Yesterday there was an article on yahoo news about the fact that Olympic athletes are taxed on winning medals. In fact, the headline is:
Winning a gold medal brings a $9,000 tax bill
I skimmed the article and discovered the two following facts:
- The United States Olympic Committee rewards Olympic medalists with honorariums. A gold medal brings $25,000. Silver medals get you $15,000. And a bronze is worth $10,000.
- The Weekly Standard, a conservative news magazine, ran the numbers and tabulated that the tax bill on a gold is $8,986, silver is $5,385 and bronze is $3,500.
Oh – that makes sense, the athlete’s aren’t taxed on the fact that they received a metal – they are taxed on the fact that they are getting prize money that goes along with it. So, they are getting $25,000 for gold, and have pay back about $9000 to the government – after all it’s prize winnings, kind of like when you win the lottery. Then I noticed the article ended like this:
Come on, government. I know you’re as inflexible as the IOC and couldn’t decide on pizza toppings unless a bipartisan commission deliberated for 13 days, but you can’t make an exception to athletes representing our country in the biggest event in the world? It’s not unheard of: Military members are exempt from taxes when they’re deployed overseas.
First off, let me fact check you yahoo. The only time that military members are exempt from tax is when they are deployed in a combat zone – not just when they are overseas. Any military member stationed in Germany for instance, is required to pay taxes on his income. Secondly, why shouldn’t they have to pay taxes on prize money given to them? If I get a bonus at work for my hard work at my job, I am taxed on it. Professional athletes who receive signing bonus’ are taxed on it. Why shouldn’t Olympic athletes be taxed on prize money they receive?
Scrolling to the comments – I expected to find hundreds of people agreeing with me. Unfortunately, apparently people are idiots, because what I found was comments like:
“This has got to be the dumbest thing ever! You train your whole life to be an Olympian, you win a medal and the govt. is right there to rape you. Winners lose again!”
“Too bad Franklin isn’t old enough to announce her candidacy for Congress then not only could she avoid paying taxes but could also use insider trading to make a killing on investments with impunity.”
”This is simply another case of showing how the federal government is the biggest thief–and criminal–in this country. These athletes are supporting their country, but as usual, the IRS is their with their hand out to take their so-called cut.”
Apparently, the issue is not as cut and dry as I believed.