How do I re-value a trip I won?

March 8, 2004

Subject:  Sweepstakes Prize

From:  Rob
Date:  Mon, 09 Feb 2004

Hello,

I noticed a discussion in one of Mr. Gray's newsletters of a sweepstakes prize. I'm in a similar situation.

I won a trip to the British Virgin Islands for 10 people, valued at over $34,000, for which we just got the 1099.

I believe the fair market value is much less than $34,000. I need guidance on how to better calculate the fair market value and whether I forward my dispute with the prize giver.

Thanks very much,
Rob

Answer

Date:  Mon, 01 Mar 2004

Hello Rob,

The best suggestion I can give you is to ask a travel agent to help you value the prize, and write a letter of opinion. You may offer a fee for this service. You don't have to notify the prize giver of your action, but you should disclose your position on your income tax return. Attach a copy of the letter from the travel agent to your tax return. I suggest listing the 1099 amount with a subtraction on the next line for the valuation adjustment. There is a good chance you will receive an inquiry from the tax authorities about this item.

Good luck!
Mike Gray

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