Senator Marco Rubio of Florida introduced a bill to change the tax code for Olympic athletes who win medals from having to pay a ridiculous tax on their winnings. The current tax code requires prize winnings to be included in gross income in one form or another, but not only are Olympic athletes taxed on their cash prize winningsâ€”up to $25,000 per victoryâ€”but also on the estimated value of the actual medal itself. As reported by ABC news, â€œAmericans for Tax Reform foundÂ that the value of a gold medal is about $675, meaning that an athlete could be on the hook for a $236 extra tax burden.â€
Itâ€™s not certain how the medals are measured in dollar terms. But if gold is estimated at $1,500-1,600 an ounce, thatâ€™s a lot more than what it is worth the last few Olympics. Athletes have to pay 35% tax levied by the IRS if the laws do not change. The same ABC article cites, â€œUnder U.S. tax law, the athletes must add the value of their Olympic medals and prizes to their taxable income, and are taxed at a rate of 35% by the IRS.
Breaking down the podium in tax terms is unsightly to say the least; The Americans for Tax Reform cite, gold medal winners will have to pay taxes of $8,986. Silver medal winners will have to pay taxes of $5,385; bronze medal winners, $3,502.
Granted, the Olympics have historically been an event for those who were rich in spirit but not monetarily motivated. In other words Olympians are not expected to make much, so their taxation should be minimal. Iâ€™m not sure if completely getting rid of taxes for athletes is the answer, just because they have won medals and brought pride to the USA, itâ€™s still principally sound to pay some taxes on winnings because that is payed by all people of all ages for prize winnings. But to pay taxes on the value of the medal too is just excessive and 35% could be excessive for someone who devotes their entire life to training for the Olympics.