The three tickets were worth more than $213 million before taxes, if the payout is spread over 26 years, according to Reuters. If winners opt to take a lump sum payment, as many financial planners advise, the winners would be able to claim approximately $105.1 million after taxes.
Lottery winnings of over 25 percent are subject to a federal withholding tax of 25 percent, and that does not count state income taxes. In addition to the three jackpot-winning tickets, three other lucky ticket winners will be able to claim $1 million for getting the right Mega Ball number, and 158 other ticket holders are entitled to $250,000 apiece for picking five out of the six correct numbers.
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