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Currently Nikon is holding a digital film-making contest. The top prize is $17k worth of professional Nikon photo equipment. The problem is I assume the tax on this stuff will be approximately 5.5k. If I really wanted to invest 5.5k in this equipment it would be a fantastic deal, but I already have a bunch of equipment. Selling the equipment, I will maybe make about half or 8.5k, just estimating roughly, not sure if that is best or worst case scenario. So that 8.5k minus the 5.5k tax we have a 3k prize. 3k is not bad at all, but it's starting to look like it might be a bit of a pain to win this thing. Any thoughts?

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    A common dilemma for non-cash prizes. If $3K net isn't appealing, don't enter. – JoeTaxpayer Oct 10 '13 at 10:12
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    With all due respect, you really are entering the contest for the prize? I would think you'd enter the contest because the contest is fun. Winning would be a bonus, and the prize can always be declined. – Affable Geek Oct 10 '13 at 12:35
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Most participants will win nothing, so your expected winnings are almost zero.

You could donate the equipment to a local high school or college. It would wipe out all the income, and you would end up getting nothing, but you would owe no taxes. It would be easy to do, and you would end up with a nice thank you letter from the school, and maybe your name on a plaque on a wall.

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    Actually, you make out that way. You get a deduction on $17k of income, but it cost you $0. Thus the true after tax value is more like $4000 (depending on your marginal tax bracket). – Bryce Oct 11 '13 at 4:21

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