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Olympians Pay Taxes On Medals

If a United States Olympian wins a gold medal, they will pay around $9,000 in taxes.

Michael Phelps, after winning his record 20th Olympic medal Thursday, probably had one thing running through his mind: “I better get a good accountant.”

Because on all 20 of those medals, Phelps has potentially paid between $3,500 and $8,950 in tax bills. That's because both the cash prize Phelps won for each medal – between $10,000 and $25,000, depending on the medal –  and the medal itself is taxable, according to the Chicago Tribune.

An Olympian receives $10,000 for a bronze medal, $15,000 for a silver medal and $25,000 for a gold medal. Additionally, there is a value to the medals and Olympians are technically expected to pay taxes on them as well, with the value of the gold in the gold medal upwards of $600, according to the Tribune.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, both said the tax on Olympic medals and prizes should be waived, according to the Tribune.

Steve Kuzmeski August 05, 2012 at 02:07 PM
I'm on the fence on this topic. It is in the news because taxes are a politically hot topic. Snopes.com posted additional details on the subject. The amount an athlete is taxed depends on their tax bracket, the $9000 estimate quoted in many articles assumes a 35% tax rate, which applies to people making over $388,350. I'm curious if people complaining about Olympians getting taxed are also the ones complaining about the 1% not paying their fare share. I also read the athletes personal expenses towards training costs are tax deductible, therefore, the amount they actually pay is vet likely to be reduced. With all that said, i'm on the fence because at first thought it sounds like a unpatriotic gesture to tax these winners. However, if you want people to be taxed fairly, as Obama says, or if you want to reduce the complexity of our tax codes, they should be taxed. www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/olympics.asp

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