Lifestyle & Belief

Olympic tax awaits American medal winners at home


Missy Franklin of the United States celebrates with her gold medal during the medal ceremony for the Women's 100m Backstroke on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 30, 2012 in London, England.


Adam Pretty

The IRS has a solution for American athletes who want to give back after winning a medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

Sure, visit schools to motivate young people and generally pump up the nation on the press circuit; just don’t forget to pay your taxes.

Win a gold medal? That’s $236 for the medal itself and $8,750 for your prize money.

According to Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), US athletes who win gold, silver or bronze in London won’t escape the IRS.

The US Olympic Committee rewards athletes with $25,000 for first, $15,000 for second and $10,000 for third place.

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Because the IRS taxes “worldwide income earned overseas,” the ATR says champion athletes must pay almost $9,000 to the government.

That includes that $236 for the actual gold medal on top of the prize money ($135 for silver these days, but only $2 for bronze).

The total for silver medalists is about $5,400 while it is $3,500 for third-place finishers.

The ATR says the US is one of the only countries in the world to charge such a tax.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) has a solution of his own.

He announced today that he’s introducing the Olympic Tax Elimination Act.

“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,” Rubio said in a press release, according to the Miami Herald. “Athletes representing our nation overseas in the Olympics shouldn't have to worry about an extra tax bill waiting for them back home.”

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