New Chukchansi fallout for tax season

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Tax season fallout is coming from the Chukchansi casino closure. Gamblers say they're getting the runaround over critical documents. (KFSN)

The sign off Highway 41 reads "temporarily closed", but the doors at Chukchansi casino haven't opened for months and the machines have gone dark.
Tax season fallout is coming from the Chukchansi casino closure. Gamblers say they're getting the runaround over critical documents. Three months into the casino's closure, some gamblers have gotten paid out. But they could still be losers at tax time.

The sign off Highway 41 reads "temporarily closed", but the doors at Chukchansi casino haven't opened for months and the machines have gone dark. Gamblers were briefly able to cash in chips, but as the time approaches to reckon with the IRS, a new worry is growing.

"With the casino being closed, I'm just concerned we're not going to get our win/lose statement that I need to have for tax purposes," said Kathy Madrid of Coarsegold.

Gamblers pay taxes on winnings and can write off some losses. Chukchansi always gave out W-2G forms for winners, but losses piled up unaccounted -- usually until the casino sent statements people can use when they file.

"I have the forms from the jackpots that we did win at the casino, but I don't really save anything else any more," Madrid said.

For now, nobody seems to know if the process can go smoothly with the casino in flux. The Tex McDonald faction, which does not occupy the casino, told me they don't have access to the numbers.

"They have the documents over there," said Donna Featherstone, the sitting chair of the McDonald faction. "(They) illegally took over. They're rogue. They were never appointed and they were never voted in."

The "they" Featherstone is referring to is the Reggie Lewis faction, which took over casino operations in August. Contacting them has been difficult for gamblers, and for me too. An automated message greets callers and disconnects at the end.

Action News was able to reach a woman in the accounting office Wednesday morning who said she'd have an answer by the end of the day, but we never heard back, and our calls to Reggie Lewis himself were not answered.

If the silence lasts into March and April, tax experts say gamblers should just do their best to estimate losses. But that could be a roll of the dice and if an IRS audit follows, a reopened casino may be the only thing to save them.



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chukchansi gold resort & casinoMadera County
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