Question about the “Round 1 of Unity’s Obstacle Tower Challenge” email

#1

Hi community,

I’ve received an email with the title “Round 1 of Unity’s Obstacle Tower Challenge”

It says my team has been selected as “potential” winner of Round 1, does this means my team is eligible for Round2? or just a reminder that I need to provide some documents in order to make the evaluation happened?
(I’m a little confused because the scheduled announcement date is May 15th)

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#2

They may send this message to each person who pass level 5,so there are more than 50 entries,doing this give people rank out of 50 a chance,if anyone in top50 list can’t submit needed document in time,others can get in.
This is my personal opinion, no guarantee of correctness.

My question is How we submit these forms.From email?Sign signature with wacom tablet?First time play with w-8ben,what’s the tax rate?Do I need pay first?

Also, hi Taiwan friend, I’m from mainland.

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#3

Hi @steven,

This is a message from our official contractor handling the contestant verification for distributing prizes. The message means that pending verification, you are selected to pass Round 1, and move on to Round 2.

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#4

Hi @arthurj,

I have a few questions regarding the email from your official contractor handling the contestant verification for distributing prizes.

(1) Do we have to pay a tax from the prize $1100-GCP-Credit?
(1b) If so, is it possible to reject the prize? Some participants may find that it’s not worth it to pay a cash tax for the non-cash prize.
(2) If we do not have to pay a tax from the prize $1100-GCP-Credit, why do we have to submit the Tax Form? It seems to be an unnecessary collection of private data then.
(2b) For the cash prize the Tax Form seems to be totally reasonable, but it will be necessary only at the end of Round 2 and only for 3 teams out of 50.
(3) Can we proceed to Round 2 without submitting the Tax Form?
(4) What is the necessity of “A scanned copy of a government-issued ID containing, …, date of birth and the address of your current place of residence”?. Wouldn’t it be enough, for example, just an official student ID containing “evidence of your name” and country/city of residence?
(4b) Does each team member have to submit an ID, or only a team lead?
(5) Could you please postpone the prize Claim Deadline (May 6, 2019) for a few days, as the 2 working days is a quite a short notice. It would also be helpful to have some official comments for the questions (1), (2), (3), (4) first.

Thank you in advance!
P.S.: thanks for organizing this outstanding contest! We like it a lot!

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#5

I second the post by @ipv6 , especially the parts (1,3) and (4):

(1,3) GCP credit might be tax-able in our country, so indeed it’d be nice to move to Round 2 without the GCP credits (and without the tax form).
(4) We in our do not have address in our standard IDs, although with more time we might be able to get such IDs.

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#6

@ipv6 Please understand that tax is quite complicated (especially international taxes).
The tax forms (fw8ben) is required for them to release your prize to you, and this form has very little to do with your national tax. Understanding this may clear up many questions you’ve raised. That said, you will need to consult with a tax practitioner from your country to understand whether tax needs to be paid on the prize or not. As an example, here in South Africa, if we are granted a prize that is in relation to our field of work, SARS (the equivalent of IRS in South Africa) expect us to declare the value of the prize as part of our income tax. So if you work in the field of machine learning research, it is likely that you have to declare this within South Africa. On the other hand, if you generally don’t do this kind of work, it would not be considered income tax. (I am guessing the reasons for this is to tax sportsmen where their income usually consists of competition money. It’s quite unfortunate.)

1 + 2 have been answered above.

3.) Will have to await a competition official’s response ( @arthurj )
4.) I’m also keen to know about this, our identity documents are never tightly coupled to our domicilium
4.b) The email is directed at your team leader only
5.) I’ve submitted my documents on Friday - perhaps too late for a response before the weekend. And I’ve not yet received any response yet today. I’d say this warrants more time to be granted under reasonable circumstances.

Again, I’m not an official, just a competitor looking for fair competition procedures to be followed.

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#7

Just for clarity - and I stand to be corrected-, the FW8BEN form to be completed is only dealing with international tax, which I’ve read to be at 30% by default. Hence, we only receive 70% of the prize if the default FW8BEN is applied (look at section 9 and 10 of the form). And so if you have a default FW8BEN configuration, you can be taxed within your own country on only 70% of the prize value (as that’s what you will officially receive). (please do correct me if I’m incorrect)

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#8

@Miffyli I agree it may make sense that one is able to “reject” their round 1 prize. I however also see that it makes sense that all the required forms are still submitted for eligibility checking purposes - as in to make sure that you are eligible to receive a any prizes in the first place.

On the other hand, I’m of the view that not being eligible for a prize due to tax prohibitions should not subject the competitor to not being allowed to compete in following rounds, that seems a bit senseless (as if tax hadn’t disabled/disadvantaged anyone enough). I’d strongly agree with the idea of round 2 eligibility only be based on the competitive ability of the competitor, and if for any other reason beyond their competitive ability they could not receive the prize, it would be forfeited and handed down to the next leading competitor. Nothing wrong with that ?

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#9

@TruthMaker

Tax stuff: Ah yes, sounds reasonable. Would be bit of a mess if one of the Round 2 top3 would not be able to get the prize (assuming they want it).

On 4b): All of our team members received the email asking for ID and signature on the rules, and team lead got email with different greeting (“Dear Team Leader…”). I imagine they need everyone to sign the rules.

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#10

Ah, interesting. I’m a team of 1, and have only seen 1 other email like that of the leader.

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#11

@arthurj I second @ipv6 question #3/4. I assume that the identification and tax forms are not required to participate in round 2 but only to claim the prize?

$1100GCP credits is not worth the hassle or risk to send sensitive identification via e-mail to parties that I will not be otherwise engaged with. But I would like to continue to round 2.

It should be noted that I have received GCP from Google (Kaggle) and other aicrowd challenges in the past without these requirements.

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#12

Hello @ipv6,

Apologies for the delay in responding, I was consulting our legal counsel at Unity, and traveling. Here are the answers to your questions:

  1. This will be dependent on your country of residence.
    1b. It is definitely possible to not accept the prize.
  2. The tax form is specific to the disbursement of the prize.
    2b. The GCP credits have a monetary value, and as such are taxable in many countries.
  3. You will be able to proceed to Round 2 without accepting the prize for Round 1.
  4. This is required to verify the country of residence for the participants, to ensure that rules for contests are being upheld in the country of residence. I am not sure whether a student ID will suffice. I would recommend asking the National Sweeps account which emailed you about verification.
    4b. All team members will need to provide this information, if the team would like to accept the prize.
  5. Unfortunately I don’t believe we can postpone this date, as there has to be a verification process before the start of Round 2.

Once again, I apologize for the issues some have had with the verification process for Round 1. We really appreciate all the effort and ingenuity all the passing teams put into their submissions, and want to do our best to support all of you through the next round as well.

best,
Arthur

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#13

@arthurj So you confirm that if we only want access to the second phase (assuming we are eligible) but not the GCP credits, we do not have to fill and send back the forms asked by National Sweeps?

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#14

@mikael.capelle That is correct. Please let them know that you would like to decline the prize.

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#15

Hello @arthurj,

Thank you for your response. I have a few more questions:

(1) Could you please ask your official contractor to help us with the information about the tax situation regarding the 1100-GCP prize for the list of countries of the participants? I suppose a professional can handle this in a single working day for a given list of countries (~10?). If each team will search for that on its own, it may take about a month of work altogether (~3 hours x 50 teams).

(2) Many university classes / online courses spread $50-500 GCP (or similar) among students for homework assignments. Do these students also have to pay the relevant tax? If not, then why?
(2b) The same question is about other online competitions (crowdAI, Kaggle, etc.).

(3) Let’s assume that tax is 30% (from 1100 GCP) and there are 3 people in a team. Who should pay $330 cash tax? Only the team leader? Or $110 each team member?

(4) Will 1100 GCP expire right after Round 2?
(4b) If 1100 GCP expires while not being used, do I still have to pay tax?

Thank you in advance!

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#16

Tax Tip: Deplete the $1100 within Round 2, then it wont be taxable - as an expense in toward generating income.

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#17

@arthurj We got an email from National Sweeps:
…the Team Leader would need to accept the prize of the GCP credits in order to move on to Round 2. Please confirm by 5:00pm PT on May 11, 2019 if you would like to accept the prize.

Could you please update National Sweeps that we do not need to accept the prize of the GCP credits in order to move on to Round 2?

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#18

Hi all,

I am sorry to say that after further discussion with out legal counsel, it will not be possible to advance to Round 2 unless the prize for Round 1 is accepted. The reply from National Sweeps reflects the most current state of things. I apologize for providing incorrect information earlier. This is not ideal, and I hope it does not too greatly discourage participants from being able to advance to Round 2.

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#19

Seriously? Wow, that’s really really lame. Why would accepting a prize and filling out tax forms have anything to do with moving on to participate in Round 2 of the technical challenge? Why would a 3rd party company have any say in that if no money or equivalent is exchanging hands.

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#20

@arthurj Simply put, you are forcing students to pay $200-300 cash tax in order to proceed to Round 2.

If the “prize” is really unavoidable, we hope you can at least think up a bit more friendly and equal-opportunity solution with your legal counsel, e.g.: decrease (by request) the GCP “Prize” from $1100 to $1.

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