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Advise on Whether Prize Money is Subject to Taxation


Advise a social enterprise committed to ethical research and innovation on whether prize money is subject to taxation.

Referred by:

Jurisdiction(s): U.S.
About the Organization: SoScience specializes in responsible research and innovation. They support scientists in both public research institutions and private R&D laboratories in orienting their research collaborations to make sure that (1) they answer social and environmental challenges and (2) they collaborate with civil society organizations on the ground in doing so.
Legal Entity Type: For-profit
SDG(s): Partnerships to achieve the Goals
Legal Issue(s):

In 2018, SoScience and its founder received the prestigious Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize. Unfortunately, SoScience’s founder made a mistake when filling out the tax forms and a 30% tax was applied to the prize. Due to a bilateral agreement between France and the United States, she believes the money was not subject to taxation. In 2019, with the assistance of a French attorney, she submitted a letter to the IRS. The IRS sent a check for half the amount, which SoScience’s founder has not yet cashed. She is seeking assistance from an attorney in the US to: (i) determine whether the prize money was subject to a US tax; and (ii) if not, assistance contacting the IRS or guidance on next steps she can take. She has tried contacting the IRS on her own, but has not received a response.