Public Invited to Submit Comments to Policymakers via NTRA.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Tuesday, April 21, 2015) – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has submitted its official response to an invitation by the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for comments on amending Treasury regulations regarding withholding and reporting with respect to pari-mutuel winnings. Submission of the NTRA’s formal response kicked off a six-week campaign during which the NTRA is encouraging fans, horseplayers and industry stakeholders to support the push for modernized tax withholding and reporting from pari-mutuel wagering that accurately and fairly reflect the realities of wagering today. Specifically, the NTRA is asking Treasury and the IRS to amend their tax regulations to make it clear that the definition of the “amount of the wager” includes the total amount wagered by a bettor into a pari-mutuel pool when determining whether a bettor’s winnings are subject to withholding and reporting. As explained in detail in the NTRA’s response, such a clarification will result in more accurate withholding and reporting while also benefiting bettors and the horse racing and breeding industry as a whole.
The entire formal response to Treasury and the IRS by NTRA President & CEO Alex Waldrop can be accessed online as a downloadable PDF file at /media/8957297/letter_to_treasury_commenting_on_pari-mutuel_wagering_regulation_-_final.pdf.
A form that makes it easy for the public to submit an e-mail directly to the appropriate IRS and U.S. Treasury officials seeking comment can also be found on the NTRA website at www.ntra.com/IRScomment.
Public comments will be accepted through June 2.
The NTRA’s nine-page response describes the current withholding and reporting requirements, as well as the increasingly prevalent issues associated with those requirements. In the final section of the letter Waldrop summarizes the industry position on Treasury Regulation section 31.3402(q)-1 regarding pari-mutuel wagering:
The current regulations relating to pari-mutuel reporting and withholding need to be updated for the following reasons:
– In the absence of a specific regulation concerning the definition of the “amount of the wager,” the horse industry is forced to rely on the Instructions for Forms W-2G and 5754. The guidance provided by these Instructions does not reflect today’s wagering strategies in which the vast majority of wagers are multi-horse and multi-race exotic bet types but instead reflects a bygone era when almost all wagers were straight win, place or show bets that had virtually no chance of exceeding the 300:1 ratio of wagering proceeds to “the amount of the wager;”
– The Instructions assume that a bettor has won more than he or she has actually won based on a calculation of the amount wagered that ignores the actual investment in a single pari-mutuel pool;
– Due to this outdated and unfair method of calculating the “amount of the wager,” excessive withholding and reporting are taking bettors’ winnings out of circulation—money that otherwise would be repeatedly re-bet;
– Undue withholding and reporting of winnings and the resulting lack of re-betting, depresses pari-mutuel wagering and the benefits that wagering supplies to all stakeholders including federal and state governments, which derive significant tax revenue from pari-mutuel wagering, as well as the nationwide agri-business that pari-mutuel wagering supports;
– An update to the regulations to reflect today’s pari-mutuel wagering strategies will result in more accurate reporting and withholding by taxpayers and is consistent with IRC Section 3402(q) and basic tax policy; and
– Modernization will reduce burdensome and needless paperwork system-wide.
Public Comment via NTRA.com
The NTRA encourages horseplayers, fans and industry stakeholders who will be positively impacted if the proposed changes are adopted to submit their own comments to Treasury and the IRS using a simple form now available online at www.NTRA.com/IRScomment.
“The two-step process can be completed in Secretariat time – under two minutes,” said NTRA Senior Vice President Keith Chamblin, referring to the 1973 Triple Crown winner’s Kentucky Derby record of 1:59 2/5.
The form creates a customized message from the sender’s own e-mail address populated with suggested language crafted by the NTRA and submits it directly to the Treasury.
Throughout the public comment period, the NTRA will continue to coordinate additional responses from key industry stakeholders, including racetrack operators, horsemen’s associations, owner and breeder groups, Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) companies and horseplayers, among others.
Waldrop will be in Washington, D.C., in the coming weeks for in-person follow-up meetings with Thoroughbred racing’s allies within the federal government, including some of the 17 congressmen who signed a letter to the Treasury in support of this effort in June 2014.
Past NTRA releases on the effort to modernize withholding and reporting for pari-mutuel winnings, as well as related editorials, can be found online at /en/legislative/background-on-effort-to-clarify-pari-mutuel-withholding-and-reporting.
About the NTRA
The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development. The NTRA owns and manages the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance; NTRA.com; the NTRA Top Thoroughbred and NTRA Top 3-Year-Old weekly media polls; the Eclipse Awards; the National Handicapping Championship; NTRA Advantage, a corporate partner sales and sponsorship program; and HORSE PAC, a federal political action committee. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on NTRA.com, Twitter (@ntra) and Facebook (facebook.com/1NTRA).