DEFINITION of 'Cash Awards'
An award given to an employee or contestant in the form of cash. Cash awards can either be the only award option or taken in lieu of a tangible item.
BREAKING DOWN 'Cash Awards'
Regardless of whether they are given to an employee as a reward for merit or to the winner of a contest, cash awards are always fully taxable as income.
Richard Hatch, the first winner of the game show Survivor, found this out the hard way, when he didn't claim his million dollar winnings on his tax return.