Marco Rubio introduces bill to eliminate tax on Olympic medals and honoraria

Apparently, the federal government feels that U.S. Olympic champions “didn’t do it by themselves”, and as such, has decided that the government is entitled to 35% of their honoraria and the value of the metal in the winning medals.  The Washington Times reported that Marco Rubio has introduced legislation to right that indignity.

“We can all agree that these Olympians who dedicate their lives to athletic excellence should not be punished when they achieve it,” Rubio said.

But when you think about it, our Olympic athletes really did do it by themselves.   These athletes get no financial support from the government at any level, instead, to fund their training, they have to get part time jobs, fundraisers, the odd stipend from the USOC, endorsements from sports related companies, and the prizes from the USOC if they win a medal.  Other countries directly support their athletes, such as China, or indirectly, through lottery money in countries such as Great Britain and South Africa.  But the U.S.?  Nada.  Zip.  It should be noted that the International Olympic Committee has restrictive bans on “unofficial” sponsors, i.e. those that have not paid tribute to the IOC, including many that are the sole support for many of our athletes.  I wonder if the Chinese will be forced to take the name CHINA off their competition uniforms, since they are the sole sponsors of their athletes?

Now the other side of the coin is that we can produce such outstanding athletes without the aid of the government, but it does put them at a decided disadvantage compared to most other countries.

It is unimaginable that the IRS taxes the meager winnings of these athletes, particularly given that they are representatives of the country in what is arguably one of the most spectacular international competitions in the world.  The U.S. benefits in prestige and bolsters patriotism in the process, and these athletes ask nothing of the country.  Apparently, the feeling isn’t mutual.

Rubio’s bill should pass the Congress unanimously.  The government will have plenty of opportunities to tax any future income from endorsements and other employment.

Is it really too much to ask?


18 replies
  1. Anybody but Obama
    Anybody but Obama says:

    If its going to be taxed as income then they should be allowed deductions to offset the income such as training, travel, meals away from home,Doctors, accounting and legal, anything that has to do with their profession.

    • Benjamin Less
      Benjamin Less says:

      Actually, in order to write off an expense it has to be considered and “approved” by the IRS as a business.? An example of that is Ann Romney’s? $77,731 passive loss from? Rob Rom Enterprises LLC for her dressage Olympic horse, Rafalca.? The Olympians are considered amateurs and their participation in the sports that train in are considered a Hobby.? Though I do not dispute the allegation that athletes train hard, earn hard and should be taxed less …the “Olympics” is a business.? Without the athletes there is no “business.”? I see the reasoning of trading off some taxation [tax on the metals] while gaining other taxation [audience tickets, payroll taxes to maintain, build stadiums, food and beverage, etc…].?
      One bucket empties another fills.
      Dimsdale, great commentary.? Two thumbs up.

  2. SoundOffSister
    SoundOffSister says:

    I don’t think you get it.?
    These athletes had a road or bridge outside their home, or school.? Thus, all of their hard work, dedication, training and determination is the result of the federal government’s roads and bridges.?
    Besides, because they have been successful, they must be taxed.? Success is no longer permitted in this country.?

    Sorry, that should have started “Dims”.

    • PatRiot
      PatRiot says:

      Ha !
      ?And just as Mr. Rubio is doing the right thing, rewarding success, we can?tell the government that “their” roads, bridges, etc. are courtesy of the American taxpayer.??And that the right thing to do is to protect that investment by not redirecting (stealing) the tax revenues for other projects.
      Keep the pressure on and?don’t let them take credit ( or tax revenues)?for someone else’s hard work.?

  3. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    I think that the idea of taxing medals and honoraria is stupid. I also think that Koby, LeBron, Diana T and all the other uber-professional athletes should let others try for the glory of an Olympic medal.

  4. dairyair
    dairyair says:

    Great post, Dims. I’m sure I’m not the only person who hadn’t heard about this BS. And thanks to Mr. Rubio (cue the music!) for shining a light on this atrocity, even if the dopes in congress don;t do the right thing…

  5. Marilyn
    Marilyn says:

    SOS, you said just what I would, but you forget, that great teacher somewhere in their life.?

  6. Marilyn
    Marilyn says:

    Now I forgot, That The Rest Of Us Paid For.? Not your parents or grandparents, but those other?folks.?

  7. JBS
    JBS says:

    I applaud Senator Rubio’s legislation. Let the Democrats block that! It is such a common sense move, I’m sure that is why it never occurred to them.
    That is precisely what Republicans need to keep doing. Keep legislative pressure on the Left; put them on the defensive, keep them on the run. Make the LSM pay attention — it does love blood — to just how miserable Obama’s presidency truly is. Don’t let them manufacture phony crises and control the narrative.?
    Whatever happened to Marco Rubio for Vice President? He could help deliver Florida.

  8. Sal
    Sal says:

    They shouldn’t be taxed .But I have to ask isn’t it based on what tax bracket you are in? So not everyone is paying 35%.
    Sammy it would be nice to see college athletes but if the pros sat out you would hear some complain they are selfish for not wanting to play. I think we over reacted when we stopped winning the gold in basketball by getting dream teams.?

  9. Tim-in-Alabama
    Tim-in-Alabama says:

    Why should these people get a tax break? What about the 99.9999999 percent of us who’ll never win a gold medal? Where’s our tax break? Do we have to defecate on a police car and commit sex crimes in a public park tent city for our justice?

  10. Wallyran
    Wallyran says:

    I think any cash received/won by an Olympian should be taxable and that expenses in pursuit of their sport should be likewise be deductible.? I don’t think the medals themselves, which are not intended to be sold by their winner, should be taxed upon receipt:? I’d consider that punative and grossly unfair.? However, if the medals are subsequently sold, then yes, I think they should be taxed at that time.

  11. chelly1222
    chelly1222 says:

    Wallyran, very sensible way to look at it.? In response to some of the other comments on here, I understand the point Romney was trying to make during the 2002 opening ceremonies.? ?You Olympians, however, know you didn?t get here solely on your own power,? said Romney, who on Friday will attend the Opening Ceremonies of this year?s Summer Olympics. ?For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We?ve already cheered the Olympians, let?s also cheer the parents, coaches, and communities. All right! [pumps fist].???? Kind of like what Obama was saying, no???

  12. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    Seriously now, do you really believe that the athletes who actually GO to the Olympics are paying for their travel and expenses out of their own pocket?

    • Dimsdale
      Dimsdale says:

      I imagine it is the sponsors who hope to get their corporate names out there as advertising.? Of course, the IOC quashed that for “unofficial” sponsors.? But the bulk of their expenses, training, room and board are paid by them, at least until they get good enough to attract sponsors.? Winning honoraria are partial offsets for these costs, not gross profit.
      But what is your point?? They worked their butts off on their own dime, and the gov’t smacks them with a tax.? Why not throw them a bone for all the free pro American advertising they give the country?

  13. Wallyran
    Wallyran says:

    Nobel Prize, Irish Sweepstakes, International Poetry or Piano?Competition prize, Tour de France winnings, public speaking fees…

    I’d view all of the above as taxable, along with money awarded for winning an Olympic?medal.??Designating ?it as ordinary income seems fair to me.? As for treating Olympic prizes different on patriotic grounds, you could make a similar case for severel of the items listed above.

Comments are closed.