Microsoft: Tax bills for Windows 8 gift tablets just a mistake

If you're among those who received a free Samsung Windows 8 tablet from Microsoft at Build and have erroneously gotten a tax bill for it, Microsoft plans to make good on it.

Some attendees of Microsoft's Build conference who received free Windows 8 developer tablets have been receiving an unwelcome surprise: 1099 forms indicating that they'll have to pay taxes on their 'gifts.'

Paying attendees of the Build conference in September received free customized Samsung tablets running the developer preview version of Windows 8. There were no indications at that time that those accepting the gifts would be required to pay taxes on them.

But according to a number of posts in an MSDN Forum on the developer preview, that's what has started happening, as of this week.

"I just got a 1099 from Microsoft that shows I earned $1250.00 in income and no withholding. I was assured repeatedly at the conference that Microsoft was paying the taxes on this. I just spoke to a CPA and they think I owe the taxes," said one poster.

Said another: "I was around 15th in line (for the tablet at Build) and was also told by the people handing out tax forms that Microsoft would be paying all taxes for the Tablets. Got my tax form and nothing was withheld. "

Microsoft officials told me on February 2 that there has been a mistake and one the company plans to right immediately.

"Microsoft’s intent is to cover the taxes for these tablets, and we’re looking into why some participants are getting these notifications," said a spokesperson today when I asked.

It sounds like this is more of a paperwork snafu than a bait-and-switch from what I can tell. Once Microsoft has an alias for those who've erroneously gotten 1099s, I'll update this post with it.

Update (February 3): From the aforementioned Microsoft spokesperson: "Those who have been impacted by this should email and in the subject line indicate 'Tax Related Inquiry.'"

Update No. 2: I am hearing this email address isn't working. Checking with Microsoft on it. Hold off on sending for a bit.