U.S. Senator Pushes for Olympic Tax Exemption

Posted on Aug 31, 2012

Back in 2011, the conservative gadfly Grover Norquist published a column listing the estimated tax debt that would be owed to the U.S. by athletes awarded medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics—a couple hundred bucks for a gold medal, somewhat less for silver and bronze. Norquist also noted that the honorariums awarded to medal-winning athletes by the U.S. government ($25,000 apiece for gold medals, $15,000 for silver medals, and $10,000 for bronze medals) would also be subject to state and federal taxes.

Now, according to the Miami Herald, Marco Rubio, the U.S. senator from Florida, has introduced a bill that would exempt American Olympic medal winners from paying taxes.

As Rubio is quoted in the paper, "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. Athletes representing our nation overseas in the Olympics shouldn't have to worry about an extra tax bill waiting for them back home.”

As one commenter points out after the article, for some reason the same uproar hasn't been raised about Nobel Prize winners, who also have to pay tax on their substantial awards.

Whether or not Rubio's bill would make the national tax code less of a “burdensome mess” is a matter of debate; after all, it would add yet another loophole to a code that's already riddled with loopholes.

Are you an Oklahoma resident (but not necessarily an Olympic athlete) who has questions or concerns about your standing vis-à-vis the IRS? Call the Oklahoma City tax experts at the law firm of Travis W. Watkins, PC (800-721-7054) for a free consultation!

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