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View Full Version : When you win a car, do you actually win a car?


JasonG
03-09-2004, 08:53 PM
Warning: this post contains the dreaded phrase "I remember hearing somewhere..."

On "The Price is Right," contestants often win cars. The implication is that the car is now theirs, forever, free except for the taxes they must pay on it.

However, I remember hearing somewhere that contestants often only win a lease for the car, lasting only a few years. It's still a great deal, and if they sell their previous cars and earn interest on the money, they can continue the lease when it officially ends. Or they can give the car back. Either way, it's not exactly their car.

Am I right? Anybody won a car? Or anything else that was only a lease?

Mr. Blue Sky
03-09-2004, 08:58 PM
I think it would be deceptive to tell a contestant they've won an actual car and then tell them it's a lease. The Price Is Right has given away a LOT of cars in the past 30 years. I think something like this would have made the news at one time or another.

The contestants must be able to pay the taxes of whatever they win. I'm sure that can't be more than a few hundred dollars on average.

Motog
03-09-2004, 09:14 PM
I don't know about the price is right or such shows but one of my mates won a car in a charity raffle. He was given a choice by the charity: you can either have the car or we can give you $x (the value of the car). He was without a car at the time and he chose to take the car.

The charity was apparently pretty surprised, they'd been running raffles like this for years and he was one of very few people to elect to take the car, most people take the cash.

The car he got was a base level BMW, because the company that donated it had not expected to ever have to hand over an actual car, it didn't have airconditioning, cd player etc.

Motog
03-09-2004, 09:15 PM
..... one of my mates won a car in a charity raffle...

For non-Australians, mate is an Australian synonym for friend

Mr. Blue Sky
03-09-2004, 09:23 PM
I don't know about the price is right or such shows but one of my mates won a car in a charity raffle. He was given a choice by the charity: you can either have the car or we can give you $x (the value of the car). He was without a car at the time and he chose to take the car.

The charity was apparently pretty surprised, they'd been running raffles like this for years and he was one of very few people to elect to take the car, most people take the cash.

The car he got was a base level BMW, because the company that donated it had not expected to ever have to hand over an actual car, it didn't have airconditioning, cd player etc.


I've seen such raffle ads in the backs of car magazines. Instead of a base model BMW, it's usually a Porsche Boxter of some other high sports car. Tickets usually run $100+. There is usually a cash option.

whiterabbit
03-09-2004, 09:26 PM
The contestants must be able to pay the taxes of whatever they win. I'm sure that can't be more than a few hundred dollars on average.

You pretty much walk offstage and go to sign tax forms there and then -- you have to pay California state taxes as well as federal taxes on anything you win. I'm assuming the state would then go after you in whatever ways they have if you don't pay up as is expected.

Early Out
03-09-2004, 09:46 PM
The contestants must be able to pay the taxes of whatever they win. I'm sure that can't be more than a few hundred dollars on average.That would be true if you were talking about the sales tax on the car. But when you win a prize like this, it's income, so you have to pay income tax on it. If the car is worth $20,000, and you're in the 25% tax bracket, you're looking at $5000 of income tax.

HomerIU
03-09-2004, 09:49 PM
I always wondered about the taxes that you have to pay for something like that. I am sure its more than "a few hundred dollars." Lets say I go on Wheel of Fortune, for example, and win cash. I am pretty sure I'd be paying a 35% tax on that money, since thats my tax bracket and it is income. Same would apply to a car, I'd think, so it could be A LOT of money depending on the type of car. In some cases I could see wanting the cash instead of the car to cover the taxes owed.

5 time champ
03-09-2004, 10:05 PM
I won a 2002 Chevy Tahoe on Jeopardy a couple years ago. Actually it was supposed to be a 2001 model, but the Chevrolet had closed down the production line for 2001 so I got the 2002 model.

The vehicle was factory ordered, and I got to choose the color. The car had just about every option one could imagine, and was delivered to a local dealer.

I traded the Tahoe in for a smaller Blazer & some cash, however. The Tahoe was way too big.

Taxes are a killer, though.

Snooooopy
03-09-2004, 11:54 PM
Speaking of "The Price Is Right," I surely hope that the contestants have the option of taking the cash instead of that hideous array of garbage they make the winners of each puzzle spend their winnings on.

kniz
03-10-2004, 01:17 AM
I knew someone that won a Lincoln Continental back in the late 50's on the original "Price is Right". He'd gone to NYC with a friend, who wanted to go on to Boston. My friend had less than $5.00 on him, so he stayed in NYC and rode the subway all day. The next day that got boring so he went to see the game show and got chosen. He didn't win anything, until the car at the last of the show. After the show they told him there was some fee that had to be paid and of course whatever it was he didn't have it. He called his dad, who ended up with the car. His name was Spencer Dean from Eufaula, Alabama.

Snooooopy
03-10-2004, 02:55 AM
Speaking of "The Price Is Right," I surely hope that the contestants have the option of taking the cash instead of that hideous array of garbage they make the winners of each puzzle spend their winnings on.

That's "Wheel of Fortune" I was thinking of. Dang!

Revtim
03-10-2004, 07:10 AM
5 time champ, did they give the option of just the cash value of the vehicle instead?

nineiron
03-10-2004, 07:22 AM
That's "Wheel of Fortune" I was thinking of. Dang!

And they haven't had to buy the hideous garbage (at least not on the U.S. version of the show) in years. That used to be the part that was the most fun: watching someone be required to buy a bunch of merchandise until their winnings were used up, and they could take the rest as a gift certificate or on account.

Now it's just cash. That fact makes Wheel of Fortune even less interesting than before, if that's possible. I don't watch it much, but my folks watch it religiously.

Thin Ice
03-10-2004, 07:23 AM
Speaking of "The Price Is Right," I surely hope that the contestants have the option of taking the cash instead of that hideous array of garbage they make the winners of each puzzle spend their winnings on.

You must be watching some ancient reruns of WoF. They haven't made the winners "buy" those prizes with the cash in decades.

Colophon
03-10-2004, 07:48 AM
Weird. I'm pretty sure that here in the UK, prizes on game shows are tax free.

Yep. Yahoo Finance agrees with me (http://uk.biz.yahoo.com/tax/glossaryg.html).

So over there, you have a show called Who Wants To Pay $250,000 In Tax? ;)

Mr. Moto
03-10-2004, 10:02 AM
In 2000, I won a trip to Puerto Rico as a consolation prize on Jeopardy. I came in second that day.

Only first place contestants on Jeopardy keep the money. They do it this way to encourage people to wager more aggressively on Daily Doubles and Final Jeopardy. Likewise, I couldn't cash in the consolation prize.

I was forced, then, to relax for a week in Puerto Rico. Mrs. Moto and I actually used the trip as our honeymoon.

I had to pay both California state tax and Federal income tax on the value of the prize, even though I live in Virginia.

Olive, The Other Reindeer
03-10-2004, 10:12 AM
You must be watching some ancient reruns of WoF. They haven't made the winners "buy" those prizes with the cash in decades.

Did anyone EVER buy that hideous ceramic dog??

RickJay
03-10-2004, 10:22 AM
Canada too. Same with lotteries; if you win $20 million in a lottery here, it's tax free. And none of this annuity stuff; they hand you a cheque for $20 million and call you a cab to take you to your bank. That's the way to do it!

whiterabbit
03-10-2004, 11:02 AM
My mom won a trip to Ireland on Jeopardy. Nyah nyah, Mr. Moto! :)

I wish I could have gone. But no. I didn't get to. It was a trip for two.

AAAAAGH.

Mr. Moto
03-10-2004, 12:20 PM
My mom won a trip to Ireland on Jeopardy. Nyah nyah, Mr. Moto! :)

I wish I could have gone. But no. I didn't get to. It was a trip for two.

AAAAAGH.

I hate to tell you this, but all they had to do was buy you a plane ticket, and get a rollaway bed in the hotel. The travel agency that handled the arrangements for Jeopardy would just have billed your folks the difference.

Your mom just didn't want you along. :D

Auntie Social
03-10-2004, 01:32 PM
Did anyone EVER buy that hideous ceramic dog??

Yeah, you were required to spend all your money until you couldn't afford anything that was left. The ceramic dalmatian was the cheapest thing there. So, if after other "purchases" you wound up with a balance large enough to buy the dog but not enough to buy the second-most expensive item, you had to buy the dog. So, I'm guessing there are a lot of ceramic dalmations in the attics and second-hand stores of America thanks to Wheel of Fortune.

Otto
03-10-2004, 01:53 PM
Hey now, don't be baggin' on the ceramic dalmatian! That was always my favorite prize. I loved it so much my grandmother made one for me when she was going through a ceramics phase. Sadly, both dog and grandmother are now gone. If someone has an old WoF ceramic dalmatian in their attic, let me know.

asterion
03-10-2004, 04:52 PM
Could someone give us young'uns some idea of what they mean by Wheel of Fortune lousy prizes?

Shodan
03-10-2004, 05:43 PM
I knew 5 time champ was on Jeopardy from a thread about screen names, but I didn't know Mr. Moto was on the show as well.

Only on the SDMB.

What was it like, both of you? My wife is always telling me to try out when they are in our area.

Regards,
Shodan

Bryan Ekers
03-10-2004, 05:49 PM
So, if after other "purchases" you wound up with a balance large enough to buy the dog but not enough to buy the second-most expensive item, you had to buy the dog.

And if you still had money left, you had to grease the weasel.

Doug Bowe
03-10-2004, 08:09 PM
Back to the OP for just a second...

I once worked for a radio station that gave away big prizes (for our market) every Arbitron. At that time had to warn people who won over $690 in cash or prizes that we were required to report the winnings to the IRS.
A friend of mine worked at a station in Houston that gave away a Rolls.
The winners got a shock when the IRS hit 'em with a bill on THAT one.

In our case and in the cases of co-workers at other gaming stations we always gave big winners a cash option. Our promotion people thought that offering a flashy car or a fancy swimming pool gave the contest sizzle. After it was all over they'd hope the winner would take the cash because it was easier for us to cut a check and have them sign a release.
If the winners actually wanted the car or the pool then we'd go through with the purchase and title and all the other rigamarole.

Diceman
03-10-2004, 09:02 PM
Could someone give us young'uns some idea of what they mean by Wheel of Fortune lousy prizes?

Back in the day (the early '80's) when you won a round on Wheel of Fortune, they'd bring out a bunch of prizes (like on The Price Is Right) and you would spend your winnings on the prizes. It was mostly crap and all overpriced (like a toaster for $100 or a blender for $150, or the aforementioned kitchy ceramic dalmation whose price I don't remember but it was pretty cheap. If you won several thousand dollars, you could blow it on a washer or dryer or something bigger like that. When you couldn't afford anything else (not even the ugly-ass dog statue) they would ask you if you wanted the rest of the money in a gift certificate or an account. I don't know what store the gift certificates were for, but most people took this option. If you chose "an account," they would hold onto the remaining money and if you won another round later they'd add the money to your new total. If you hit bankrupt, however, you lost the money in the account.

It was all pretty stupid, so eventually they just let the winners keep the money.

5 time champ
03-10-2004, 09:31 PM
5 time champ, did they give the option of just the cash value of the vehicle instead?

There was no option to take cash, which I would havemuch preferred.

Bryan Ekers
03-10-2004, 09:36 PM
It was all pretty stupid, so eventually they just let the winners keep the money.

Well, each of the selected prizes got a blurb from the announcer, and no doubt these plugs helped pay the show's production costs. When the show began rising in popularity after Pat Sajak 'n' Vanna took over in 1981, the ratings generated sufficient revenues to make the blurbs uneccessary. Just as well. Those "shopping sprees" always brought the show to a screeching halt.

Rico
03-10-2004, 10:42 PM
In 1961, my good friend's mother won a Ford Falcon on a game show.

Tom still has that car, he rebuilt it in 1975 while we were in high school with a supercharged 289 and a four speed Hurst shifter.

Back in 1961, it was a very nice family vehicle. In 2004, it's a screamer that has a top speed of over 150 miles per hour.

iamme99
03-11-2004, 02:31 AM
There was no option to take cash, which I would havemuch preferred.

How do they value the car for tax purposes? Is it list price? Or can you make the case that the value of the car is what you could reasonably buy it for in your market?