London: When Olympic medalists return to the United States, they`re in high demand. Everyone, from Michael Phelps to a bronze medalist in judo will be sitting for television interviews, talking to newspapers, going to assemblies at local schools and celebrating with friends, family and young athletes. They`ll also draw some unwanted interest from everyone`s favorite bureaucrats: the IRS.
Medalists will have to pay hefty taxes for standing on the podium in London. It`s not the value of the medal itself that will require a separate line on this years tax returns, it`s the tax on the prize money that comes with a gold, silver or bronze.
The United States Olympic Committee rewards Olympic medalists with honorariums. A gold medal brings $25,000. Silver medals get you $15,000. And a bronze is worth $10,000.
The Weekly Standard, a conservative news magazine, ran the numbers and tabulated that the tax bill on a gold is $8,986, silver is $5,385 and bronze is $3,500.
They note that Missy Franklin, an amateur who has yet to cash in on her fame with endorsements, already owes $14,000 in taxes from her gold and silver medal. By the time the Games are finished, Franklin`s tax bill could reach $30,000.
Come on, government. I know you`re as inflexible as the IOC and couldn`t decide on pizza toppings unless a bipartisan commission deliberated for 13 days, but you can`t make an exception to athletes representing our country in the biggest event in the world? It`s not unheard of: Military members are exempt from taxes when they`re deployed in a combat zone.
BDST: 1937 HRS, August 2, 2012
Chanchal Ghosh, Newsroom Editor
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