TMZ spoke with Larry Edema from Michigan -- who was selected to be in the audience on Monday for Oprah's big giveaway -- and dude tells us Winfrey had a certified public accountant on hand to address the tax issue right after the taping.
Edema says the CPA informed the group that all taxes associated with the trip would be "handled by the Oprah show," so the trip would truly be 100% free.
The CPA also explained that O would cover all sightseeing costs and travel-related expenses -- including passport costs for people who can't afford them.
It's a big change from Oprah's 2004 controversy -- when she famously gave away brand new cars, but saddled audience members with as much as $7,000 in gift taxes.
Not pictured above -- Oprah's halo.