Congratulations and a Reminder

October 9, 2009

Congratulations to President Obama on winning the Nobel Prize this morning. As a friendly reminder from the Tax Foundation, the Nobel Prize counts as income. So Mr. President, please do not forget to file this on your tax return.

The IRS states:

Pulitzer, Nobel, and similar prizes. If you were awarded a prize in recognition of accomplishments in religious, charitable, scientific, artistic, educational, literary, or civic fields, you generally must include the value of the prize in your income. However, you do not include this prize in your income if you meet all of the following requirements.

1. You were selected without any action on your part to enter the contest or proceeding.

2. You are not required to perform substantial future services as a condition for receiving the prize or award.

3. The prize or award is transferred by the payer directly to a governmental unit or tax-exempt charitable organization as designated by you. The following conditions apply to the transfer.

a. You cannot use the prize or award before it is transferred.

b. You should provide the designation before the prize or award is presented to prevent a disqualifying use. The designation should contain:

i. The purpose of the designation by making a reference to section 74(b)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code,

ii. A description of the prize or award,

iii. The name and address of the organization to receive the prize or award,

iv. Your name, address, and taxpayer identification number, and

v. Your signature and the date signed.

c. In the case of an unexpected presentation, you must return the prize or award before using it (or spending, depositing, investing it, etc., in the case of money) and then prepare the statement as described in (b).

d. After the transfer, you should receive from the payer a written response stating when and to whom the designated amounts were transferred.

These rules do not apply to scholarship or fellowship awards. See Scholarships and fellowships, later.

Mr. President, if you are ethically unable to accept the prize money, I would also like to remind you that the Tax Foundation is a 501 (C)(3) and your contribution would be deductible.


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