The Truth About Winning A New Car On The Price Is Right

There are few things in life that are as thrilling as winning something. Games of chance often feel like they're rigged against us, so winning can be a real treat. Winning on TV in front of countless viewers seriously ups that thrill-factor. We see it so often in the reactions of big winners on some of our favorite game shows. (Who can forget John Carpenter calling his father as he won Who Wants to be a Millionaire?)

Of all the game shows on TV right now, few are as iconic as The Price Is Right. Throughout the years, Price Is Right winners have opened up about what it's like to be a contestant. Viewers were eager to learn how the show works and just how soon you get to drive away with one of the big prizes, like a new car. We've watched time and time again as contestants totally lose it upon learning they'd score a brand new ride, but what's the truth behind those big-ticket victories? It turns out they too have a price, after all.

You have to pay taxes before collecting your prizes

If you think you can just drive that car off the soundstage, think again. There's a process behind collecting your prizes on a game show. Previous contestant who won a car, Debra Field, told, "After the show is over and you see your prizes, you fill out a form and it explains exactly what you won and that you have to pay California income tax on your prizes.... You see the form, you sign it. And they say, approximately one week before the show airs, you'll receive a letter from accounting and you'll see the amount that you owe. And then after the show airs, you can send in your certified check. And then after that, they will contact a local ... car dealership."

That means you have to fork over a check before you get your prize. Not exactly magical. But what if you can't afford the taxes, or don't want the prize? Believe it or not, it's happened before.

You can turn down a prize if you want to

Another winner held an AmA on Reddit to share his experience winning a car. At the time, he was in the process of saving up to pay the taxes and collect his prize. "You can deny certain prizes," he revealed, explaining that you get a sheet breaking down all your winnings and can make your decisions from there. 

"Taxes and title are due at time of pickup," he explained of the car. "Also, you have to pay income tax for the items you won the year of the air date. So for me, its 2018 taxes for a car and some jewelry."

Some people would rather take the cash than the prize, but that's only possible under very limited circumstances. "We won an Apple computer, and Apple doesn't ship their items, so we got the money," a winner told ABC News. The winner went on to use the cash from that to pay taxes on some of the other prizes. Few contestants get to take advantage of such a situation.