Isakson Co-Sponsors Measure to Exempt Olympic Medals From Being Taxed

It seems to happen every time the Olympics are held.  Stories appear in the press about how American athletes are taxed for the medals they bring home.  Even the White House agrees.

Because the US Olympic Committee hands out cash bonuses to medal winners, these bonuses, and those bonuses are considered taxable income by the IRS.

Senator Johnny Isakson has co-sponsored a bill that would remove the value of the medals themselves, along with the prize money athletes win in the Olympics or Paralympics, from the athlete’s gross income. Any earnings from sponsorships or endorsements as a result of their success would remain taxable. The bill was sponsored by Senator John Thune of South Dakota.

Isakson issued this statement:

I congratulate all of our Olympic and Paralympic medalists who have dedicated their own time and money to compete on behalf of our nation. They should be welcomed as heroes, not handed a tax bill, when they return home from competition. This legislation is just the right thing to do.

According to Isakson, if the bill passed, the United States would join the majority of developed countries in exempting Olympic medal-winning athletes from taxation on their awards. The bill would be made retroactive to cover medals won at the Sochi Games.

6 comments

  1. Max Power says:

    Because the US Olympic Committee hands out cash bonuses to medal winners, these bonuses, and those bonuses are considered taxable income by the IRS.

    Why the hell shouldn’t they be taxed? I’m certainly taxed on bonuses.

    According to Isakson, if the bill passed, the United States would join the majority of developed countries in exempting Olympic medal-winning athletes from taxation on their awards.

    How about we join the majority of developed countries and establish a national health system?

  2. Noway says:

    +1 Nice pandering, Johnny!!! This time it’s a Republican with some feel-good crap to buy votes. We’re all taxed (supposedly) on our earnings. And I do believe that this in an Olympic athlete’s job. If they earn something tax them. I’m so f******g sick of politicians, every damn one of them. I swear there ain’t a g**ber out there they won’t massage for a vote!

  3. bruhsam says:

    I support removing the value of the medals from any taxation (is it actually true that the the Medals themselves are taxed? I’m skeptical), but I’m sorry, Mr. or Ms. Olympian: income is taxed in this country. Bonuses are taxed. It’s what we do.

    If we don’t tax them on their bonuses, should we be taxing them on any stipends they receive during training?

    I love political theater.

  4. drjay says:

    i don’t see why the bonuses wouldn’t be taxed, but i can totally understand not taxing the medal, unless you sell it later, and then that could be taxed as a capital gain…they aren’t all shaun white or lindsay vaughn with fat endorsement deals and a pro circuit to make money, some of them have day jobs or get by and a pretty meager stipend from usoc…

  5. Dave Bearse says:

    Yeah, let’s practice conservative principles by making our tax code simpler by adding a few more pages to the tens of thousands we already have.

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