How does the IRS treat things like the trips the roommates take, the gear they get for the trip, the rent paid on their behalf, etc.? Same question regarding shows that have contest components to them. My first thought was “gifts,” next thought was “prizes,” then I thought there might be no tax burden to the cast members since the trips and gear and whatever are being used as part of an entertainment program and AFAIK the casts of shows filmed on location aren’t responsible for paying taxes on the expense incurred by the production company in transporting them to the location.
I would think with things like the cars and such they would be given the opportunity to either pay the taxes or take the cash value…as for the income they personally make, I’d say it get’s taxed normally. As for other things they get…not really sure. Darn happy Road Rules won the gauntlet though…slightly sad sara still got to reap the benefits though…I don’t think she deserved it.
It depends on many factors, but if the production company sends them somewhere, and their appearance on the show is their “job,” then the cost of the trip is a business expense, either for the company or the individual. If the gear given to them can be shown to be needed for their appearance, then it’d probably also essentially be a business expense. I think they can justify most of these as being required to hold their job as a member of the show.
If they win something in a contest, though, then that’s considered income.