IRS Charges Olympic Athletes for Medals
Posted: August 26, 2016
I couldn't believe when I heard that the Internal Revenue Service charges Olympic athletes for each gold medal they receive, each silver medal they receive or for every bronze medal they get. Gold medals fetch $25,000; Silver medals get taxed for $15,000; Bronze medals are $10,000.
I am going to miss watching the Olympics every night the last two weeks. It has been more enjoyable than I thought it would be. Now, fortunately, it was announced this week that TEAM USA can keep its money from the Olympics. Thank god.
It's no secret that athletes do not become Olympians overnight. Thankfully, the IRS backed down from its previous stand. For many of the competitors who have been fortunate enough to earn a spot on an Olympic or Parlylmpic podium, it is a lifetime's worth of work that has come with years of blood, sweat and tears.
Many young athletes rely on their parents and local communities to support their Olympic dreams. All the equipment and gym time and training that help these men and women into Olympic heroes are not free, nor is there a tax benefit or write-off for the expenses of those who do not earn income from their sport.
Under the current tax code, medals and any associated prize stipend are considered taxable income. Tax policy is too often complicated and partisan, which makes the bill introduced by Sen. John Thune (Rep.-S.D.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (Dem.-N.Y). The bill passed the Senate without a dissenting vote, but the House had not taken up the issue until just last week.
Preventing the IRS from taxing medals and modest cash incentive prizes sends the right message to present and future members of TEAM USA. Rather than viewing Olympic success to pay Uncle Sam, it is a special opportunity to celebrate American patriotism and the Olympic tradition.
The total medal count was 121 medals in all. I'm glad that our Olympic heroes will not have to pay taxes on the money they earned.
RANDOM THOUGHT: Some big changes are on tap for higher education. According to the August 12, 2016 issue of The Kiplinger Letter, universities nationwide are dealing with some challenges: Mounting student debt, growing college costs and questionable education quality.
Businesses have a large stake in the outcome as employers struggle to find qualified candidates amid a severe shortage of many in-demand skills. Since the Great Recession ended, 99 percent of the new jobs have gone to people with some post-secondary education.