Texas Man Loses 78% Of Tax Refund After Winning Free Donut Coupons At Houston Astros Game

Just about everyone likes winning stuff — especially free food and definitely free donuts. But a man in Texas claims that the stack of free donut coupons he scored as a prize at a Houston Astros game caused his federal tax refund to disappear almost as quickly as that team’s hopes of making the World Series.

Last year, the 56-year-old won a pile of 315 coupons from area donut chain Shipley Do-Nuts, each worth one cup of coffee and either one free donut or a dozen donut holes (anyone else already getting hungry?).

He was pretty stoked, until he got a 1099 form that valued the prize at $927.61, meaning that he’d have to pay taxes on all the free food. It also increased his income and, according to him, dropped what would have been a $302 federal tax refund to only $65.

The man, who contends the actual value of the prize is below $600 and therefore should never have merited sending a 1099, reached out to both the Astros and to Shipley. The former was unhelpful but the latter has been very understanding.

After hearing of the man’s problem, Shipley owner Larry Shipley agreed to pay him the difference between his actual refund and what it should have been if the 1099 had never been factored in.

“I have to say that (Mr. Shipley) is a gentleman and a scholar,” says the man to the Houston Chronicle. “[N]ot because I got my way, but he considered my position, wanted to do the right thing for the customer and accepted a suggestion to help his business.”

Shipley prize put Astros fan in IRS doughnut hole [Houston Chronicle]

Thanks to Harper for the tip!