If you’re a bit short on cash, you may want to rethink your lifelong goal of competing on The Price Is Right.
Success on the popular show usually ends with an extremely unpleasant visit from the taxman, according to Yahoo! Shine.
And the tax burden associated with The Price Is Right is generally worse than it is for other game shows.
Consider, for example, the story of Andrea Schwartz who recently won $33,000 worth of prizes, including a Mazda 2 compact car, a pool table, and a shuffle board table.
“It’s a whirlwind, they kind of shove you around, and then you are suddenly in the parking lot, saying, ‘I just played Plinko,’” Shwartz told Yahoo! Shine.
She underestimated the tax burden associated with her winnings.
“Yeah, you don’t just drive off the back lot with the car like I thought the entire time I was growing up,” Schwartz said in an interview with the A.V. Club.
“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 added. “If you win in California, you have to actually pay the California state income tax ahead of time.”
And successful contestants have to worry about more than taxed winnings: they have to worry about their earnings pushing them into higher fed tax bracket, resulting in an even bigger tax burden.
The Yahoo! report goes on to note that The Price Is Right can be rougher than other game shows because prizes may include things contestants don’t even want (but still have to pay taxes on).
“I think a lot of people don’t understand what they’re getting themselves into. They’re just like, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to win a bunch of stuff,’ and then they’re going to have to forfeit their prizes because they can’t afford to pay the taxes on them,” said Schwartz.
Schwartz said that before her prize car was even shipped from Los Angeles to her home in Reno, Nev., she had to shell out $2,500 in taxes. Luckily, she had won $1,200 from the game and was able to put that toward the car’s taxes.
She was later forced to sell the pool table and shuffleboard (a combined value of $14,000) on Craig’s List for roughly $4,500 because she couldn’t fit the prizes in her apartment.
“I took a bite on that one,” she said.
Further complicating the issue is the fact that the game show will only deliver to the contestant’s home address. If you wanted, say, the pool table shipped to an alternate location (to give you time to find a home for it), you have to pay for the shipping costs.
So why don’t The Price Is Right contestants just take the cash value instead of the prizes? Simple: the game doesn’t offer cash value.
“There is no cash value option,” explains Aurora’s Blog. “They make it super clear in all of the paperwork – you take exactly what you won, or you take nothing.”
Still, Schwartz said she is thankful for the experience, adding that she was fortunate enough to win easy-to-sell items (such as the pool table).
“If I had won the other showcase, it would have been trips, a refrigerator, and a stove,” she told Yahoo! Shine.
But she also has a warning for would-be contestants: ““If you’re broke don’t go to a game show expecting to win.”
Click here to read more from Yahoo! Shine.
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Featured image Getty Images. This post has been updated.