Generally, if someone wins a raffle, Lotto or prize money in a draw, these winnings are not taxable. Similarly, prize money from a dog, horse or trotting race through the TAB is not taxable.
However, if prize money is won as part of someone's taxable activity, then it is generally taxable. It must be included as business income or as a schedular payment (if tax is deducted from it) in the person's tax return.
Examples of taxable prize money could include:
- a farmer who wins money for an exhibit at an agricultural show
- an author who wins prize money for one of their books in a competition
- a professional sports person’s prize winnings.
Sporting event or competition prize money
If you run a sports event or competition and give more than $500 in prize money to a participant, you will need to deduct 20% withholding tax from the amount that's over $500. This applies to participants who perform or compete as part of their taxable activity.
The tax deduction applies to each separate participant, for each separate event they compete in.
For more information on the tax obligations of sporting events contestants, see our Amateur and professional sportspeople page.