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Uncle Sam Spoils Dream Trip To Space 656

gollum123 writes about a dream come true and a dream dashed. Brian Emmett, a software consultant from the San Francisco Bay area, entered a contest sponsored by Oracle in 2005. He answered some questions on Java coding, won a free trip into space, and then reluctantly gave it up. The latter decision came once he had computed the taxes he would have to pay on the $138,000 prize — roughly $25,000. From the article: "Since the Internal Revenue Service requires winnings from lottery drawings, TV game shows, and other contests to be reported as taxable income, tax experts contend there's no such thing as a free spaceflight. Some contest sponsors provide a check to cover taxes, but that income is also taxable."

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.