“Some of the people who knew me, my smile looked a little bit forced when I was up there [on the show],” said William Toebe, a suburban Green Bay resident who was at the taping. “That’s because paying the taxes was the first thing that popped into my head. As I was standing up there, the responsible portion of me said, ‘This is very nice, but where am I going to get the money for the taxes.'” Toebe, who runs a farm, is already thinking of getting rid of the car, though he has yet to pick it up.
Those 276 fully loaded Pontiacs Oprah gave to her audience a while back? Not so free. According to a story in the Chicago Sun Times, while Pontiac agreed to pay for the state sales tax and licensing fees, the recipients have to report the cars as income at tax time. What that means is that by adding $28,500 to someone’s income, it pushes them into a higher tax bracket and makes them liable for about 25 percent of the car’s value in taxes. For a $30,000 car, that means paying about $7,125 for the “free car.” And in Illinois, the giftees will have to add another three percent or so in state income tax.