BUILD Conference attendees to pay taxes for their "free" Windows 8 tablets

Microsoft loves to give away cool stuff at their major development conferences and press events. In the past they have given out big ticket items like flat screen televisions. Xbox 360 consoles and laptops to conference attendees. Microsoft's first annual BUILD Conference in Anaheim, California this week is no exception. The company is giving a free copy of a Windows 8-based Samsung tablet device to attendees who paid to get into the event.

AllthingsD.com reports that there were thousands of people waiting in line (or at least in an organized mass) inside the Anaheim Convention Center on Tuesday to get the promised free Samsung Windows 8 tablet. But folks who get one of these prized products will also have to deal with the tax man; Microsoft is passing out IRS tax forms for attendees when they receive the "free" tablet. That means people who get this product will still be legally obligated to pay something back to the government for this rather generous gift. The article doesn't state how much attendees will have to pay in taxes for the privilege of obtaining the tablet.

The video below shows how many people at the BUILD Conference were waiting to get the Samsung Windows 8 tablet. Neowin got a chance to check out the device for ourselves before the conference began. The 700T tablet has an Intel i5 1.60Ghz dual-core processor inside along with 4 GB of RAM, a 64 GB solid state drive, an 11.6 inch touch screen and both WiFi and 3G wireless features.


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39 Comments

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This is a non-story. Like mentioned above, I had to pay taxes when Microsoft did the free promotion for Windows Vista & Office back in the day. I didn't mind one bit - it's just reality.

Gifted items below a certain amount is tax free. You still have to filling a W9 form but if the items doesn't reach a certain amount in value, no tax will be charged.

Bit off topic, didn't realise BUILD was in Anaheim ... to think I've been in that building a few times for BlizzCon. Nice building, that

Ferghal said,
What the hell is up you your man in the video? Cross dresser tech news?!

Just viewed the video..........LOL!!! LOL!!!

Just because Microsoft is passing out tax forms doesn't mean they are correct in doing so. Attendees paid a fee. What they got in return for that fee was the conference and a tablet. It's no more taxable than getting a DVD player thrown in when purchasing a TV.

Paradise Pete said,
Just because Microsoft is passing out tax forms doesn't mean they are correct in doing so. Attendees paid a fee. What they got in return for that fee was the conference and a tablet. It's no more taxable than getting a DVD player thrown in when purchasing a TV.

If the tablet is greater than the attendance fee and greater than the minimum gift allowance then taxes are owed on it.

In your example, the sales tax would be higher due to the value of the DVD player. You pay sales tax on the value on the product when you use a coupon even.

Paradise Pete said,
Just because Microsoft is passing out tax forms doesn't mean they are correct in doing so. Attendees paid a fee. What they got in return for that fee was the conference and a tablet. It's no more taxable than getting a DVD player thrown in when purchasing a TV.

The fee attendees pay is for admission, not the tablet. The tablet is a gift being provided at the event, not the purpose of the event. I'm sure that's how the government would look at it, and I think Microsoft is doing the right thing by being forthright with their attendees... Who wants to be surprised by that?

Alvin Ashcraft said,
I hear that for tax purposes, the tablet is valued at $1200 (including the 1yr of AT&T data access).

Sounds about right.

Since many of these people work for businesses, they will just expense the tax receipt anyway, so nothing lost..

As said above it all depends I the value of the giveaway. At PDC two years ago they gave out a laptop and it was the same situation. At PDC 08 all we got was a 160gb hard drive -- no tax form.

ShawnB said,
As said above it all depends I the value of the giveaway. At PDC two years ago they gave out a laptop and it was the same situation. At PDC 08 all we got was a 160gb hard drive -- no tax form.

Depends *on

Still getting used to this new device. Taxes aside its a pretty awesome 'gift.'


I wonder if the same goes on with Google I/O when they give out those free tablets and phones? Maybe it does happen and we are only finding out just now or maybe it doesn't and Google is just cool like that. Who knows?

UndergroundWire said,
I wonder if the same goes on with Google I/O when they give out those free tablets and phones? Maybe it does happen and we are only finding out just now or maybe it doesn't and Google is just cool like that. Who knows?

I doubt seriously Google is covering everyone's taxes... More than likely they just aren't being forthright with the information, in hopes none of their attendees ever gets audited... lol If they can't be bothered to offer patent protection to their "partners", I doubt seriously they would do much for conference attendees...

M_Lyons10 said,
If they can't be bothered to offer patent protection to their "partners", I doubt seriously they would do much for conference attendees...

Ahh but they did! Why do you think HTC is now suing Google.

Lexcyn said,
I'm glad we do not have to pay tax on FREE things here.

is it really free though if you have to pay to get it? *scratches head* there was a registration fee... this was a "gift" however, but you don't pay taxes on gifts unless you get over $13,000 a year in them

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,

is it really free though if you have to pay to get it? *scratches head* there was a registration fee... this was a "gift" however, but you don't pay taxes on gifts unless you get over $13,000 a year in them

Not an accountant but I think that what you would pay now will add to your deductions at the end of the year.
At least it should........ but logic and taxes usually do not get along well.....

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,

is it really free though if you have to pay to get it? *scratches head* there was a registration fee... this was a "gift" however, but you don't pay taxes on gifts unless you get over $13,000 a year in them

I don't believe you're correct on that. I've known people that had to report lower amounts than that...

M_Lyons10 said,

I don't believe you're correct on that. I've known people that had to report lower amounts than that...

well I'm going by what our tax lawyer told us last year..... if we didn't get $13,000 in gifts we didn't have to pay taxes on it, we still had to report it, just wasn't counted as taxable unless we went over that line

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,

well I'm going by what our tax lawyer told us last year..... if we didn't get $13,000 in gifts we didn't have to pay taxes on it, we still had to report it, just wasn't counted as taxable unless we went over that line

This is true IF MS declares this as a GIFT to each attendee. Anyone can gift up to $13,000 per year to someone. So MS can declare this as a gift (with the actual units already written off a business/marketing/development expenses). There is no limit AFAIK with how many people can be given such gifts.

Then the attendees would not need to report it. Either way, if they itemized, the unit can be declared and written off/down in any number of ways. Check with your tax accountant on this.

Not news worthy, as noted by others you have to pay taxes on just about anything you win. Did you honestly believe that creepy Uncle Sam wasn't going to try to put his hands in your pocket?

zeke009 said,
Not news worthy, as noted by others you have to pay taxes on just about anything you win. Did you honestly believe that creepy Uncle Sam wasn't going to try to put his hands in your pocket?

Exactly. And with the current state of things, it'll probably be a bit more of a shake down... lol

didn't they pay to go to the build conference (like $150 or something for registation)? I didn't look into it this year so not sure, if they paid for the conference then shouldn't that cost be deducted from the cost of the device due to the fact you paid to get something? because technically you paid to recieve something, therefore it's part of the fee...

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,
didn't they pay to go to the build conference (like $150 or something for registation)? I didn't look into it this year so not sure, if they paid for the conference then shouldn't that cost be deducted from the cost of the device due to the fact you paid to get something? because technically you paid to recieve something, therefore it's part of the fee...

Technically, the fee would be considered admission or an attendance fee, not a fee for the device (At least I'm fairly certain that's how the government would look at it). Thus you would not be able to deduct that from the value of the device as they would still consider it a "gift"...

The company is giving a free copy of a Windows 8-based Samsung tablet device to attendees

It's a copy of a tablet device?

It isn't exactly like this should come as a surprise. Any time you are "given" something that has a market value over $500 (maybe it is $600, can't remember exactly), you are required to pay taxes on it. The same thing happened with the free copies of Vista and Office 2007 that people were able to get back in 2006. If you took one or the other, you didn't have to pay taxes, but if you took both you did.

roadwarrior said,
It isn't exactly like this should come as a surprise. Any time you are "given" something that has a market value over $500 (maybe it is $600, can't remember exactly), you are required to pay taxes on it. The same thing happened with the free copies of Vista and Office 2007 that people were able to get back in 2006. If you took one or the other, you didn't have to pay taxes, but if you took both you did.

+1 Exactly. If this is a surprise to anyone, I think an audit is in order... LOL

And what is with the blame being directed at Microsoft? They're hardly the people that everyone should be upset with... lol

M_Lyons10 said,
+1 Exactly. If this is a surprise to anyone, I think an audit is in order... LOL

It's a surprise to me, as a non-american... Then again, don't Americans have to file their own taxes?