Olympic Medal Winners: To Tax or Not to Tax?

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Winning an Olympic medal. It can be taxing.

And we're not talking about the hard work and stress that comes along with competing against the world's top athletes.

We're talking about the actual U.S. tax code, which applies to champions such as Gabby Douglas, Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin because they earn "honorariums" for finishing first, second or third in each event ($25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively).

According to The Weekly Standard, the estimated taxable income on a Gold is $8,986, a Silver is $5,385 and a Bronze is $3,500.

Gabby Douglas Hair

For multi-millionaires such as Phelps - who has already pocketed well into the seven figures via endorsements and who likely be showing in commercials more often than Peyton Manning over the next couple months - the tax is pocket change.

But for Franklin, a 17-year old yet to turn pro, she could have a far more difficult time paying what should amount to thousands in taxable income.

Is there a solution? Florida senator Marco Rubio believes so, saying late last week: "Our tax code is a complicated and burdensome mess that too often punishes success, and the tax imposed on Olympic medal winners is a classic example of this madness."

Do you agree? Should Olympic athletes be exempt from paying taxes in this scenario?

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Why give medals then if they're just gonna Make the athletes pay 4 them?? Its a slap in the face in my opinion. " Yea well, thanks 4 representing our country against the rest of the world n all, u were really great, really, but uh, yea...ur gonna hav 2 pay 4 that very prestigious medal u worked so hard 2 get. We kno u beat China n England n everyone else in the World, n we kno ur the very best in the world, but ur not that special 2 earn that medal 4 free, LOL. If u cant pay 4 it we'll just hav 2 reposess it frm u ok?? Ok, now will that be by credit or check??" UGH!!! Disgusting. This country can really suck at times. Sorry 2 say but y'all kno it's true. It sucks n its just gonna keep getting worse cuz the nations filled with greedy, lazy, bigots who r only gonna keep bleeding us all dry into the gutters of society. These ppl really need Jesus in their lives 4 real!! LOL!! Ridiculous, SMDH.


All of us, who aren't in the public eye, have to pay taxes on contest prizes, we might win, over a certain value. The athletes should as well. Their prizes will lead to earnings, in the future.


I admire all athletes and what they do...but can we please stop calling them heros? Unless, they've saved someone from a burning building, or stopped a thief from stealing an old lady's purse etc.
Seriously, look the meaning of hero up in the dictionary.


This is RIDICULOUS. They worked their butts off to win!, and now you're taxing them for doing so?!?! Ryan Lochte's one of the best swimmers in the world, and his family is facing FORECLOSURE. And Gabby Douglas, she actually IS the best gymnast in the WHOLE WORLD. An her mom JUST filed for BANKRUPTCY. Barack Obama is pushing it for them to be exempt, so that's good. But WHY SHOULD HAVE EVEN BEEN A QUESTION?!!! What kind of world is this?!?! So now you have to pay for your successes? If so, I might as well go buy a gold medal for women's tennis and call myself a winner. That's basically what it means now.


These winners are true American heroes and I, for one, am so very proud of them and their dedication!
Perhaps, Mr. President, YOU should spend some of your millions and pay the taxes for them you are so anxious to collect.
You are giving us another black-eye in front of the rest of the world and perhaps we will never have another group of dedicated athletes again. No doubt they will pay taxes like anyone else on any sponsorships, etc. that come later.


Gimmie a break...These olympic athletes represented our country and won medals against athletes from all over the world and for all there hard work and dedication we tax them on the prize. Its almost as bad as taxing soldiers who are in combat. What do I know, the gov't has to pay for Obamacare somehow, don't they?


Who paid for their training while an amateur. Families dedicate their whole lives and many make nothing if u win it is like a tax free lottery. You represented your country and to the victor goes the spoils he'll Romney only
Paid 13% on 200 million dollars last year. That's less than the flat tax on capital gains he should pay their taxes.


I would be ok with holding the taxes on the medal itself unless/until it is sold. Then take the taxes out of the sale. But the cash winnings are just like me getting a bonus check for doing a good job at my firm and you know you tax that.


As Annie noted, this is taxed just like anything else-- if you won $25,000 playing a gold tournament, that money is taxed. But again, it's taxed at the appropriate tax rate. Only people like Kobe Bryant and Michael Phelps will be paying the top rate (ca. $9000) for their winnings. If you're a 22 year old who works two jobs and just won a gold in archery, you're going to be paying much, much less in taxes (unless those two jobs are "investment banker" and "psychoanalyst").


It should not be taxed. They earned it representing this country and its not like it was a cash prize. Its a hunk of metal. What income is that? They arent going to sell it and get cash for it jeez