You get a car! And you get a car!

Remember when Oprah gave out cars like other people give out refrigerator magnets and foam cup holders? Audience members were thrilled with her generosity – until they realized that they had to pay income tax on their newfound luck. That’s because there’s literally no such thing as a free lunch – unless that lunch is served up with a heap of exceptions that make the IRS happy.

So this go round, Oprah had her ducks in a row. When she gave her entire audience an all expense paid trip to Australia in honor of her 25th and final season, she really meant all expenses. Including taxes. A CPA was said to be waiting in the wings to settle all of the tax issues associated with the trip. Reportedly, Oprah is taking care of paying the taxes associated with the fabulous prize (and for those of you in the tax field who are wondering about the circular nature of whether the actual payment of the taxes is also included in income, I’m sure that there will be some grossing up).

So talk show hostess with the mostest, producer, actress, philanthropist – and taxpayer extraordinaire… What’s next in her question for world domination?

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer and podcaster.


  1. That is really amazing. I assume they must be sending the “tax” in as withholding. I wonder if they’re also handling the state taxes and if the CPA in the wings is familiar with taxes in all of the states from which the audience members hailed.

  2. Another interesting tie in to taxes. Where do you come up with all this stuff? I mean, obviously you have original content and write this yourself but it’s always amazing you do it so timely and interestingly. And I always learn something. Thanks.

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