Posts Tagged: Taxes

Vacation Sweepstakes Edition (The More You Give, The Less You May Get)

It’s summer vacation time and what better way to spend it then basking in the sun after winning that all-expense-paid prize trip.  Or is it?

Sponsors want to create buzz for their sweepstakes.  And vacation prizes over the summer months may do just that.  In my unofficial count, there are about 150 vacation sweepstakes currently running by major brands for trips to Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, Disney World, Miami, Las Vegas, NYC and even Cincinnati.  But Caveat Sponsus, awarding a dream vacation could be a nightmare.

Issues and solutions when offering vacation prizes: (more…)

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Commercial Co-Ventures What a Charity Needs to Know

Yay!  Big brand wants to team up and donate part of the purchase price of its sales to your charity.  Do you just have to sit back and watch the money come pouring in?

Procedurally, no; substantively, (mostly) yes.  Even though the “work” in a commercial co-venture may be done primarily by the commercial company in terms of registrations and actual product selling, a charity has a number of its own obligations that cannot be ignored.

A short primer:  Buy this + we donate that = commercial co-venture.  Simple. (more…)

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Giving Tuesday: An Opportunity to Market for a Cause

I’ll admit that I’ve been part of the people lining up in the wee hours of the morning waiting for the doors to open on Black Friday. I even (temporarily) lost my young son once even though I specifically instructed him to run toward the tv’s. Luckily, my wife chose to chase him as he ran to the video games, and it ended up a win-win when I got myself a huge flat screen at a great price. But I digress.

As you may or may not know, in 2012, to compete with the commercialism of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, the NY 92nd Street Y teamed up with the United Nations Foundation to create #Giving Tuesday.

During the first year more than $10 million in online donations were processed and by 2015 this number increased to approximately $116 million. These numbers are pretty impressive given that according to a 2015 survey, only 18% of consumers were familiar with Giving Tuesday. While this new holiday has been specifically geared toward the charity’s online solicitation efforts, it appears to be an ideal vehicle for corporate giving through cause marketing campaigns. The statistics bear this out: (more…)

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U.S.A! U.S.A.! – House Votes to Eliminate the “Victory Tax” on Olympic Prizes

Olympic prize awards are generally taxed like other prizes. Some lawmakers have seen this practice of taxing our Olympians as a “victory tax.” On Thursday (Sept. 22, 2016), the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill exempting U.S. medal winners from paying taxes on the money they receive from the U.S. Olympic Committee when they earn a medal. U.S. Olympians are paid $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. A similar bill passed the Senate in July, and President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law. (Just so the bill doesn’t sound too favorable to big-time athletes, winners who earn more than $1 million per year can’t take advantage of the tax break.)

Where does this leave the average Joe or Jane prize winner? “Win a New Car” and you could end up paying a hefty tax before you get behind the wheel. (And no, it’s not a “gift” exempt from taxes.) There are plenty of instances where prize winners simply decline a valuable prize or donate it to charity to avoid paying taxes. “Taxes are responsibility of winners” is rightly in Official Rules, but who really thinks of that when they enter a sweepstakes for a trip of a lifetime? (more…)

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Enter to Win a Scholarship: Paying for College Through Games of Chance

For many young adults, college classes will be starting soon. For many anxious parents, college costs will be accumulating soon. Thank goodness you can try to bankroll tuition by entering the many available sweepstakes awarding “scholarship” money. For a student, college scholarship sweepstakes offer a simple alternative to actually hitting the books.  For sponsors, college scholarships offer a popular form of promotion to a captive audience and engender goodwill with the community.

While not as difficult as quantum physics, running an effective scholarship sweepstakes does require some pencil sharpening. Here are a few tips: (more…)

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Show Me the Money – When Taxes Can Turn Your Dream Home Into a Nightmare

It’s that time of year again, the 20th annual HGTV Dream Home 2016 Sweepstakes began December 29th. As the sponsor of this promotion has recognized, winning a mansion could put you in the dog house when you are socked with a hefty tax bill. I’ve written about this issue of the tax consequences of giving away expensive prizes in an article published in the Connecticut Post.

To avoid cooking Ramen noodles and mac and cheese on your brand-new Thermador® 36 inch Professional Series Pro Harmony standard depth dual fuel range (i.e., “oven”), you have the option of taking $900,000 instead so that your dream home doesn’t become a financial nightmare. (more…)

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