I have never been a huge fan of reality TV, but every now and then I have been known to catch a show such as Renovate My Family or Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Especially with the latter show, what I always wonder is how a financially struggling family can pay for the upkeep on their new dream home after it has been built. It seems like the smart thing to do would be to sell the place, put a few bucks under the mattress and buy a place that's easier to afford and maintain. As it turns out, I was asking the wrong question. What I should have been asking was how the family would be able to handle the tax bill after their new dream home was built.
The producers of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition have avoided tax implications by leasing the contestants' properties during the renovations. However, the contestants on Fox's Renovate My Family were not so lucky, as an Illinois family found out when they discovered that their new dream home represented more than half a million dollars in taxable income.
This problem is hardly confined to home reconstruction shows, however. As Vic wrote in an earlier article here on Screen Rant, Survivor winner Richard Hatch ended up in hot water with the IRS for failing to pay taxes on his $1 million prize. And remember the Oprah show where she gave everyone in the audience a new car? Those happy people weren't smiling when tax time rolled around.
Even in the reality TV world, the old saying is true: Be careful what you wish for. You may get it.