Is money taxable in a show

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Taxes on TV show winnings

The fact that tax money is bubbling up in Germany is also thanks to the increasingly vigilant eye of the tax authorities. The state not only looks more and more at the investments, accounts and Swiss foreign custody accounts of his citizens, he is looking for more and more sources of income that he has previously overlooked.

Treasury discovers TV show profits as a tax source

The tax authorities have been finding what they are looking for in prizes and prize money for some time. More and more winners of TV shows are being asked to pay by the tax office. Annoying but also legal. Because tax law is about benefits.

Anyone who receives money for their work, efforts or efforts has to pay tax on it. This is the difference to tax-free lottery winnings. Lotteries are games of chance. The only service is to fill out the lottery ticket.

That’s the theory. In individual cases, however, it is quite questionable whether it is a job performance if someone takes part in a quiz show and guesses their profit more than earned. As is so often the case in such TV shows, it is a mixture of skill, skill and luck. In these cases the rule of thumb would be: A profit is only not taxed if the luck factor prevails.

Differentiation between happiness and achievement

More luck or more work? Difficult to assess for laypeople. Often enough, courts have to resolve this issue. What also annoys many is when the tax office "assumes" that a monetary gain was achieved through performance. But in unclear cases, this submission to the tax office is common. Unless the taxpayer can prove otherwise. Subsequently submitting documents is usually sufficient.

In the case of TV shows, however, no organizer makes a written commitment that a profit is tax-free. Otherwise he would be liable to recourse. Apart from that, the tax authorities have only recently discovered this field as a source of income, which is why it was not an issue anyway. This is all the more seen as unfair and arbitrary.

Judgments and TV formats

So caused general outrage when Sascha Sirtl won € 1 million on the TV show "Big Brother" in 2005 and the tax office only wanted € 500,000 in taxes 6 years later. With that, the winner was financially ruined.

In the last instance, the Federal Fiscal Court (BFH) gave the tax office the right. The achievement of the winner consisted in the participation and constant presence in the BB house, where he had to be watched and eavesdropped continuously (judgment of April 24th, 2012, Az: IX R 6/10).

Similar to the judgment of the tax court in Münster from January 15th, 2014 on the show "Die Farm". The candidates spend several weeks on a remote farm where they have to take care of themselves. Here, however, the performance for the € 50,000 profit was evident. Weekly lump sums were already paid during the elimination rounds.

The ruling has now encouraged the tax authorities to access all TV show formats at a profit. In the case of “Schlag den Raab”, for example, taxation is undisputed. When Peter Meiners won € 2.5 million last year, it was clear that this was due to his skill and ability.

Candidates have to consider that

In general, the following applies: Profits in a TV show are taxable if the participation and the prize money represent a mutual performance ratio. In other words, if the money equals a reward or a success fee. Incidentally, this also applies to the half million in “Deutschland sucht den Superstar” or comparable casting formats as well as the “jungle camp”.

You can only get your money in completely at quiz shows like “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”, where the luck factor predominates. But potential candidates are well advised to inquire carefully beforehand.

The profits are to be taxed as “other income” at the personal tax rate. From the corresponding amount, around half goes to the tax office. The tax authorities are almost always on the podium as invisible co-winners.

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