Thursday, August 02, 2012

"And Uncle Sam and his IRS Revenue Agent Buddy Step to the Podium"

  • Yahoo Olympics Tax Story


  • Congratulations to the US medalists--but be ready for a tax bill of $3000 to about $9000 on the medals (which come with cash prizes of $10,000 to $25,000) as calculated by the Weekly Standard.  While taxes saved are at best cold comfort to bicyclist Taylor Phinney (fourth in two separate events), the basis for the taxation comes from IRC Section 74 on prizes and awards.  [Today's s[n]ide comment--When the White House does the customary post-Olympic recession, will the President tell the medalists that they did not "win those medals" because they learned competitive skills at public school athetic teams and used state highways and local roads to get to practice facilities?]  The net result: stalwart Olympians such as Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin could be looking of tax bills in excess of $20,000 (though to be fair, Ms. Franklin as a incoming college student probably will not have a lot of income other than the medal prizes).

    Snide comment above aside, taxation of such prizes is consistent with the Internal Revenue Code.  Nonetheless, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) may have a POLITICAL winner in his proposal to exempt Olympic earnings from taxation.

    UPDATE on Ms. Franklin: Based on a Wall Street Journal editorial from Tuesday, Ms. Franklin is actually a "rising" high school senior.  Additionally, she is attempting to maintain amateur status for college; thus she will not be signing lucrative contracts to endorse products and may even forswear the cash prizes associated with the medals.

    4 Comments:

    Blogger Laura Berthiaume said...

    Wow I didn't realize Olympic prizes were taxed so heavily. That seems crazy since Olympic athletes generally don't get that much financial support as it is. Is it the same in Canada?

    5:53 PM  
    Blogger Dan Meyer said...

    Good question and I am not sure how Canada handles Olympic prizes--my best guess is with the GST, Canada does not rely as much on the income tax as the U.S. does, thus Canadian athletes MIGHT get a better deal. One additional thing to consider: unless U.S. Olympians are famous enough to get product endorsements, some may have low enough AGI to have a marginal rate of 25% or less, thus less of a tax burden than suggested in the article.

    6:48 PM  
    Blogger Al Nik said...

    Are you aware of any tax treaties we have with England that would either exempt or asses tax on the Olympians, for income earned abroad?

    8:41 AM  
    Blogger Johns said...

    That's new information for me that Olympics Prizes is also heavily tax but i don't think all countries will do this because not all Olympians are Financially so much strong. Ap Recovery<

    6:06 AM  

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