Ask Liz: Employee Documents, Taxes on Prizes & Foreign Lotteries

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By Liz Crenshaw and Katie Roberts
|  Friday, Oct 22, 2010  |  Updated 8:31 PM EDT
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Ask Liz: Employee Documents, Taxes on Prizes & Foreign Lotteries

Ask Liz: 10-31-08

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Can a potential employer can legally require a copy of your birth certificate? The Department of Labor and the Department of Justice helped us with this answer:

  • Employees are required to show two types of documents for new jobs.
  • The first document establishes your identity. Examples include a driver’s license or your passport.
  • The second establishes employment authorization. Potential employees can show their social security cards or birth certificates to prove this.
  • These documents help employees complete Form I-9.
  • All U-S companies are required to fill out this form for each person they employ.
  • Once a potential employee satisfies the requirements of Form I-9, most jobs cannot demand to see other private information.

Do people who win prizes on TV have to pay taxes on those winnings? The Internal Revenue Service says:

  • Any prize won in a contest or on a TV show is treated like income for tax reasons.
  • For instance, if a contestant won a car on a game show, he or she would have to report the fair market value of the car as taxable income.
  • There is no minimum amount that can be excluded...
  • Since the taxes are treated like income, the tax amount depends on the value of the prize.

A viewer received an email from someone who wants to deposit millions of dollars into her bank account. She wants to know how to handle this foreign lottery mail. We checked with the Federal Trade Commission:

  • It says that most promotions for foreign lotteries are likely to be phony.
  • The scammers are trying to get your bank account or credit card numbers.
  • Playing a foreign lottery over the phone or through the mail is against federal law.
  • Ignore e-mail or phone solicitations for foreign lotteries...
  • Give any foreign lottery mail to your local postmaster.

 

Got a question for "Ask Liz"? Send any consumer questions to askliz@nbcwashington.com.
 

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