Good job representing your nation and winning the Gold! Now pay up

Feb 2014
12,580
7,844
nunya
#1
IRS to Olympians: Congratulations! Now pay up

IRS to Olympians: Congratulations! Now pay up ? Rare

Last night, human mako shark Michael Phelps won his fourth gold medal of 2016, bringing his total gold count to 22 and making him the most decorated Olympian of all time. When he comes home, the IRS’s message to him will be: Congratulations! Now pay up.

Presuming Phelps is in the top income bracket, his total tax bill for the Olympics will come to $39,600, all because he had the audacity to achieve personal greatness and bring honor to his country. That number comes courtesy of Brady Wilson at Americans for Tax Reform, who calculates the costs for America’s homecoming athletes:

The U.S. Olympic Committee recognizes its medalists with $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze. But the IRS considers these amounts to be regular income, subject to taxation.

A gold medalist from Team USA could end up facing a tax bill of $9,900 per gold medal, $5,940 per silver medal, and $3,960 per bronze medal.

To be clear, these are the maximum possible tax amounts, and vary widely based on an individual’s tax circumstances and available deductions. Still, the athletes must reckon their medal winnings with the IRS code, a headache they can do without.

Being a patriot doesn’t just mean rooting for Team USA: it means demanding that they funnel money towards the F-15 and the Department of the Interior when they come home. One imagines how this conception of civic-mindedness might have altered other Olympic moments. (Al Michaels in 1980: “Five seconds left in the game! Do you believe in miracles?! Yes! The Treasury’s getting a windfall this year!!”) Our Olympians are engaged in far more charitable work than the NFL front office, yet it’s the latter that gets to avoid paying taxes for 70 years under the ludicrous guise of a nonprofit while our Olympians get knocked.

Presumably, Leonidas of Rhodes received better treatment than this. Fortunately, tea party Republicans are on the case. Congressmen Blake Farenthold, Pete Sessions, and Walter Jones (if there’s a good cause, he’s usually there) teamed up in 2014 to introduce the Tax Exemptions for American Medalists (TEAM) Act, which would set medal earnings off-limits to the IRS. Senator John Thune already ushered through similar legislation in the Senate.

If you’re a human buzzkill who sees sacramental value in filling out tax forms and prattles on about “paying your fair share,” then taxing Olympians probably doesn’t bother you. Athletes, after all, can already deduct their training expenses and Phelps will no doubt be rolling in corporate deals when he returns home. So why wag a finger over a few thousand bucks? The answer is that it’s morally wrong to tax someone for being recognized for an achievement, whether it’s a Nobel Prize or a gold medal or 20 bucks at the Pinewood Derby. And given that many other nations don’t tax their Olympians on medal winnings, this is the sort of American exceptionalism we shouldn’t strive for.
 
Likes: 3 people
Feb 2014
12,580
7,844
nunya
#3
I have no issue with it. How about we take it a step further. No taxes on military income. At the very least their HAZARD pay. What about cops and firefighters. These people put their asses on the line every damned day.
Because the government needs more money so they can provide more safety nets that require more money so the fed can print more money that means you require more money to purchase things so the government can tax that so it can have more money which means you need more money to afford all the things that keep costing more money.

That is why
 
Likes: 2 people
Jun 2013
28,864
15,449
Ohio
#4
Why should certain Americans be so priviledged as to be exempt from paying taxes on income that all other Americans are subject to ? It's a business. Quit being so naive.
 
Mar 2016
2,587
1,142
Adelaide. South Australia.
#5
America even taxes x-lotto winnings.Thats fkn bullshit.But I do agree with the tax athletes pay.
 
Feb 2014
12,580
7,844
nunya
#6
Why should certain Americans be so priviledged as to be exempt from paying taxes on income that all other Americans are subject to ? It's a business. Quit being so naive.
There is your answer Bubba. All Olympians are business minded. Like the curlers for instance. Now I am sure that is some real big money
 
Likes: 1 person
Mar 2008
9,638
4,887
australia
#7
it’s morally wrong to tax someone for being recognized for an achievement
but that applies to everything. athletes work hard, put in the effort, and it pays off, earning them money. i worked hard at uni, put in effort, and it paid off by getting me a good career. by the above logic, its morally wrong to tax my salary.
 
Likes: 1 person
Feb 2014
12,580
7,844
nunya
#9
but that applies to everything. athletes work hard, put in the effort, and it pays off, earning them money. i worked hard at uni, put in effort, and it paid off by getting me a good career. by the above logic, its morally wrong to tax my salary.
They do not tax my possessions as income. Why do they tax a gold medal? It is illegal to use gold to make purchases in the US. Then why is that medal taxed? Albeit it is a cheap gold medal and the tax on that alone would not be very much. I guess you could also argue that most of the athletes could take enough deductions to offset the prize money tax. Since the IRS calls it income then the athletes could use training expense to offset it. But, would it not be easier to just say good job and let it go...There is plenty of tax to be made off the advertising and endorsement contract money. Its not the gymnast or Michael Phelps that this is a big deal to. Its someone like Kim Rhode for instance who it affects more
 
Likes: 1 person
Jun 2013
28,864
15,449
Ohio
#10
They do not tax my possessions as income. Why do they tax a gold medal? It is illegal to use gold to make purchases in the US. Then why is that medal taxed? Albeit it is a cheap gold medal and the tax on that alone would not be very much. I guess you could also argue that most of the athletes could take enough deductions to offset the prize money tax. Since the IRS calls it income then the athletes could use training expense to offset it. But, would it not be easier to just say good job and let it go...There is plenty of tax to be made off the advertising and endorsement contract money. Its not the gymnast or Michael Phelps that this is a big deal to. Its someone like Kim Rhode for instance who it affects more
Did you not even take the time to read your own source article ?

The U.S. Olympic Committee recognizes its medalists with $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze. But the IRS considers these amounts to be regular income, subject to taxation.
 

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