Tacoma woman wins biggest 'Price is Right' prize but faces huge tax bill

Santa was especially good to a Tacoma woman, who just became the biggest winner in the history of The Price is Right television show. But the tax man will be taking a big chunk of her prize.

Sheree Heil was already pretty excited to just to make it onstage, beating out a handful of other contestants with the winning bid on a $2,300 collection of Prada shoes.

"My whole family loves the Price is Right and it's been a dream of mine to go to that show. I just acted a little bit crazy and the next thing you know they call my name," she said in an interview Monday. "I didn't care if I won or lost. I just wanted to spin the big wheel."

She could never have imagined the prize she'd be playing for: an Audi R8 sports car she didn't know was worth $157,000.

"My adrenaline was flowing so high. I was pretty much oblivious. It was like a fog," she said.

It was a nailbiter as Sheree had to pick from a number of price tags without going over the total price. Tension mounted as host Drew Carey told her she could walk away with first $4,000 then $8,000, or risk the money and go for the car with her last pick.

"I wanted to stop after the $4,000. That's just a lot of money," she admitted. But when she looked out into the audience, her son implored her to keep going.

She rolled the dice, and went crazy when Carey revealed she won the most expensive prize the show has ever given away.

There's just one caveat: Sheree will have to pay sales and income taxes on her new ride. And that bill alone is pretty daunting. "I just got a letter from CBS today telling me the California taxes alone are nearly $12,000."

A Jalopnik reader estimates the federal bill will be around $34,453.25. And she'll have to cough up an additional $14,915.00 sales tax to Washington state for a grand total of over $61,000.

"I have a brother-in-law who's a tax guy, so I'll let him figure it all out," she laughed.

The biggest challenge for Sheree has been keeping her mouth shut. She taped the episode back on Dec. 9th and was sworn to secrecy until it aired Monday.

"It's been terrible for me because I love to gab."

Now she's got plenty to talk about, and can't wait to go to work and see her friends.

"They basically shut down the operating room to watch the show," she said. "This was a dream come true that turned into the thrill of a lifetime for me."

So will the humble nurse at Allenmore Hospital be cruising around town in a $157,000 ride? She says she hasn't given it much thought since the car is still on order. But don't be surprised to see a brand new Audio R8 for sale on Tacoma Craigslist in the not-too-distant future.


Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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