Part of a series of emails to our exhibitors in an effort to provide helpful information about their interaction with the show office and other staff at the show. If you have a particular question you would like addressed, please feel free to make a suggestion. Please note that every effort is made to ensure that all rule citations are current and correct as of the publishing date, however, USEF and other organizations continuously make rule changes throughout the year and with each new year.
August 2010 Newsletter
Should you share so many numbers?
In today's world where identity theft is a real threat to everyone, horse shows have to ask you for an amazing amount of personal information. We want you to know why we ask for it, how we use it, and what we do to protect the information from unauthorized use.
As we described in the July 2010 article, USEF rules require the entry blank to include a place for your age which is translated into your birthdate when you join the USEF. Most horse show software will import your birthdate when it does an USEF membership verification so that the show database can accurately and on an ongoing basis track your age. Age becomes a factor in division splits (e.g., Junior, Amateur-Owner), in qualifying criteria (e.g., USEF Talent Search EQ112.13, small pony rider HU110.1) and membership rights (e.g., Junior or Senior GR201/Bylaw 202) Unfortunately since USEF is on a fiscal year (December 1 through November 30) tracking just your birth year would be insufficient.
Congratulations on your winnings - and Uncle Sam wants to know about it.
If you earn prize money at a competition, the horse show is required to collect a valid taxpayer identification number (TIN) (which for an individual is a social security number) associated with a correct taxpayer name. IRS regulations requires that show management issue a 1099-misc to any entity which receives $600 or more in prize money. The informational return is due to the recipient by January 31 of the following year. (This is another reason to be sure the horse show has your correct address; the IRS gets their copy of the 1099 even if you never receive yours. Wouldn't you like to know what the IRS knows about your winnings?) If the taxpayer fails to provide a valid TIN, your prize money is subject to backup withholdings. All prize money is taxable income and is to be reported by the recipient pursuant to IRS regulations but only prize money of $600 or more creates an obligation on the part of the payer (the horse show) to issue a 1099-misc. 2009 IRS Publication 525, pg. 34; IRS A Guide To Information Returns (3-6-09). Please consult your own tax advisor on reporting and treatment of prize money won at a horse show.
Horse shows do not want to get involved in withholding taxes from your prize money. Generally, a horse show must pay prize money to exhibitors within 30 days of the last day of the competition. GR1210.6. However, in 2008 the USEF modified GR1210.6 to allow competitions to hold prize money unless the competitor provides valid TIN information. The rule makes it the competitor's sole responsibility to provide the TIN information, including who the payee should be. RMI's software alerts staff when a horse wins prize money and there is no payee of record; the TIN information should be resolved immediately at the show. If information needs to be provided subsequent to the show, it is secure to fax or leave a voice mail at our office, but DO NOT send a complete social security number via email. Email (as distinct from our online software) is NOT secure.
At RMI, our policy is to credit the prize money to your showing account. The $600 trigger for 1099-misc is cumulative for the calendar year based on the entity which paid the prize money. For example, RMI administers the office for NMHJA horse shows, but only the total prize money won at NMHJA shows will be accumulated to determine if a 1099-misc will be issued by NMHJA. However, if a payee participates at an RMI show in Florida, Tennessee and Georgia, the winnings from the combined shows will be totaled to determine if a 1099-misc will be sent. Each horse has a designated payee; it may or may not be the owner of the horse. For example, we commonly are asked to record a parent as the payee rather than the junior exhibitor/owner. If there are winnings which accumulate above the $600 and no TIN was given by the owner, the prize money will be attributed to the trainer or rider of the horse.
Not just HOTY points for our exhibitors-
Many of our exhibitors like to use the Paypal option available on our website. Using Paypal gives you the widest range of payment options as Paypal can debit a bank account, take American Express, Discover, Visa and Mastercard or apply balances from your personal Paypal account. You do NOT need to have a Paypal account to pay RMI. There is a surcharge of $5/150 Paypal payment. Using Paypal we do not have any of your account information; but you cannot use this option to close a horse show account unless you have an open check on file with your account.
RMI began accepting Visa/Mastercard in 2009. We recognize that this is a great convenience to our customers though a significant expense to the competition. To correctly process a credit card we need the following information: cardholder name, billing address (street & zip), cardholder telephone number. If you fail to give a correct billing address, an additional $20.00 will be added to your account. You can provide your credit card information on your entry blank, on the form provided by the show staff, via fax or telephone. DO NOT send credit card information via email. We do keep your credit card information on file but ask that you complete a new form at each show when possible to ensure we have the most current information.
Belt and Suspenders - always a good idea
So now that we have all this information, how do we keep it safe? All electronic records that are transmitted over the Internet are encrypted, this includes birthdates, TINs and credit card information. Our credit card software meets heightened industry standards for security and are regularly tested to ensure we have a secure link. All paper documents that have Social Security numbers or credit card numbers are held in a secure location or shredded before put in the trash. In other words, we understand the trust you have to place with us to transact business at a horse show and we do not take this responsibility lightly.
Many of our exhibitors give their trainers all this information so that entries and accounts can be handled for them. This makes it very convenient for the exhibitor and the trainer. But be sure your trainer understands the sensitivity of the information and protects the information accordingly.
Lastly, USEF sponsors LifeLock. Lifelock is the leader in identity theft protection. As a LifeLock member, if you become a victim of identity theft because of a failure in LifeLock's service, LifeLock will help you fix it at their expense, up to $1,000,000. (Restrictions apply. See lifelock.com for details) Call 1-800 LIFELOCK (543-3562) or visit www.lifelock.com and use promo code USEF to save 10% off your LifeLock Membership.
You are more than a number at RMI
John, Pam and RMI staff try to know each exhibitor by name. But we do have to have your numbers, all of them. We try our best to take care of the numbers while we give you the best of care. Let us know if you have questions or concerns, about anything, not just the numbers.