Protect your privacy if you hit the $415 million Mega Millions jackpot

Personal Finance

However, the next prizewinner might not easily shield their identity.

Only a handful of states allow you to claim lottery wins anonymously. In some states, you might be able to collect your windfall via a trust or other legal entity to keep your name out of the public eye. In others, it’s unavoidable.

While the current $415 million top prize is less than a third of that unclaimed $1.5 billion windfall, it’s nothing to sneeze at. Even after paying taxes, the winner’s take would put them among the wealthier people in the country.

The upfront cash amount — the option most winners go with — is $248.8 million. The federal government will withhold 24 percent for taxes, reducing it by about $59.7 million to $189.1 million. And unless you live where there’s no state income tax or lottery wins are untaxed, you can face state withholding that can reach 8.82 percent, depending on where you live. You can also expect to owe more at tax time.

If you manage to beat the astronomical odds against winning the Mega Millions — your chance is 1 in 302 million — here are some expert tips to try protecting your privacy.

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