Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs) and North Carolina Congressman G.K Butterfield (NC-1) have introduced legislation exempting U.S. Olympic medalists from paying income taxes on honorariums they receive for winning gold, bronze or silver medals. These honorariums range from $10,000 to $25,000. The Bono Mack-Butterfield legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code and eliminate all taxes on Olympic medals and prize money won by U.S. athletes.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) authored similar legislation today in the Senate.
“Taxing the Olympic medals of U.S. athletes is like Scrooge putting a tax on Christmas presents,” Bono Mack and Butterfield said in a joint statement. “It’s just wrong. Our athletes work and sacrifice for years to reach the pinnacle of their sports and to proudly represent the United States of America in the Olympic games. Only the U.S. tax code can turn the ‘thrill of victory’ into the agony of victory. We strongly urge our colleagues in Congress to join us in this effort to salute our U.S. Olympians. When they’re standing on the podium, they should be savoring the moment – not calculating their taxes. This is just one small way to say thank you to our Olympic medalists for their efforts and achievements.”
The Bono Mack-Butterfield legislation stipulates that the gross income of Olympic athletes “shall not include the value of any prize or award won by the taxpayer in athletic competition in the Olympic Games.” This would apply to prizes and awards received after December 31, 2011.
This comes as a Yahoo story outlines how much winning a medal will cost Olympic athletes in taxes on honoraruims paid by the U.S Olympic Committee. For the 2012 Summer Games, an American that wins a gold medal will owe the IRS just short of $9,000 in taxes.