US Senator Marco Rubio proposes bill to eliminate taxes on Olympic medal winners

Many people are unaware of it, but Olympic medal winners actually receive prize money in addition to their all-important piece of hardware. Winning a gold medal at the Olympics likely means you are going to cash in on endorsements at some point in the near future, but it also means taking home a cash prize of $25,000. Silver medal winners take home $15,000 and the prize is $10,000 for bronze. Well, we shouldn’t say “take home.” After all, this is the United States.

US Olympic medal winners have to pay taxes like the rest of us. According to the Weekly Standard, the tax bill after winning a gold is $8,986, silver is $5,385 and bronze is $3,500. US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) proposed a bill on Wednesday called The Olympic Tax Elimination Act that aims to change that.

“Our tax code is a complicated and burdensome mess that too often punishes success, and the tax imposed on Olympic medal winners is a classic example of this madness,” said Rubio.  “Athletes representing our nation overseas in the Olympics shouldn’t have to worry about an extra tax bill waiting for them back home.

“We need a fundamental overhaul of our tax code, but we shouldn’t wait any time we have a chance to aggressively fix ridiculous tax laws like this tax on Olympians’ medals and prize money. We can all agree that these Olympians who dedicate their lives to athletic excellence should not be punished when they achieve it.”

If the bill is passed, US athletes who win medals after December 31, 2011 would not be taxed. While young stars like Missy Franklin who have tremendous personalities and are only 17 years old are going to make plenty of money during their Olympic careers, a tax on a medal won in London does feel like stealing money. It’s bad enough that the IOC makes rules like these telling athletes how they can market themselves during the Games.

H/T Fourth Place Medal
Photo Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

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  • Mike Ingle

    That is what is wrong with congress today, they have their priorities in the wrong place. If you want to give someone a tax break, how about the Soldiers serving in the U.S. military? How about the middle class? I don’t have a problem with giving the Olympians a tax break because many of the lesser known athletes are struggling to get by so that they can compete. The big name athletes are getting rich from endorsements. The article states “We can all agree that these Olympians who dedicate their lives to athletic excellence should not be punished when they achieve it.” The U.S. Soldier are on call 24-7 and could deploy at a moments notice, don’t you think they deserve some sort of a tax break? Yes Soldiers get a break during a deployment, but get hit hard once they come back. Less than 1% of the U.S. population serves in the military protecting the other 99% freeedom, but all Congress wants to do is argue about whether they should be sending troops to another country. Mr. Rubio (and Congress) if you want to do something that makes sense, take a pay cut like the rest of the Americans. Spend some time collecting unemployment benefits, not paying certain bills, worry about your house being paid for, food on the table, oh I forgot most of Congress are millionaires so things like this don’t faze them. It seems like someone in congress is always coming up with crazy ideas especially when it is close to election time. I could go on and on, but I’ve been on my soapbox long enough.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PCYUZ6XSFAEZGKJUT5WIPRDFYM Elron McKenzie

    I agree with Mr. Ingle. In addition, how about older Americans scraping by on Social Security? That’s right: you have to pay income taxes on the Social Security benefits you receive when you retire, even though you paid some portion of those benefits as taxes over the course of your career.