Awards, Cash & Prizes and 1099s at Tax Time

Hey you guys! I had something happen that felt really scammy and thought I’d see if anyone here has had a similar experience. I won an award from a juried show that included at $250 check. When it arrived, there was a gift certificate to some gallery for $300 and another gift certificate for art supplies or panels for another $150. I tossed them (didn’t want them, didn’t need them, didn’t care) and cashed the check.

Last week I got a 1099 from the organization telling me I had to claim $700 on my taxes, and that the gift certificates were considered income. Which is complete bullshit. I checked with my accountant, and apparently this is true.

I also talked to another painter who won one of the big prizes in this same competition- $1,000 check and an article in Fine Art Conn. who gave back the check and rescinded the prize when they sent her a 1099 for $4,000, or the perceived value.

I am still considering my response to the organization about the matter, but wondered if this has ever happened to you? I feel like I’m being scammed, and wonder why they sent the gift certificates in the first place. Does this have something to do with their vendors or inflating the amount of the awards to attract more entries?

Thanks so much!


This sounds totally fishy/scammy. I definitely will do some digging on this and come back to this thread asap…

Spoke with my son, he thinks that you should ask for a revised 1099 since the gift certificates were not advertised but just “dumped” on you. They are trying to balance their books at your expense.

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Thanks Deb! I am thinking of doing just that-- I’m definitely sending a letter to let them know how I feel about the whole thing. :slight_smile: Appreciate your feed back <3

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Can someone include this in an angry letter for no reason?

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That’s brilliant! Eric has never looked so good <3

I will certainly use it in my letter-- I’ve decided I’m going to send them an invoice for $450, the amount of the gift certificates they’re trying to force me to claim as income. I know nothing may come of it, but I bet it will ■■■■ off a few people and make my point clear at the same time.

That’s a great idea. I’m convinced that Fine Art Connoisseur is complicit in this as well. I’m curious as to how AWA and FAC might respond to questions about this new “competition protocol.”

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In doing some research into this I felt that readers here should know the particulars so as to avoid such tax-time pitfalls. The hosting organization of this show was American Women Artists. Below is the prospectus that artists were given access to prior to entry. You can see where it states that among the awards, some entries may secure a “National Magazine Ad Awards valued between $1,500 to $4,250

See if you can spot where in this prospectus it warns that you will be responsible to pay tax on hundreds or thousands of dollars in unsolicited (and possibly useless) gift certificates and a relatively arbitrary “perceived value” of a “National ad” in Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine. I would expect it to be listed in the liabilities section, but instead, that section focuses more on the fact that nothing is refundable and that accidental overpayment will be considered a “donation.”

I would just like to sneak in a little commentary here on magazines in general. First, I do think FAC is a good magazine. I’ve been featured in it in the past and so have many of my colleagues. I have indeed found some great articles that I’ve enjoyed immensely and I’ve recommended the magazine to individuals and groups within a number of contexts. With that said, you should always be careful when navigating advertising costs in a context like this. First, when a publication is described as a “National” magazine, you may be apt to think that the readership is in the six-figure (and up) range. For example, a big magazine like National Geographic boasts over 3.5 million readers in the US.

Now I don’t expect a more niche publication to rival such numbers as found with NatGeo–but FAC boasts that “Each issue reaches an average of 67,000* loyal readers who are passionate about discovering the finest in representational art.” Did you notice the asterisk on the number? This connects to a footnote on the site page that this number includes a 3.5 time pass along rate which means they expect each issue to be passed on and thus attain a larger readership. This may well be true, but working backward, the actual distribution is, therefore, closer to 19,142 (67,000/3.5). A number close to this is echoed on the site (business news and information website for small business owners, entrepreneurs and others.) This site gives business owners another glimpse at readership to better decide if the costs are worth it (link follows). They state, “The magazine has an approximate audience of 22,000 readers. Published in New York, New York, this magazine is a well-known consumer publication. It is owned by Streamline Publishing, Inc. (Fine Art Connoisseur - Magazine Advertising Costs)” I mention this only as artists tend to be the subject of a good deal of arbitrary price gouging as they are often very motivated to get their efforts some exposure. Magazine ad costs may be well worth it-- but just make sure you do some research before dishing out any hard-earned money (or paying tax on a rather expensive ad that you didn’t ask for.)


National Online Juried Show

Lifting the Sky: Elevating the Works of American Women Artists

(Application dates: November 15, 2020– February 10, 2021)

Exhibition dates: May 20 – August 21, 2021


AWA is pleased to announce our 2021 National Online Juried Exhibition. AWA annually organizes a museum show as a part of our 25 in 25 Initiative; however, due to COVID restrictions, AWA has decided to host a National Online Juried Exhibition in 2021. AWA is committed to providing women artists with museum exhibition opportunities and will be offering two juried museum exhibitions in 2022.

The 2021 National Online Juried Exhibition is open to all AWA Members in good standing. This virtual exhibit will have up to 150 2-D and 3-D works in the style and theme of the artist’s choosing, including representational or non-objective/abstract works.

There Will Be A $10,000 Grand Prize Cash Award!

In addition to approximately $20,000 in cash and merchandise awards, final works selected will appear on AWA’s website gallery, be featured in our monthly e-newsletters, and promoted through AWA’s social media channels. Entry in the show will also count towards membership status. AWA is dedicated to providing professional opportunities for women in the visual arts. We invite you to join AWA as an Associate member and enter our national juried exhibitions.


Open to women at least 18 years of age, who are working in the fine arts and living in the United States or Canada. To submit works, applicants MUST BE A 2021 MEMBER of American Women Artists . If you would like to join as a new member, or renew your membership (starting November 1), please email If you do not pay for your 2021 membership by the submission deadline (February 10, 2021), your entry will be disqualified .

American Women Artists seeks to select an exhibition of fine art demonstrating excellence in terms of composition, technique, mastery of medium and quality of design. The final selection will be an exemplary showcase of a diverse group of representational and abstract artworks by artists who draw, paint, and sculpt.


  1. The 2021 National Online Juried Exhibition is open to all AWA Members in good standing
  2. Applications may be submitted from November 15, 2020 – February 10, 2021 , Midnight PST. Finalists will be announced no later than March 4, 2021.
  3. Only on-line entries will be accepted for this show. NO MAILED SUBMISSIONS ACCEPTED. Please submit all entries through starting November 15, 2020.
  4. Entries must be of original concept and design.
  5. Acceptable mediums for painting: oil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, egg tempera, pastel, color ink, and encaustic. Works must have been completed in the past 2 years and have not been shown in a prior AWA show .
  6. Acceptable mediums for drawing: conte crayon, colored pencil, graphite, charcoal, pen & ink, scratchboard, and original hand-pulled prints. Works must have been completed in the past 2 years and have not been shown in a prior AWA show .
  7. Acceptable mediums for sculpture: cast metal, fabricated metal, stone, glass, wood, and any fired permanent medium such as terra cotta, stoneware, porcelain, earthenware.
    cast metal, fabricated metal, stone, fired terra cotta, glass, wood. Works must not have been shown in a prior AWA show .
  8. Mixed medium pieces using the above-listed materials.
  9. Not acceptable mediums include craft, jewelry, photography, digital prints, textiles, fiber art, and any work containing computer generated elements of any kind .
  10. Maximum entries: six (6)
  11. Maximum of one (1) piece of artwork per accepted artist will be juried into the exhibition
  12. As this is an online show, there is no size restriction on work(s) submitted.
  13. Works do not have to be for sale , sold works may be submitted. Enter the number 0 (zero) in the price (Do not enter NFS).
  14. By submitting images to this juried opportunity, you understand and agree that accepted images will be displayed on AWA’s website, Facebook page, and other social and/or print media. Images do become part of AWA’s archives and may be used for this and future AWA promotions. Artists will retain copyright to their image(s)
  15. By entering this exhibition, you agree that you have read and will abide by all rules outlined in this prospectus
  16. All membership and jury fees are non-refundable; overpayment of any fee will be considered a donation and will not be refunded


The National Juried Exhibition application process will begin November 15, 2020 – February 10, 2021, at Midnight PST. Finalists will be announced by March 4, 2021 on AWA’s blog page. The entry form must be filled out in its entirety. List sizes up to the nearest inch (high x wide). Submitted images must not include matting or frame. Crop the photos to include only the artwork. Be sure your images are right-side-up.

Before uploading your images, make sure they are 72 dpi and a maximum size of 1920 pixels on the longest side, and no smaller than 800 pixels on the longest side. Images should be in JPEG format, sRGB color space. Each 3-D work submitted can have up to 2 alternate views uploaded. Help in photographing your work and property sizing your images can be found at: If you need help entering your images or are unable to, please email: Do not wait until the last day to ask for help!

Please add and to your safe senders list to ensure notifications are received.


$55.00 for up to THREE (3) ENTRIES. Each additional entry $10.00 up to maximum of 6 entries. Entry fees are non-refundable.

You must be a current (or new) Member of AWA to enter Juried Exhibition. 2021 Dues must be paid by February 10, 2021 or submission is disqualified.

Electronic payment for jury fees should be made through via credit card or PayPal at time of application. Membership dues can be paid separately by emailing for an invoice that can be paid directly with a credit card, PayPal, or by mailing a check to: AWA, PO Box 1611, Lodi, CA 95241.


Entries will be accepted November 15, 2020 – February 10, 2021 .


March 4, 2021


Grand Prize, Outstanding Achievement, and Magazine Award winners will be chosen from the group of finalists. Several Awards of Merit and Memorial Awards will also be selected. All award winners will garner national exposure when featured on the AWA website, through AWA’s social media channels and E-newsletter.

  • Grand prize winner will receive $10,000 cash award plus merchandise awards!
  • (4) Outstanding Achievement Awards (Still Life, Landscape, Figurative, and Sculpture) will receive merchandise/sponsor awards and $1,000 cash award
  • (8) Award of Merit winners will receive $250 cash
  • National Magazine Ad Awards valued between $1,500 to $4,250
  • Gallery Show Award: An artist from the show will be selected by the Phoenix Zoo Arts Committee to participate in an exhibit at the Savannah Gallery, Phoenix Zoo, AZ.
  • Gallery Show Award : An artist from the show will be selected by Michelle Ward, owner of Principle Gallery. Show may be at either of the Principle Gallery locations of Alexandria, VA or Charleston, SC at the discretion and choice of the owner.


Selection jurors for AWA’s National Juried Competition work independently to assess the entries for selection to finalists. Each year, a different panel of selection jurors is chosen.


Three Awards jurors will be selected.


All jury status notifications will be posted on no later than February 4, 2021. A list of accepted artists and their works will be posted on the blog page at no later than March 4, 2021. The full show will also be posted on AWA’s Exhibition web page by April 24, 2021.


Artists will sell their own work. AWA will contact each artist with information about potential buyers. Artists who sell their artwork during the show period (May 20 – August 21, 2021) agree to send AWA a 10% commission on or before September 21, 2021.


Shipping sold artwork is the artist’s responsibility.


By entering this exhibition, the artist agrees that they have read and will abide by all rules outlined in this prospectus. All membership and jury fees are non-refundable. Overpayment of any fee will be considered a donation and will not be refunded. Submission of work for this exhibit will be construed as acceptance of all conditions set forth in the prospectus.

Hope this gives you all some good insight. :smiley:

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Thank you so much for this incredibly insightful post! I found the subscription numbers very interesting on FAC-- it really gives perspective to the cost and perceived value of the ads.

AND-- on a careful re-read of the prospectus, the award I won doesn’t mention gift certificates at all. I wonder if this could be my loophole :rofl:

I truly appreciate your help and thoughtful consideration of this matter.

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