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I Won!!! Free Trip to Firenze, "OH YEAH BABY"

I Won!!! Free Trip to Firenze, "OH YEAH BABY"

Feb 4th, 2004, 08:54 AM
  #1  
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I Won!!! Free Trip to Firenze, "OH YEAH BABY"

I just got news that I've won a all expenses (Air, Lodging, Meals,) trip to Florence for two. I've been in Florence twice in the last four years. I've done the usual day trips, San G, Lucca, Pisa, Uffizi, Academia etc. This time I'll be looking for a Top notch Guide/Driver to show me all the non tourist sites and the best restaurants in the region.

All suggestions appreciated

LUCKY FOR ONCE!
Smark is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 09:07 AM
  #2  
 
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Congrats, Smark! How'd you win?
Iregeo is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 09:23 AM
  #3  
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I won a contest held by a company "BIONATURE". I sell their food products (grown in Tuscany) in my store.
Smark is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 09:26 AM
  #4  
 
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How are they going to do your meals? Full or Half Board at your hotel? Will you be with a group? Are they going to give you a meal allowance so you can travel and eat at different places?
Budman is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 11:04 AM
  #5  
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The U.S. president of the company called me to let me know that I won and he explained to me that he was working out the details and would be getting back to me soon. I know that I will be allowed to travel within a certain period of time, not with a group! I'm sure I will have the opportunity to visit the farms and get a tour of there opperations.
I will be given an allowance for the meals. The people in Italy are making the arrangements for the Hotels, hopefully, they won't mind if I ask them for an allowance for the hotel so It would be great to choose one of my preference. I can remember a there were a few hotels on the Arno with beautiful views of the Ponte Vecchio I think (Hotel Lungarno)is one.
Smark is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 11:54 AM
  #6  
ira
 
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Good for you Smark.

My wife tells me that I have a great ability to find places that the casual tourist rarely sees - alleys, loading docks, slum housing.

I would be happy to be your guide. You need pay only my expenses.
ira is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 12:04 PM
  #7  
 
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I don't want to be the voice of doom and gloom, but before you take the trip, find out what they are listing as the "value" because that is what you will have to pay taxes on. (I'm assuming you're in the US.) Tell whoever does your taxes the amount and he or she will tell you how much you'll have to come up with come tax time.
missypie is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 12:20 PM
  #8  
 
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Missypie, you must be an accountant, only an accountant can see the bad side of winning a wonderful trip!
swalter518 is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 12:36 PM
  #9  
 
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swalter518,
I am not an accountant, but I got slammed here before for mentioning what missypie was saying. I have seen many so called "free trip" contests, etc with inflated "value." When I calculate equivalent trip cost, the cost approaches the the tax I would owe to the IRS and to the state. So depending on where one lives and one's tax situation, there can be nothing special about these free trips, it could have been done at similar cost without restrictions that come with these prizes.
greg is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 12:41 PM
  #10  
 
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Greg,
If you read Smark's whole posting, this is not a "win a free trip if you come watch our timeshare presentation", nor does this sound like an inflated value prize. It amazes me how people love to dampen other people's excitement-talk about sour grapes!
swalter518 is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 12:56 PM
  #11  
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This was a small contest done by a small company. Very informal, Im sure that value of the prize will never be exposed to the IRS. No matter what it won't be an inexpensive trip as my wife is familiar with the shops in Florence I'm sure she'll figure that she can buy more stuff since we aren't paying for airfare etc.
Smark is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 01:09 PM
  #12  
 
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While it probably won't apply in Smark's case, misseypie and greg do have a valid point for others who win "free" trips. The values are often inflated, and they are often reported to the IRS, and one does often therefor have to pay income tax on the value.

I have seen many prize trips with values set so high that the taxes on the trip would be higher than the cost if you set the trip up on your own.

Just be careful when winning something.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 01:17 PM
  #13  
 
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I would still ask the question: "Is this going to be reported to the IRS as income to me?" You don't have to sound ungrateful - you can preface it with: "Sorry, but my accountant is making me ask this question."

Believe me, you never know what the company's accountant will do. After a friend at work was widowed, I persuaded our company to make a substantial donation to her kids' college fund...Our controller originally wanted to report this to the IRS as income to her!!!

And I'm not implying that the value of the prize will be artificially inflated...but it may very well be stated at full retail value, whereas you may not pay full retail value when you travel.


missypie is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 01:28 PM
  #14  
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Thanks for the insight, I hadn't thought about tax implications. I would be surpised though if the value is reported to the IRS. I believe the costs are be paid for by the Italian side of the company.
Smark is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 01:32 PM
  #15  
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I will be looking for a really good Florence / Tuscany based guide. If you know of one, or are one please email me at [email protected]

Smark is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 03:02 PM
  #16  
 
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Have a great time .Congratulation....

Is nice to see that someone wins a contest...


kismetchimera is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 03:11 PM
  #17  
 
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Taxes -- ugh! You are supposed to pay taxes on the fair market value of any prize. If you can reasonably show the fair market value to be less than an inflated value stated by the sponsor, document it and pay on the lower amount.

Once won a trip that included airfare and spa hotel from anywhere in the US to Florida, a cheap flight. Sponsor used full coach fare from the farthest spot in US and rack rate for the hotel. I found the same flights, same hotel, etc. on Expedia for 1/3 of that, tax included, and used that instead of the 1099 amount, with a letter of explanation attached to my 1040. No problems arose.
AJPeabody is online now  
Feb 4th, 2004, 03:50 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hate to bum you out about taxes, but especially if you won this through your company, it absolutely is taxable income and your employer is required to report it. Now, if you work for a really nice company (like I do!), the company will "gross up" the award and pay the taxes for you. That's what we do when people win trips... we just calculate that into the cost. Otherwise, as someone else pointed out, the taxes can make the trip unaffordable! Sure wish I didn't know so much about this, but I do (not from winning, but from figuring out the accounting Just be sure you understand the tax consequences so that you are prepared, then ENJOY YOUR TRIP!!!
AnneO is offline  

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