Taxing American Olympians, what’s next?

IRS tax attorneys report American Olympians winning at the London Olympic Games may not be so fortunate after all. That’s because current U.S. tax laws view winning at the Olympics as a taxable event. That is of course unless Republican Senator Marco Rubio gets his way.

According to several IRS tax lawyers, Senator Rubio has proposed legislation captioned “The Olympic Tax Elimination Act.” These same IRS tax attorneys report the bill would exempt U.S. Olympic medal winners from paying taxes on their hard-earned and well-deserved Olympic medals. Currently, American Olympians winning a medal at the games also receive an honorarium in the form of a cash payment ($25,000 for gold; $15,000 for silver; and $10,000 for bronze). IRS tax lawyers note the federal government collects taxes on these amounts.

Lobbying support for his proposed bill, Senator Rubio has argued “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”. Senator Rubio went on to say “athletes representing our nation overseas in the Olympics shouldn’t have to worry about an extra tax bill waiting for them back home.”

Senator Rubio has also said, and most IRS tax attorneys could not agree more, that “we need a fundamental overhaul of our tax code, but we shouldn’t wait any time we have a chance to aggressively fix ridiculous tax laws like this tax on Olympians’ medals and prize money”. Rubio also claimed “we can all agree that these Olympians who dedicate their lives to athletic excellence should not be punished when they achieve it.”

IRS tax lawyers reviewing Senator Rubio’s proposed legislation say the Act would amend the present Internal Revenue Code to eliminate the tax on Olympic medals and prize money won by United States athletes. If enacted, several IRS tax attorneys report an Olympic athlete’s gross income would “not include the value of any prize or award won by the taxpayer in athletic competition in the Olympic Games.” These same IRS tax lawyers advise the legislation, if passed, would apply to prizes and awards received after December 31, 2011.


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