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Are prizes and awards taxable?

Generally, if you accepted a prize or award, you must include it as income. Where the income is reported on your tax return depends on why you received the prize or award. 

Go to this section in Credit Karma Tax to enter your information: 1099-Misc

If you received the prize or award in your capacity as an employee, the income should be included with your W-2 wages.

Employee achievement awards of tangible personal property, like a watch or trophy, for length of service or safety achievement are not usually taxable. However, the non-taxable amount is limited to your employer's cost and can’t be more than $1,600 ($400 for awards that aren’t qualified plan awards) for all awards you receive during the year. Awards of cash, cash equivalents, vacations, meals, lodging, tickets to an event, stocks or other securities cannot be excluded from your income under this rule and may be taxable.

Your employer can tell you whether your award is a qualified plan award and must make the award under conditions and circumstances that don’t create a significant likelihood of it being disguised pay.

The exclusion doesn’t apply to the following awards.

  • A length-of-service award if you received it for less than 5 years of service or if you received another length-of-service award during the year or the previous 4 years.
  • A safety achievement award if you are a manager, administrator, clerical employee, or other professional employee or if more than 10% of eligible employees previously received safety achievement awards during the year.

The fair market value should be used for non-cash prizes and awards. You should receive Form 1099-MISC if you received prizes and awards of at least $600 though you may still have to report the prizes and awards you won even if you did not receive a 1099-MISC. If you received the prize or award for services performed as a contractor or nonemployee, you should report the income as part of your Schedule C.
Source: irs.gov

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