- Days left
Richard Hatch, the first million-dollar winner of the reality television show Survivor was convicted of three counts of filing false tax returns in early 2006. He was sentenced to more than four years in prison, but appealed his conviction.

Now this guy is no rocket scientist. He won a million dollars on a hugely popular show, but then didn't report it as income on his tax return. Duh. His defense? He said he thought that the producers of Survivor had paid the taxes on the prize. Hatch claimed that producers promised to pay the taxes on his prize if he didn't tell the world that food had been smuggled to a contestant during the taping of the show. (Sure....)

He lost that argument then, and he lost it again last week. The tax court upheld his conviction and his sentence, even though he complained it was too harsh. So let that be a lesson to you... if you very publicly win lots of money, report it on your taxes. I promise you that the IRS is on the lookout for big prize winners who don't report their winnings.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Intro to Retirement

Get started early planning for your long term future.

View Course »

How much house can I afford

Home buying 101, evaluating one of your most important financial decisions.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Video: Tax Filing Requirements for Children

Depending on how much money they made during the year, your children may very well have to file for taxes. Learn about tax filing requirements for children with help from TurboTax in this video on tax tips.

Are Losses on a Roth IRA Tax Deductible?

When the value of your investments in a Roth IRA (Roth Individual Retirement Account) decreases, you might wonder if there is a way to write off those losses on your federal income tax return. Find out what you can and can't write off when it comes to your Roth IRA.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum