08/12/2016 9:13AM

NTRA optimistic about proposed changes to tax laws

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Racing lobbyists remain optimistic that the U.S. Treasury will revise how parimutuel winnings are treated for tax-reporting and withholding requirements, but they said the revisions remain a low priority for the agency because of larger issues within the complex U.S. tax code.

Greg Means, a lobbyist for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, said at a briefing Thursday night in Saratoga Springs that the hoped-for revisions remain a top priority for the NTRA. However, he said it is hard to predict when or if Treasury will act.

“This is extremely important to us, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s fairly esoteric to [Treasury],” Means said.

Last year, the NTRA asked Treasury and IRS officials to review the parimutuel tax regulations in light of wholesale changes in the wagering menu since the regulations were first devised in the 1970s. The revisions would trigger reporting and withholding requirements based on the total amount of money a player wagered in the pool, rather than the denomination of the single winning bet. The revisions would be highly favorable to horseplayers.

Means also said that it would be best for Treasury to act prior to late January, when the next U.S. president will take office, because of anticipated turnover at Treasury due to the change in administrations.