A South Carolina resident became a billionaire this past October. As of Christmas Eve, however, it’s possible they may not even know it.
Mega Millions crossed a historic threshold this past October. The winning combination, purchased a gas station, was worth over $1.5 billion. Winners have 180 days to come forward and claim their winnings. As of now, nobody has claimed the prize and clock is slowly ticking.
“This is unusual, considering that it’s $1.5 billion,” said Holli Armstrong with the S.C. Lottery Commission.
If the prize isn’t claimed by April, the money will be divided between the 44 states that hold Mega Millions lotteries. South Carolina’s $11.2 million share will go into the state’s education fund. That’s a big loss from the $70 million payout the state would collect if a winner came forward.
Some believe that the winner may be getting his or her affairs in order first.
“This can be a life-changing amount of money, but a lot of people don’t know how to control it, and they lose it over time,” said Ken Newhouse. Ken is an accountant with West Columbia’s Moore Beauston & Woodham firm and legislative liaison for the S.C. Association of CPAs.
Some claim that there may be a tax advantage in waiting to claim the money after January 1st. After all, that will be the beginning of a new fiscal year. In this case, the winner may be speaking to a professional tax adviser and attorney. Doing so would help him or her prepare for the increased responsibilities that come with such an influx of wealth.
At this point, everything is hypothetical. There’s no telling when the mystery winner (or winners) may come forward. One thing’s for sure though – it’s going to make a quite a compelling story!