If you know of a better place to win trips to Costa Rica, houses, or cars, please don’t hesitate to let us know. For now, “Wheel of Fortune” is the one-stop-shop for all of the above. And Julie, a recent contestant on the show, knows this all too well. She went home with a brand new BMW for her efforts in the bonus round.
And what better gift for Mother’s Day than a $50,000 car? Julie’s performance in the bonus round sealed the deal. She had the category “Food & Drink,” and was able to successfully complete “Frozen Juice” to win her prize.
“There you go,” said Pat Sajak as she gave him her answer. “How about a BMW? Is that good?” He continued as he opened the prize envelope.
“Oh my God. This cannot be happening!” Julie exclaimed as she climbed into her new car for the first time. The lucky winner was in absolute disbelief from the moment she won the bonus round.
“Well, she can’t believe that either, $69,070,” the longtime “Wheel of Fortune” host said, stating the total value of Julie’s winnings.
But How Does Winning Big Prizes on Shows like ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Work?
We all know about the game show tax on cash winnings, but what happens with something like Julie’s BMW? Well, she doesn’t exactly get to drive off the set with it. In fact, that specific car will never belong to Julie at all.
For starters, Julie will be required to pay all the tax on the car upfront. That includes sales, state, and federal taxes, and the costs can often be a burden for many contestants. So how does she eventually claim her car after she’s paid the taxes? Well, according to multiple testimonies from former contestants, the car will come from a local car dealership. Representatives from the show will call up a dealership and sort out the specific car the contestant won on the show.
Of course, there always remains the option of taking the cash value of whatever prizes are won on “Wheel of Fortune.” But again, taking the cash value will subject the winnings to the game show tax, which can roughly chop the face value in half.
None of this is to say that “Wheel of Fortune” is being unfair in some way, though. The show is still dishing out seriously major prizes on a near-weekly basis. For example, a contestant won a house worth hundreds of thousands of dollars last week. And Julie definitely looks pleased with her prize.