A lot of Californians who are doing their taxes right now probably aren’t feeling so good after realizing how much they’ve paid Uncle Sam this year. Or even worse -- how much more they still owe!
Gene Taylor of Van Nuys happens to enjoy figuring out taxes. After all, he does it for a living as a tax preparer. That’s why it’s ironic he’s the first big winner of the California Lottery’s new family of Taxes Paid Scratchers games. Taylor says he actually did not feel so good last Monday when he bought his winning $1 million ticket. However it wasn’t because of taxes – he was just under the weather.
“I went out to drop off some dry cleaning. I almost didn’t go into the store (to buy the winning ticket) because I wasn’t feeling so great,” Taylor explained. “I bought one $10 ticket and won $15. So I decided to put in an extra $5 and buy two more, and one of them was a winner. I was kind of blown away!”
What’s especially exciting is this tax man does not owe the standard 25 percent federal taxes that are withheld on wins of more than $5,000! Taylor technically won the top prize of $1,333,334. However, when you subtract the 25 percent that the California Lottery is covering, it comes out to an even $1 million. The tax is built into the top prize amounts of the $2, $5 and $10 Taxes Paid games.
“I just like the concept of the taxes paid,” Taylor admitted while reflecting on his latest win. We say latest because the 66-year-old just won a very respectable $10,000 in December on a $5 Money Bag Multiplier Scratchers ticket. And last month, “Believe it or not I put in some second chances (on non-winning tickets) and won $1,000. So I’m on a roll!”
Taylor concedes he will owe taxes on some of his other wins. “But the amount could change, you know, after I win Powerball®,” he said with a big laugh. Well, he did say he was on a roll! The Powerball jackpot stands at a life-changing $317 million for Wednesday night’s draw. So has this lucky tax man already figured out how much he would owe the federal government on hundreds of millions? “I have actually. And it’s a lot! I know all of the rigmarole.”
He should. Taylor says he’s been doing taxes now for about a decade. He changed careers after selling a retail store he used to operate in West Hollywood. “A friend of mine said, “You’re really good (with taxes). Why don’t you do it? So I took some courses and here I am.” Here he is alright. Maybe the luckiest and richest tax preparer in Southern California!