The IRS Isn’t Playing Games with the Latest Jeopardy Winner

Jose Nino Comments

All winners of the “Jeopardy” game show end up as losers in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service. Jeopardy contestant James Holzhauer will be no exception to this trend.

The IRS is now set to take a substantial portion of the Jeopardy champion’s winnings. After losing in his 33rd appearance on the game show, Holzhauer finished $58,484 shy of breaking the record for all-time earnings.

Image credit:
Steve Jurvetson (https://bit.ly/2ynjLcD)

Nevertheless, Holzhauer won himself a cool $2,462,216 in 33 show appearances. This number includes the $2,000 prize Holzhauer won for coming in second place during his most recent appearance on June 3, 2019. Only Ken Jennings earned more money in his Jeopardy career, where he holds the record for earnings that total $2,520,700 and for 74 appearances on the show.

But there’s another winner in this equation, our lovely friend the IRS.

The IRS treats the winnings that contestants accumulate as regular income and then proceeds to tax them at 37 percent. We should also not forget that most states have their own income taxes as well. This is relevant because the game show Holzhauer participated in took place in California. Interestingly enough, Holzhauer is a Nevada resident.

After factoring federal and California state taxes, Holzhauer’s total winnings stand at $1.29 million. The Jeopardy winner is getting a raw taste of how convoluted America’s tax system is. It’s no secret that the federal income tax punishes success. And to add insult to injury, the public services that are provided through tax revenues aren’t much to write home about either. One way or the other, America’s most successful are getting fleeced.

Unlike Jeopardy, government overreach is not a game. It’s a very nasty reality that most Americans have to cope with on a daily basis. The only winners in these situation are the government and its bureaucratic class. 

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