Poll: Should Some Olympians Pay $9K Tax on their Gold Medals?

After they step off the podium, American Olympic medalists are expected to pay thousands in taxes on their prize money.

Fans’ adoration, inimitable sense of accomplishment, national glory… and thousands of dollars in taxes? All of these come with winning an Olympic medal for Team USA.

A Yahoo! Sports article revealed that Olympians are taxed on their prize money, just as game show and lottery winners are. Yet critics of this tax assert that surely the IRS can make an exception for the men and women representing our country at the world’s largest sporting event.

Many of these athletes train rigorously for years while also holding a full-time job because most sports don’t come with the sweet bonus of million-dollar endorsements. 

The following chart shows how much medalists win, and ultimately, what they pay in taxes.

Medal Prize Money Taxes Gold $25,000 $8,986 Silver $15,000 $5,385 Bronze $10,000 $3,500

The article also notes that military members, while deployed in a combat zone, do not have to pay taxes.

What are your thoughts on the price of winning a medal at the Olympics? Tell us in the comments below.

Scottie Zimmerman August 06, 2012 at 05:23 PM
I agree with Enquiring Mind. Where do you get your numbers? And while you're checking your sources, Jo Tog, what is the average income of the 50 million supposed tax evaders? How many of them are families of 4 earning less than $18,000 per year? And on the other side, how many billionaires pay next to nothing in taxes? Warren Buffet (billionaire) pointed out that he pays lower taxes than his secretary. The system is rigged for the very rich, not for the "50 million" who barely survive on incomes below the poverty line. Michael Phelps is entitled to $450,000 for the 18 Gold medals he won in London -- plus more $$ for his other 4 medals (silver & bronze). No taxes?
Robert Sawyer August 06, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Gregatron, you said it better than I. I agree 100%! Taxing these athletes is an embarrassment for our country. Go find some other way Mr. Obama to squeeze tax dollars out of somewhere else. Or, let's have the REAL discussion and talk about areas where we should NOT be spending tax dollars. Funny how THAT conversation has yet to happen, 'cause Romney's tax returns, or the 1% are SO much more important than flushing tax dollars down the IRS sewer. Ridiculous.
Cid Young August 11, 2012 at 03:12 AM
They are being taxed on the CASH PRIZES! Not the medals they win, as the value is minimum for those as it states in the article. . Uhh, READ the article ....
1Diane August 11, 2012 at 06:05 AM
Yes, taxes are a complicated chore that could and should be simplified, that's for sure. A flat tax would be nice . . . and easier. But please be honest regarding Romney's 14% tax rate, which is his capital gains tax rate. He already paid taxes on the capital he invested, and is taxed again on the profits made from those investments.
Joe pont August 11, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Idiotic ideas like this are the reason that our tax code is so complex and we don't can't have meaningful tax reform. All Americans should pay taxes. When one group doesn't pay taxes, others need to make up the difference. I fail to see a valid public policy argument for giving special treatment to this group of people.


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