Would You Turn Down Game Show Winnings Just Because Of The Taxes Involved?

All of your wildest dreams have come true, and there you are, on The Price Is Right, spinning that wheel, bidding your heart out and maybe, just maybe, winning it all in the Showcase. But with all that glory comes the cold hard tax facts — winners have to pay the government a portion of their haul, which can be a turnoff. One man who won the show last year held an “Ask Me Anything” thread on reddit (with his son’s help) and delved into the  cold hard reality of paying for playing.

Reddit user Rocky_Whore kicked things off: “My dad won The Price is Right last year. He’s sitting here and will be answering your questions through me (he’s not computer savvy). Ask him anything!” His dad won a trip to Washington, D.C., a washer and dryer, a new truck, an Apple computer and other goodies.

As expected, there were plenty of questions about how players get picked to compete, whether Drew Carey is nice and what it really feels like to spin the wheel. But then things got down to brass tacks when one user asked — what are the taxes owed on the prizes?

“I won $57,069 worth of items. I had to pay around $17,000 or $20,000 in taxes, but I’m not 100% on that, I tried not to pay attention.”

Nobody wants to pay attention to taxes, but because prizes are counted as income, there’s a tax burden there based on the value of the items. That can be kind of a sticky situation — even if you sell say, a new $40,000 car you won to be able to pay the taxes on it, its value drops immediately once it’s signed over to you. So understandably, reddit users wanted to know if winners had the option to just take cash — whether because you don’t like the prize or because it’s easier to set aside a portion of cash for taxes.

“Not really, but we won an apple computer and apple doesn’t ship their items so we got the money for it (we used that for taxes though). We also had the option to take money for the poker table because it was going to take a long time to ship.”

He added in another reply that they paid off the rest of the taxes not covered by the computer cash throughout the year, and that the family was fortunate enough that it all worked out.

“We were lucky it didn’t hurt us to pay them. Some people don’t accept their winnings because of the taxes.”

It might seem crazy to turn down a prize, but if it comes with strings attached, we can see how many people wouldn’t want to deal with the hassle of selling off prizes for less than retail value just to cover taxes. Later, he added another anecdote about a player’s aversion to taxes:

The paper work took maybe 2 hours to fill out because I won the showcase and they made me stay last. During that 2 hours he was talking to a guy that worked there. The guy was saying how quite a few people give up their prize because of the crazy taxes. One guy won a $10,000 cash prize and didn’t take it because he didn’t want to pay half to his ex wife.

Everything turned out well for this family — you can see how excited the man’s son is when his dad won the whole shebang — so if you can get on The Price Is Right and don’t mind paying taxes, get out there and try your best to win.

Heck, even Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul got his shot at the big haul (Warning: Jay Leno is involved in this clip):

I Won the Price Is Right, Ask Me Anything! [Reddit]