To report Publishers Clearinghouse prize winnings to the IRS, am I required to sign PCH's Affidavit of Eligibility?

Asked about 1 year ago - Long Beach, CA

I won $500 from a Publishers Clearing House (PCH) contest. They sent me a $500 check, and I cashed it. Then later the same year I won another $250 from PCH. This time they sent me an Affidavit of Eligibility, which requested my social security number, and also granted PCH the right to use my name and likeness in their advertisements. I did not sign and return this form because I do not agree to those terms. But PCH sent me an additional check for $250 anyway, and I cashed it. I know I am now required to report $750 in prize winnings to the IRS. PCH has even sent a second letter making the same requests as the first. But I do not want to sign it. Can I ignore PCH requests, and just report my prize winnings as income on my 2013 tax return?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Rex Wenstrom Halverson

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    Answered . Requesting a social security number from you allows them to issue a Form 1099 to you that reports the income. Copies of the 1099 are then sent to the IRS and FTB. I see no harm in providing PCH with your SSN. As for the advertisements, I agree that you can decline. Finally, even if no 1099 is issued to you, you must report the $750 of income when you file your tax returns.

  2. Thomas J. Wagner

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . I would ignore the request. They've already sent you the money. And yes you can and must report the income on your 1040.

  3. Richard Gordon Stack

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . I agree with Mr. Wagner that you can safely blow off PCH, since you will be reporting the $750 of prizes as income on your tax return. The fact PCH failed to obtain your SSN before awarding the prizes to you is their problem, not yours. Also, I view the chance of PCH filing an action against you due to your failure to provide your SSN as being slim to none, with none leading by two lengths.

    The answer to this question does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Moreover, this attorney is... more
  4. Kevin Matthew Sayed

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . You might want to ask them why they need the affidavit of eligibility. If you agreed to provide it when you initially signed up for their drawings and awards they might be able to make some type of claim against you if you do not provide in info in return for their payments. It is likely they want to use the info for marketing purposes only, but I would not totally blow them off without at least calling and speaking to someone.

    This answer is based on general legal principles only and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. This... more

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