Mastering the Tax Ramifications of Conquering ‘Squid Game: The Ultimate Challenge’


The Tax Implications of Winning ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’

‘Squid Game: The Challenge,’ the hit reality competition series on Netflix, has taken the world by storm and captivated audiences with its intense challenges and life-changing cash prize. As the first-ever winner, Mai Whelan not only secured her place in the show’s history but also walked away with the largest single cash prize in reality television and game show history – a staggering $4.56 million.

Understanding Prize Taxation

While the show was filmed in the UK, where prize money is exempt from taxes, the taxation implications for the winner can vary depending on their home country. For international winners, such as those from the United States, they may be subject to taxes imposed by their home nation in addition to any local UK tax regulations.

Tax Obligations for International Winners

For instance, if a US citizen wins a significant cash prize on the show, they would be required to report and pay taxes on their global income, including the winnings from ‘Squid Game: The Challenge.’ This means that despite the UK’s tax exemption, an American victor would still need to fulfill their tax obligations to the IRS.

Taxation on Prize Earnings

Under US tax laws, cash prizes earned through game shows and reality TV competitions are classified as income and must be reported on the winner’s tax return. The tax rate applied to these earnings is dependent on the recipient’s total income and can range from a minimum of 10% to a maximum of 37%, especially for substantial jackpot amounts like the $4.56 million prize from ‘Squid Game: The Challenge.’

Payment Considerations for Winners

Despite the substantial prize sum, winners may not receive their earnings immediately. In Mai Whelan’s case, the first winner of ‘Squid Game: The Challenge,’ she shared that she hadn’t received her payment from Netflix by December 2023, nearly a month after the show concluded filming. It’s essential to understand the payment timeline and any potential delays in receiving the prize money.


As ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ continues to captivate audiences, it’s important for potential winners to be aware of the tax implications associated with their cash prize. Depending on their home country, international winners may need to navigate complex tax regulations to fulfill their obligations. By understanding the taxation process and seeking professional financial advice, winners can effectively manage and plan for their prize earnings.


Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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