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OK, Bob, since none of the pros has taken this one on, I'll give it a go. You and I both know that this opinion is completely worthless, and that I accept no responsibility for it whatsoever.

I looked at Pub. 525 under "Prizes and Awards" which says specifically that money won in a TV or radio quiz show, or a beauty contest (I have to cover all bases) is miscellaneous income. Next, Pub. 17, Ch. 13, says right at the top that expenses incurred in a not-for-profit enterprise are deductible, but only to the extent of income and then only if you are already itemizing on Sch. A. Finally, Pub. 535 has a bit more to say.

So here's what I think. I think your expenses are deductible up to the extent of your winnings. I think your reimbursed expenses (such as a plane ticket or hotel bill they pick up) are neither income nor deductible, since it's a wash. I think if you don't get on the show, your expenses are not deductible.
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