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What Does It Actually Mean to Win a Car on "The Price Is Right?"

One of the few perks of staying home sick as a kid was the privilege of watching The Price Is Right. The longest-running game show that gets contestants to "come on down!" has been around since the 1950s, and part of its charm is that it's stayed true to the original formula after all these years. Famously hosted by the iconic Bob Barker for decades, the CBS show now features host Drew Carey treating the studio audience, and those at home, to a wildly entertaining guessing game.

The fun part about The Price Is Right is that everyone gets involved. The goal is to guess retail prices, and the closest bid without going over is the winner. From the California sound stage where the show is filmed to your bedroom, where you're sniffling into an endless stream of tissues, it's hard to not shout out your well-considered bid.

So what happens when contestants actually win those big prizes, like a new kitchen, a trip to the South of France, or in many cases, a new car, like a BMW, Porsche, or Lexus coupe?

While the prizes are truly available to the contestants who have won them, fair and square, there are a few little details they have to deal with first. Namely, the taxes.

First, there are California income taxes to be paid. The staff behind the daytime game show kindly tallies up all of a winner's prizes and figures out the California income tax that must be paid before the prizes can be released. Once the taxes are paid, winners outside the state are welcome to pick up their well-earned cars from a local dealership, but again, that's after the taxes have been paid.

For many winners, coughing up a few thousand dollars on the spot isn't feasible; however, there are a few perks to doing so. For one thing, the car is fully yours after those taxes are paid. That means you can turn around and sell it to recoup expenses and make a little profit in the end.

But, before you book your flight and hotel, keep in mind: Federal taxes are also a thing. The Price Is Right winners receive a 1099G to ensure they report all of your winnings are reported as extra income. That can accidentally bump you into a new tax bracket, or benefit anyone who can legally receive part of your annual income. There's a reason why your ex-wife may be rooting for you during the Showcase Showdown.

Still, many former contestants agree that the experience was absolutely worth it. You do have the ability to turn down prizes if the taxes aren't something you can afford, and in some cases, the prizes themselves can be traded in for cash.

And, besides, who can put a price on the privilege of playing Plinko?

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