I think at one point or another we've all had dreams of landing a spot on Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune and completely transforming our lives with a BIG win. Turns out, that "big win" comes with a lot of rules and regulations that just so happen to completely shatter any pipe dream you might have had. You should really forget about cozying up to Pat Sajack or Alex Trebek, the reality their peddling is quite dismal.
According to Fashion Beans—"So, when you win a game show, you get taxed on the cash value of your prizes as if they were income. But you don't have an option to take cash instead of the prize itself. If you want to liquidate a refrigerator you don't need or a jet ski you'll never use, you have to do it the old-fashioned way: by selling it."
Ah, go figure! The United States government would never let you get yours without getting theirs first.
Andrea Schwartz, a The Price Is Right, talked to the A.V. Club in 2013 about her experience—"Yeah, you don’t just drive off the back lot with the car like I thought the entire time I was growing up,' Schwartz explained. 'After the show, you fill out some paperwork and basically sign your life away. You say that you’re going to pay the taxes on it.”
She continued to Fashion Beans— "If you win in California, you have to actually pay the California state income tax ahead of time,' Schwartz said. 'Then they give the okay to the dealers and to the vendors that are supplying the prizes. Then you deal with those people."
Basically, there's nothing innately free when it comes to winning a game show and frankly, that's pretty depressing if you ask me!
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