Obama and Congress are finally in agreement! They all believe that Olympic medalists should be exempt from taxes on the prize money claimed from their medals.
Good! When I heard about this a couple of days ago, I couldn’t believe that they tax the athletes so hard. Michael Phelps is the exception to the rule when it comes to income. Most of these athletes are not making very much money. They spend as much time as possible practicing to be able to reach this level in sports that aren’t big money makers. The U.S. isn’t the highest, or lowest, paying country. For example, Italy offers $182,400 for Olympic gold to its athletes while Germany offers $19,500.
Take into consideration the fact that Missy Franklin, who has won four gold medals and set world records at the age of 17, will receive $100,000 for her medals. She may be on the hook for over $30,000 worth of taxes on those (it’s a little more complicated than just a flat amount so the actual number may be different). Now, $70,000 is a good paycheck for a 17 year-old girl, but she is probably the most celebrated athlete in the U.S. since Phelps in Beijing.
I know some people will say they should be paying their share of taxes, but can’t we make an exception for the athletes who are representing our country? I mean, they’ll be paying a higher percentage of taxes on the medals they won for the U.S. than Romney paid on his multi-million dollar income. (Especially if the no-tax rumors are true.) In reality, it wouldn’t make that big of a splash in government. Take the 2008 Olympic medals as an example. If each athlete paid the maximum taxes on their medals, the country gained about $655,000 in taxes. To put that in perspective, the House of Representatives has passed a repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act 33 times even though they knew it had no chance of passing the Senate and would get vetoed by Obama. This cost the government about $50 million. How about we try to pass one less useless bill and give these athletes a break on the taxes for their Olympic medals?