Winning a Big Prize on a Game Show Comes with a Price Tag


You Might Not Want Some Prizes!

Have you always had a dream of being on a TV game show and winning magnificent prizes? Some game shows, such as “Family Feud,” require an audition. Other shows, such as “Wheel of Fortune,” require future contestants to complete an online application. Once you have been chosen as a contestant, you might wonder if the show will pay for your travel expenses, hotel, meals, and so forth. The answer is “no.” You are expected to cover your personal costs. Some programs, such as “Jeopardy,” believe your costs will be covered by your win, second or third place. You must be able to cover your expenses until your check arrives from “Jeopardy.” This may take up to 120 days after the show airs on TV.

Cash Prizes

Most cash prizes are paid directly by the show. The money initially comes from the producers. They are then reimbursed by the advertisers or the network. If you are fortunate to win, let’s say, $35,000, you then have the responsibility to pay the taxes on your winnings. In most cases, the full winnings are paid to the contestant.

Winning A Car

It really doesn’t matter if you are the winner of a “joke” prize, such as a year’s supply of dog food, or, if you are the winner of a brand new car. The bottom line is, any prize won by a contestant is considered as taxable income. You usually receive your prize 30 days after the airing of the episode. You are then required to pay any applicable taxes which are due. If you cannot afford to pay the tax, you can always decline the prize. For example, if you win a car worth $40,000 on “Let’s Make a Deal,” you would be responsible for paying $7500, more or less, in taxes, depending on your bracket. You most likely would be required to pay state sales tax before claiming your shiny new car. The income tax may not be required until tax time. Even so, you would need to complete a W9 form, then, in January, you and the IRS will receive a 1099 form showing the value of the car as a part of your income.

Cost Of Receiving Prizes At Your Home

Often you can pick up your prize locally. This may happen immediately or within a few days. However, if you prefer to have the prize shipped to your home, you will need to make your own arrangements. You will also be responsible for any and all shipping expenses. If you decide to decline the prize you can do so – however, the show will not offer you cash or anything else. 

It seems like winning a big prize on a game show can end up being a very expensive gift.