In light of some news I received today, I think it is high time that I share some things with you that I have been wanting to for a while now.

I love sweepstakes.  Most bloggers, I think, do.  That is where I receive a product, take the time to truly test it out, and spend at least an hour to two hours working on a well thought out, honest review to post permanently to my site and then, per the company, give you an opportunity to win a like product offered and provided by the company.  I spend countless hours promoting the sweepstakes, answering questions, choosing a winner, posting who won, tracking down that winner, choosing another if necessary, sending the info to the company and then waiting to see if a winner actually received their product.  If they don’t, a whole other administrative nightmare starts and consumes even more of my time.

It is incredibly time consuming work and takes the bulk of my blog time.

But I do it for two reasons.  1) I love getting products that I would not normally have thought to look for in the marketplace and 2) there is nothing I love more than an appreciative winner!  It makes me feel good to send the “You Won at” emails!

But a new reality has hit me square in my pocketbook and, frankly, it costs me more to run a giveaway in the long run than the time I spend on them is worth.


Because what I am doing with companies is, by law, called bartering.  And bartering, in tax terms, means that the products I am getting – even though I am providing permanent, invaluable advertising – are all subject to self employment and income tax.  To the tune of 40% of the fair market value of the product.

Absorb that number for just a moment and you will know where this is going.  That means that if I receive a product that sells on the shelves for $100, I – someone who was not monetarily compensated for the product – have to pay $40 to Uncle Sam.  Now imagine that I am running 2 to 3 a week for a year.  I have to pay 40% in tax on all of them.

Granted, I get the products so I should not be complaining.  But, when you have no money and the little money you are making on a blog has to go to paying taxes on tangible items you receive and trade your time and reputation for, it is beyond overwhelming.  And a defeating purpose for me.

So, I have a few options.  I can charge companies 40% of the value of the product they want reviewed and sock that away for tax time {99.9% of companies will not do this} or I can turn down product reviews and sweepstakes all together to avoid using the tiny amount I do make to pay the government.

The later is, of course, my only real option.  I will still be participating in group giveaways as I pay to participate in those.

And a note to bloggers:  Giveaways and sweepstakes afford us an audience that we would not otherwise be able to find, and I understand that.  However, we are offering an invaluable – likely – permanent platform that is benefiting the company long after the giveaway part is over.  In addition, I watch as we all scramble for products to offer our readers.  And yet none of us are asking for compensation on top of the product. Some of which are perishable and offer no value to our home once they are gone.  But we still have to pay taxes on them!

If we banned together and required that companies that want to use our social media connections to push their names pay us the taxes that will be due on the products, we might be able to make a difference.  We should not have to pay for the work we do.  Essentially, by doing these reviews for free, we are paying to provide opinions and advertising.  And only in blogger world does that seem to be acceptable.

I still have a chain of really great products coming in that I can not wait to share with you.  And there will be some things along the way that I would pay for anyway that I will happily accept.  But since any profits I am making on this blog are being paid straight to the government and are not benefiting me in any way, you will see a dramatic decrease in them featured on this blog.

I hope that you have found other things on this blog to keep your attention and that you see as valuable to you.   Because I value each and every one of you!

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