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Old 07-20-2013, 09:02 AM   #21
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Yes, this is something I entered, it's legit and the contest sponsor is a Fortune 150 company. It's always the "we'll enter, but you almost never win" that really shocks you when you do win a contest. I've been searching overvalued contest prizes and it's appears to be a pretty common practice. My mindset is to focus on getting written proof for the Fair Market Value of the "private" events at the Botanic Garden (tour, pontoon boat ride) events that can't be publicly priced. You almost never hear of contests providing money to help cover the tax bill, other than on Oprah's show.
This looks like a good approach. A quick search turned up lots of hits, including threads here Let's Discuss Arv's - Online-Sweepstakes.com and here IRS form 1099 overstated value of prixe - Online-Sweepstakes.com and a link to the IRS forms https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1359915-1099-misc If your claim is reasonable and well documented you shouldn't have any problem.
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Old 07-20-2013, 09:14 AM   #22
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Suspect the prizegivers' tendency to overvalue the prize relates to their desire to inflate their corporate tax deductions.

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Old 07-20-2013, 12:09 PM   #23
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The 1st item - private tour of a includes a garden not accessible to the public w/boat ride may have been valued using a recent charity auction for just tea in this private garden and it sold for $3300. I know people/businesses tend to pay up for charitable donations. This gives a solid like item comparison for my prize 1).

One thing to keep in mind - if memory serves me correctly, when people bid on charity auction items, the bidders are allowed to deduct the amount of their bid IN EXCESS of the fair market value of the item they bid upon as a 'donation to the charity'.

So, if they go crazy bidding $5,000 for a burger served up by Warren Buffet at Dairy Queen, they should be able to claim a charitable deduction for the amount of their bid in excess of the fair market value of the item they bid upon.

So just because they bid $5,000 for the burger, I don't believe that necessarily makes it the fair market value (but I am just guessing on this). I wouldn't necessarily assume that the $3,300 tea party was necessarily the computed "fair market value" just because that was the bid. Just like if there was a Mexican vacation package with a retail price of $2,500 at a charity auction, and someone bid $5,000 for it to benefit the charity - just because they bid $5,000 doesn't make $5,000 the FMV of the $2,500 package.
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:10 PM   #24
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It appears all my attempts to get "real" retail values has been stopped by the sponsoring company/sweepstakes mgmt. One location just stopped email communication (just before they were to send me data), the other just sent an email stating they can't provide me any information. I was contacted on Mon 7/22 to please forward all communications to them, which I didn't do. I felt this was a breach of my privacy. Seems like my quest for more detail upset a few people, but without this information, I can't accept this prize. Now it appears they're aggressively stopping any requests I've made. They promised to get me detailed information of which, this sweepstakes mgmt has gotten me zilch in 9+ days! Seems like all they wanted was info about who I contacted and what answers I had received.
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:59 AM   #25
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I'd tell them to go pound sand. Sounds like to me, they're just trying to "give" this overpriced package to somebody, while they sit back and take a big fat tax deduction, and leave the lucky winner with a tax bill.

They're probably not used to a winner doing due diligence, so they're either not sure what to do, or resentful. Either way, I'd tell them to shove it.

But...that's just me...
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:30 PM   #26
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I just got a breakdown sent 2 hours ago:
Botanic Garden:
Total $3383 (OLD) - Meal $645,Room Fee $1500,Tip $619, Oper Fee $344, Tax $275;
Total (NEW) $1200 - Boat Ride/Staffing $400, Picnic/Setup $800.

Arboretum:
Total (OLD) $5427 - Meal $1360,Smores $65,Setup $250,Rental Equip $167,Room Fee $3000,Tax $402;
Total(NEW) $1076 - Camp/Hike $222, Fishing $102, Staff cost $500, Picnic Dinner $187, Smores $65.

Most of the old charges were for indoor dining $8630! $2070 for food and $6560 for room rentals(+ setup, taxes, tips & staffing). We're talking 2 outdoor picnic baskets (prob. sandwiches and salads) for 6. Still, one picnic basket w/setup for $800 is still way over valued. The new grand total is ~$4800 ($2296 + $2520 cash). I think this is a much better valuation w/52% as cash and they're giving me another couple of days to decide since it took so long to get this information. We're thinking this is doable, does your opinion change?
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:41 PM   #27
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You could still claim it on taxes for less than what they value it as; and deduct whatever it cost you to win the prize (raffle ticket, whatever), right? Nice that they will still give the same amount of $$ to reimburse of taxes for the new value (which is what, 20 percent of what the prize was originally supposed to be worth).

If your family will have fun with the activities, I think you definitely should now do it. This is the kind of thing my adult kids still remember doing, and yours will also love remembering that your family won it.
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:42 PM   #28
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You could still claim it on taxes for less than what they value it as; and deduct whatever it cost you to win the prize (raffle ticket, whatever), right? Nice that they will still give the same amount of $$ to reimburse of taxes for the new value (which is what, 20 percent of what the prize was originally supposed to be worth).

If your family will have fun with the activities, I think you definitely should now do it. This is the kind of thing my adult kids still remember doing, and yours will also love remembering that your family won it.
This was a free contest we entered, no payment involved for entry. The only items I think that can be reduced would be the food items. I know of a really expensive local market that makes picnic baskets to go for concerts and the cost is < $25/person. I can't believe a basket of cold sandwiches,salad,soda and setup would come close to $150/person. Then the smores at a cost of $11/person..Amazon has a 36 ct Hershey's Smores kit for $20. Since the cash amount was specifically listed, they may be required to leave it as stated in the official rules. This will probably be our first attempt at camping and it'll be in on garden grounds and not true wilderness. We also don't have a lake home or a boat.
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:17 PM   #29
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Even with the new valuations, if you believe they are too high you can declare a lower value to the IRS. The cash covers the tax liability, you are in the green, so what downside is there? Another (unrequested) vote to take it and enjoy.
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:01 PM   #30
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You have to so what works for you but devaluing the prize on your tax return seems like it might invite some extra scrutiny from the IRS. To me it wouldn't be worth the possible extra hassle. My opinion doesn't change. If it were me I'd pass.
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