Television viewers love game shows.
The game show has been a popular staple of daytime and nighttime TV since the 1940s. With shows like Match Game, Family Feud, The Price is Right, Let’s Make a Deal, Hollywood Squares, Wheel of Fortune,and Jeopardy! dominating the ratings over the years.
In Canada, some of the most popular game shows have been Definition, Pitfall (hosted by the then-unknown Alex Trebek), Chain Reaction, Bumper Stumpers, Supermarket Sweep, The Mad Dash, and Headline Hunters.
And why not? Game show winners can take home a lot in cash and prizes—or at least they do in the U.S. The prizes given on Canadian game shows (luggage, his and her watches, or blenders) always seem to pale in comparison to what winners in the United States take home (cars, trips, money).
But there is another major distinction between U.S. and Canadian game shows. In Canada, contestants are not taxed on their winnings. In the U.S., winners are taxed on the value of the prizes. But what if you’re a Canadian and you win on a U.S. game show? Like Doug Hicton, who won $84,900 on Jeopardy! back in 2007.
Whether you win a prize as a game show contestant, receive a gift from Ellen’s “12 Days of Giveaways,” or get lucky playing the lottery, the IRS considers it taxable income. And they want their share.
As far as the IRS is concerned, “winnings” can mean a free gift, a prize from answering a trivia question, or anything in between. Canadian and other non-U.S. resident game show winners are taxed on the cash value of the prize. If and how much you’re taxed depends on the total amount of your winnings.
How Much Will You Be Taxed?
If you appeared on a U.S. game show and won cash or prizes, you will be assessed tax on winnings over $600.00. Game show winnings under $600.00 (cash, luggage, or parting gift) are not taxed by the IRS.
Just like lottery winnings, the IRS withholds 30% of the gross value of a prize. If you won $10,000 playing “Plinko” on The Price is Right, you will have $3,000 deducted by the IRS. If you won a dining room suite with a value of $1,500, you will have to pay $450.00 in taxes.
Canadian and non-U.S. resident game show winners can reclaim part or all of the 30% withholding tax imposed by the IRS. This is done by offsetting any gaming losses incurred during the same year as the game show winnings.
To go about getting the 30% withholding tax back means having to deal with the IRS. It entails filling out IRS Form (1042-S) 1040NR and trying to navigate the U.S. tax system. You will also need to provide certain U.S. gaming documentation from the same calendar year; this can include lottery tickets, records of slot machine plays, horse racing ticket stubs, and so on. If it sounds complicated, that’s because it is.
We’ll Help Recover Your Game Show Taxes
If you’ve been on a U.S. game show and had your non-cash winnings taxed by the IRS, Refund Management Services can help. The game show tax recovery professionals at Refund Management Services have CA designation and are certified agents of the IRS for filing game show winnings applications.
As Canada’s most reliable and experienced gaming and casino tax refund service providers, Refund Management Services has been helping Canadian and non-U.S. residents obtain game show refunds since 1998. Case in point, Refund Management Services has never been refused an eligible refund.
Refund Management Services is Here to Help
To find out how we can get you some or all of your taxed game show winnings back, call Refund Management Services toll-free from the United States or Canada at 1-888-272-5559, or e-mail us at [email protected], and one of our knowledgeable representatives will walk you through the simple application process.
Refund Management Services only gets paid for successful gambling tax refunds, so there is no risk to you if you do not receive a refund.