Should U.S. Olympians Have to Pay Taxes on Their Medals and Prize Winnings? (As of Now, They Do)

Sports 2012/08/05 22:36:18
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Last week, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a bill that would exempt U.S. Olympic medal winners from paying federal taxes on their medals and prize money. "Athletes representing our nation overseas in the Olympics shouldn't have to worry about an extra tax bill waiting for them back at home," he said in a statement.

Under the current policy, Americans winning in London will add the value of their medals (around $650 for gold, $330 for silver, and $5 for bronze) and their prize winnings ($25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze) to their taxable income. At a 35% income tax rate, medal winners will end up owing the IRS around $8,750 for a gold, $5,250 for a silver, and $3,500 for a bronze.

Romney and a number of Congressional lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have jumped to support the measure. They, and many others, are appalled that these athletes who represent the United States are being penalized for their successes. However, others argue that Olympic medalists do not merit preferential treatment.

“The fact is that prize money from athletic victories is income, and there is no good reason for the government to treat that income differently than the income of all the non-Olympic athletes who earn analogous types of income,” wrote Conor Friedersdorf for The Atlantic. “Why should Olympic athletes be exempted from paying taxes on their prize money, but not professional golfers, or poker players, or winners of literary prizes, or folks who win the lottery?”

What do you think SodaHeads? Should U.S. Olympians have to pay taxes on their medals and prize winnings?

Read More: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/0...

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Top Opinion

  • Robshock 2012/08/05 22:43:24
    They are going to be paying HEAVILY on money they get from endorsements. Why charge them for the medals and the honorarium?

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  • strawberry debrara... 2012/08/07 05:52:28
    I agree with you. You would think U.S. Govt. would help pay for some American Olympian expenses as some other countries do. Russia always did. it is disgraceful for U.S. Govt. to tax Olympian medals.
  • debrara... strawberry 2012/08/07 05:56:41
    debrarae POTL _ PWCM
    I have to say it. The Administration is treating the Athletes, the same it they treat the military.
  • michael debrara... 2012/08/15 19:40:12
    So the athletes are being sent to war to fight a person because Bush didnt want to listen to his top aids about the fact that there was no way Irac could have had the materials reported.
  • debrara... michael 2012/08/15 22:39:01 (edited)
    debrarae POTL _ PWCM
    I said that the Administration is treating the Athletes the same way it treats the military. BTW 'dearie' OBAMA is in OFFICE now ... not BUSH. YOUR LIBSCUM AGENDA is EXPOSED YOU LOSER!

    YOU are sure one DESPERATE JERK (YOU LYING LIBS) to say I said things I NEVER SAID or IMPLIED.


    The Jerk store called they re running out of you
  • michael debrara... 2012/08/15 19:37:37
    Only if he had accepted the "bonus checks" if he didnt he dosent owe any money.
  • debrara... michael 2012/08/15 22:42:46
    debrarae POTL _ PWCM

    OR is it, that YOU are JEALOUS of the ATHLETES because UNLIKE YOU (LOSER) they are doing something with THEIR LIVES (even AFTER the OLYMPICS are OVER)?

    The Jerk store called they re running out of you
  • Haruko.Haruhara 2012/08/07 03:39:36 (edited)
  • strawberry Haruko.... 2012/08/07 05:55:04
    U.S. Govt. tax far too much. Americans should not even have to pay a sales tax on every purchase they buy. Americans purchase items with their salaries which they already pay taxes to the government.
  • Haruko.... strawberry 2012/08/09 04:44:00
  • ttfndude 2012/08/07 03:17:07
    never, this is something many of us true americans watch rooting for the people of our country we should not penalize them for doing something for us...they already have to go into relative financial distress just to get there
  • Charlie 2012/08/07 00:30:20
    Every American has to pay the same tax. If you win a sweepstakes for a car, cash, lotto, or any other monetary gain, you will pay the tax. You want to remove the tax, remove it for everyone.
  • libaretardstoo 2012/08/06 22:47:40
    President Barack Obama said, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” He is correct thus the business man/woman pays taxes to the state and all should be well but it's not.

    "The State", in the case of the United States has long spent more money than it had. If this were not bad enough the BHO regime blew campaign smoke up everyone's backside & upon being "elected" ran up more debt than the country has in totality prior to this Administration.

    Given the impossibly high levels of debt owed by the USA & to whom it's owed our governing Regime is desperate for any type of scheme to appear as though it's making efforts to shore up out of control spending, spending leaks, security leaks, etc. nevertheless are absurd. Either the BHO Administration is a ship of fools, more likely pseudo-Communists thus seeking to get rid of business owners, land owners and otherwise wealthy people.

    So in the same sense that BHO seeks 100% taxation of John Q Public's assets & thus total control of every part of our lives it only seems natural that the State would feel just in doing same to otherwise gifted athletes.

    How absurd, how likely
  • Georgia50 2012/08/06 22:22:32
    The tax applies to "all income from whatever source derived." Nothing is easier to convert than cash or gold. So make it taxable.

    Then provide an exemption for the athlete that enables them to:
    1. amortize the cash winnings over the period of time they spent training; and
    2. defer tax on precious metal prizes for the natural life of the athlete.

    So, you spend 16 years training and win $16k, your tax basis is $1k per year for the next 16 years. If you earn a medal made from a marketable metal, the value of that medal at its historic value becomes taxable to your heir. Should the athlete convert the medal into any other commodity, or cash, for any reason, it becomes taxable at its current market value as of the date of conversion.

    Done, done, and done.
  • abubinc... Georgia50 2012/08/07 04:50:05
    I raved you before I read your comment, because we're friends.
    Sorry, but I disagree.
    They should pay taxes on their ensuing endorsements.
    It's ridiculous that an Olympic athlete should be punished for earning a medal for their country.
  • Georgia50 abubinc... 2012/08/07 21:17:46
    Technically, the medal is tax-free to the athlete under my scheme. But my position is based on too much thinking. My gut is on your side.
  • Russian 2012/08/06 22:17:05
  • barbamatt 2012/08/06 22:07:00
    When I was in the military I paid taxes. If our troops pay taxes, so should our athletes.
  • libaret... barbamatt 2012/08/07 01:26:49
  • wpsark 2012/08/06 21:53:22
    not on the medals, wtf???
  • michael wpsark 2012/08/15 19:43:26
    Its not on the medals, its on the bonus check if they accept it. I hope you pay more attention when voting.
  • wpsark michael 2012/08/15 21:32:05 (edited)
    I hope you re-read the title of this post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and the ending question!!! That's what I was answering...You should pay more attention before you try to be some kind of wise ass!!!!!!!!!!
  • akhippie 2012/08/06 21:44:08
    I am very proud of our Olympic atheletes, and admire the hard work these people go thru, but they are pretty pampered and get a lot of perks and benefits that the rest of us don't enjoy, free housing, free travel, free acsess to a gym and personal trainers. I would however be OK with them exempting the actual value of the material in the metal and not having to pay the melt value of the mineral. I mean there sentimental value are much higher, do you think Michael Phelps will be selling any of his 18 Gold Medals? That all said "Go Team USA".
  • mal 2012/08/06 21:43:52
    The I.R.S, the Feds taxation grabber is essentially being run by thieves,A.K.A the big banks who have no-problem stealing from the American People.
  • conservyT 2012/08/06 21:30:51
    I wonder if Nobel Prize winners pay taxes and if so how much did dumb-dumb pay?

    you big dummy obama
  • wgossett99 2012/08/06 21:20:21
    Yes to paying taxes on earnings. Everyone else has to.

    But no on the medals themselves. Those are trophys, not currency.
  • Gregaj7 2012/08/06 21:16:42
  • BILL 2012/08/06 21:11:36
    HELL NO,
  • ScreaminMime 2012/08/06 21:05:36
    Pay taxes like everyone else, sure, we have bills to pay in our search for little green men on Mars.
    At a 37% rate?
    HELL NO!
    Tax EVERYONE at 10% regardless of income no deductions!
  • Joe61 2012/08/06 20:54:48
    Do those medals actually have a monetory value.....I would doubt it very much as they are not monetory gold medals, they are gold in name only and I do not think they get paid for appearing at the OYLIMPICS as they are not supposed to be APPEARING AS PROFESSIONALS. They are supposed to be amatures! But then wh am I to say they don't.
  • Jessica Conners 2012/08/06 20:54:35
    Jessica Conners
    If they are taxed they should be allowed to write off personal and professional expenses for related to their training. This should include parents and significant others. The problem has been known for decades and not changed, don't hold one's breath.
  • MOMMA THOMAS 2012/08/06 20:51:39
  • Christopher Kirchen 2012/08/06 20:46:52
    Christopher Kirchen
    Don't know why not; everyone else who wins a prize pays taxes on it.
  • Gohmert Pyle 2012/08/06 20:44:23
    Gohmert Pyle
    The money never belongs to the earner. The earner not only works for his company, but also the government. You signed onto the contract just by being born.
  • Common Sense Conservative 2012/08/06 20:40:37 (edited)
  • ViRGiNiA_97 2012/08/06 20:28:29
    Just another way for the Government to get their hands on even more money. The medals are prizes that they have earned and won, not something that they have bought.
  • V~POTL~PWCM~JLA 2012/08/06 20:11:43
    If Olympic winnings are taxable, all related expenses should be deductible. And not just for winners! At that point, the government should allow tax deductions to anyone who spent their own money TRYING to get into the Olympics -- every private coach, every swimming lesson, every special swimsuit. Everyone who starts training with Olympic dreams (even if they fail to make the team) would have lots of deductible "Olympic" costs.

    The common sense solution is let everyone keep their medals and Olympic winnings tax-free, allowing everyone to spend whatever they choose to spend on non-deductible training expenses. I doubt any of the winners are recovering their training costs, much less any real "income".

    The big money is endorsement contracts, which are taxed as ordinary income. No problem there.
  • Jenny 2012/08/06 20:09:08
    They earned that medal.
  • Sue Bryant Jenny 2012/08/06 20:18:38
    Sue Bryant
    I go to work every day, work really hard, and earn my paycheck. By that logic, why should I be taxed?
  • Jenny Sue Bryant 2012/08/07 03:39:42
    Well, you do get discounted at your work for whatever it is, right?
  • lolitalovely 2012/08/06 20:03:40
    Definitely no to the metals. I don't really know about the winnings. It is income and should have an income tax. The medals are gifts though. Hearing the prize money amounts, though, makes me curious as to how Ryan Lochte can afford his opulence. (I'm sure the others live fairly opulently, but I only know Ryan's particular position as my best friend's cousin is fairly close to him.) I guess endorsement deals pay a lot and the teams they are on at home should pay them some too.

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