WOOOAH, girls! Hold on. THAT might be the U.S. government’s bite there…
Because conservatives are scrooges, the good folks at Americans for Tax Reform have gone through the fine print to find out what our Olympians will have to cough up to the IRS should they be lucky enough to win any medals in London.
Even by the standards of our government, the numbers are insane.
For instance: Americans who win bronze will pay a $2 tax on the medal itself. But the bronze comes with a modest prize—$10,000 as an honorarium for devoting your entire life to being the third best athlete on the planet in your chosen discipline. And the IRS will take $3,500 of that, thank you very much.
There are also prizes that accompany each medal: $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze.
Silver medalists will owe $5,385. You win a gold? Timothy Geithner will be standing there with his hand out for $8,986.
So as of this writing, swimmer Missy Franklin—who’s a high school student—is already on the hook for almost $14,000. By the time she’s done in the pool, her tab could be much higher. (That is, unless she has to decline the prize money to placate the NCAA—the only organization in America whose nuttiness rivals the IRS.)
ATR notes that the real twist of the knife is that most other Olympians won’t pay any taxes on their medals because America is one of only a handful of countries which taxes “worldwide” prize income earned overseas.
Today Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a bill to eliminate federal tax on Olympic Medals…
That could leave amateur athletes — in many cases still teenagers — facing stiff tax bills when they return to the U.S.
Mr. Rubio said that shouldn’t happen.
“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,” the Florida Republican said.
His bill would exempt the honorarium and the value of the Olympic medal itself from any federal taxes.
Congress is currently fighting over how to adjust the broader tax code and whether to let the Bush-era tax cuts expire. But Mr. Rubio said the Olympic winners shouldn’t have to wait until lawmakers finish that job.
“We can all agree that these Olympians who dedicate their lives to athletic excellence should not be punished when they achieve it,” he said.
As of Wednesday afternoon the U.S. had collected 10 gold medals, eight silvers and nine bronzes — though a number of those were in team competitions. So the men’s relay team that won gold in the 4×200 meter freestyle event would together owe nearly $36,000 to Uncle Sam.
All told, U.S. athletes have 57 medals — 28 golds, 18 silvers and 19 bronzes — which comes to a tax bill of nearly $350,000.
Ryan Lochte, the most-decorated American athlete so far, faces a tax bill of $23,357 for his two golds and a silver.
Ah! Well, there ya have it! I’m sure Sen. Rubio is just trying to give his 1% rich Cuban-American comrade a tax break! (/sarc … of course)
This should be interesting, considering the promise of multi-million dollar product endorsements are waiting for very successful Team USA athletes after the games…