01/11/2017 9:27PM

NTRA launches page to log comments on withholding rule

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The National Thoroughbred Racing Association has launched a page on its website allowing people to send comments to the IRS and U.S. Department of Treasury supporting proposed amendments to the tax code that would be favorable to horseplayers.

The page allows a person to enter identifying information and either certify a pre-written message of support or edit the message to his or her preferences. The message states, in part, that the tax code regulations “need to be modernized to ensure that both withholding and reporting of pari-mutuel winnings accurately and fairly reflect the realities of wagering today.”

On Dec. 30, the IRS and Treasury Department issued proposed new rules that would allow bettors to count all bets made in a specific pool for determining whether federal tax reporting and withholding requirements are triggered. The rules are subject to a 90-day comment period from the date that they were posted, and they could become applicable by this spring.

The NTRA has been lobbying for the changes for 2 ½ years, and last year the association launched a similar comment mechanism on its web page that generated 12,000 favorable comments to the changes, which were then in draft stage. The rules would likely have an enormous impact on the number of multi-horse and multi-race payoffs that are subjected to automatic reporting and withholding.

“A unified message of support is critical as the industry urges Treasury and the IRS to finalize proposed regulations,” said Alex Waldrop, the president of the NTRA, in a statement.

The current rules, which were adopted 40 years ago, trigger tax reporting requirements if a single wager pays at greater than 300-1 odds, while withholding is triggered if the bet pays more than $5,000 at odds of greater than 300-1, calculated on the base unit of the wager. Under the proposed rules, the requirements would not be triggered unless the wager paid off at greater than 300-1 to the total amount bet by the player in the pool.

The NTRA has contended that the current rules were drafted prior to the expansion of multi-horse and multi-race bets, which bettors frequently target by using tickets that contain large multiples of combinations costing well above the base amount.

The comment page can be found here: https://www.ntra.com/comment