Olympic medalists should not be taxed on winning incentives

English: President George W. Bush poses for a ...

By Krista Brooks

Published Wednesday August 15, 2012 – The Daily 49er

The summer season is winding down and the U.S. Olympians will now travel back home after two weeks of competition in London.

The Summer Olympics were successful from an American point of view, with their several medals coming back to the States.

These extraordinary athletes can finally rest easy, knowing that their hard work and determination was worth it.

Until they have to pay the piper.

The athletes will be welcomed home by their American fans and family, but at the same time, face a tax on the accolades they acquired.

American medalists from the Olympics will return decorated in gold, silver and bronze, but they will have to pay for their prizes individually.

Each medal will be awarded an honorarium from the U.S. Olympic Committee based on the level of honor.

The amounts are $25,000 for each gold medal, $15,000 for each silver medal and $10,000 for every bronze.

These prizes for medalists are an incentive to strive for the best, and the best that the USA can be, but does taxing the athletes for winning seem fair?

Both presidential candidates have embraced a measure in Congress to diminish this tax, and allow the Olympians to keep their well-earned prize money.

Rep. Aaron Schock and Sen. Marco Rubio created the Olympic Tax Elimination act to exempt the winners from paying the taxes on their winnings.

This would only exempt the prize winnings from taxes, not the athletes’ endorsement earnings or salaries.

According to Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, a gold medalist will pay up to $8,986 of the honorarium to the IRS, when the cash value of the gold in the medals is worth much less.

There is only about 1 percent gold in these flashy medals, composed mostly of silver.

Based on the metal weight, the gold medals are worth about $655, the silver medals are worth about $335, and the bronze medals are less than $5 each. After the taxes and prizes, Olympians still benefit from the training and hard work that went into the games.

Many are supported by sponsors to pay their way, as well as endorsements from companies and supporters.

In my opinion, these American Olympians who travel all over the world for four years waiting for their chance to shine, should be taxed less than NBA players and other American athletes.

Heroes in war aren’t taxed for their Purple Hearts and war medals; they are honored and glorified.

Not that Olympians put their lives on the line like war heroes, but they still commit their lives to representing their nation.

Taxes for the lottery and other winnings should be viewed differently under tax provisions.

These Olympic medalists should come home decorated in medals and welcomed with support and love — not a huge tax for their accomplishments.

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