WASHINGTON -- Getting into the Olympic spirit, lawmakers have introduced legislation to exempt U.S. medal winners from paying taxes on their "hard-earned medals."
"Only the U.S. tax code can turn the 'thrill of victory' into the agony of victory," Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), sponsors of a bill to eliminate the tax, said in a statement.
Olympians who win medals receive $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze from the U.S. Olympic Committee.
A gold medal winner will pay the IRS up to $8,986, according to Americans for Tax Reform Foundation, whose analysis caught lawmakers’ attention. Silver medal winners face a tax of up to $5,385, and bronze medal winners face a tax of up to $3,502, the group says.
But the group’s calculations have generated controversy of their own.
PolitiFact, a fact-checking project of the Tampa Bay Times, noted on its website that athletes can deduct un-reimbursed expenses. "Any accountant worth their salt should be able to get the rate of tax on medal winnings much below $9,000, and maybe even to zero,’’ it said.