The Olympics are over and the 558 members of Team USA are headed home having won 121 medals. Tallying 46 gold, 37 silver, and 38 bronze medals, Team USA athletes could owe the IRS hundreds of thousands of dollars in “victory” taxes.
As Olympians set foot back in the U.S., now is the time to pass much needed legislation that will exempt these athletes from being taxed. In March 2016, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced a bill (S. 2650) to stop the IRS from taxing Team USA medalists. The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent on July 12, but the House has yet to pass a bill. Recently, the House Ways and Means Committee will mark up a bill come September, sponsored by Congressman Bob Dold (R-Ill.) and Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-Texas).
Kevin Brady (R-Texas), House Ways and Means Chairman, has highlighted the importance of passing Congressman Farenthold and Dold’s bill:
“It seems like a small thing, but when America’s Olympians and Paralympians bring home the gold, our nation should congratulate them — not send the IRS to claim a share of their medal.”
U.S. Olympic athletes receive a monetary award for winning a medal. This award is considered regular income, and is therefore subject to taxation. The U.S. Olympic Committee rewards its medalists with $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze.
Taxes on these awards are as high as $9,900 per gold medal, $5,940 per silver medal, and $3,960 per bronze medal. These are the maximum possible tax amounts, and vary widely based on an individual’s tax brackets, circumstances, and available deductions. Still, the athletes must reckon their medal winnings with the IRS code, a headache they can do without.
Maximum Prize Tax
Americans who wish to express their support for the House bill can do so through the petition here or sign below: