Why You Need to Read the Fine Print When Entering Sweepstakes

I received a direct message from a potential contest winner concerned the sponsor was asking her to pay the sales taxes to claim her prize. It wasn’t so much the sales tax per se, but the amount. It was $15,000.

What did she potentially win? An RV worth over $100,000!

Outback RV

My first thought was, “This is a scam.“, but I asked her for further details. After a bit of online research I discovered, not only was the sweepstakes legitimate, but there was clearly a clause in the official rules stating what the winner was responsible for. I also wasn’t the only contest with a clause like that.

Winner of recreational vehicle is responsible for sales tax, title, transfer, license, registration, dealer preparation costs, auto insurance and other fees associated with prizes. (FULL RULES)

My advice to her was to see what the resale market for new RVs was. If it was good, she could pay the sales tax, (borrow from savings or friends) she could claim the prize, sell it below market value, (repay the loan), pay the income tax and still make a profit.

In the end, I am not sure what she decided to do. I am pretty sure she turned down the prize as she couldn’t come up with the sales tax, plus income tax.

Again, this is why my #1 tip is to always read the rules. Not just looking for eligibility, closing date and number of entries allowed. There very well may be additional clauses in the rules you may not wish to adhere to. Save the sponsor time and yourself heartache, from having to turn down a win, by FULLY reading the rules.

What would you have done?

2017-06-25T18:56:27+00:00May 19th, 2017|Contesting, Sweepstaking|6 Comments

About the Author:

Carolyn Wilman (aka @ContestQueen) is a Digital Marketing Strategist and Sweepstakes Specialist. Carolyn teaches others how to Find, Organize, Enter and Win giveaways along with working with companies to create, and viral market, winning promotions maximizing ROI and loyal customers.


  1. Wendy June 24, 2017 at 9:04 am - Reply

    As always – excellent (and accurate!) advise. Thanks

  2. laurel June 26, 2017 at 12:28 am - Reply

    I would of paid taxes ..it’s worth it

  3. Elsie MacLeod June 26, 2017 at 11:59 am - Reply

    I would have checked out the Company Sponsoring it very thoroughly i.e. B.B.B., etc. That sounds like a lot of Sales Tax and I would see the prize in person first, no matter what the cost and then, if it was a certain legit win, I would consider borrowing money, etc. I take it this is an AMERICAN not Canadian win.

  4. gayle b June 26, 2017 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    Great advise! I think that I would have paid the taxes and hopefully been able to keep the trailer rather than selling it. I’ve entered contests with this exact clause (perhaps the same contest) thinking that if I won, I could generate enough income with the prize to cover any costs associated with claiming and owning (renting to friends/co-workers when not using). I’d hate to win such a wonderful prize and be put in the position of having to sell.

  5. Kay June 29, 2017 at 8:16 am - Reply

    Good advice.

  6. Pam Shepherd September 24, 2017 at 3:40 am - Reply

    I Knew you had to pay Tax on things like this. Is that the picture of the RV She won? The Really Big ones sale for that price. I Would LOVE To win a Car Or Rv/Camper,But i dont think i could come up with that much money either..LOL,I do not think i have much to worry about.i have not won a nice Giveaway in a very long Time.I enter daily but i am not winning. I Just dont know why i cant win.. Thanks For You Post..

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