Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Palm Springs, introduced a bill this week that would exempt United States Olympians from paying income taxes on honorariums they receive for winning gold, bronze or silver medals.
According to Bono Mack, who is co-sponsoring the bill with Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, the nonprofit United States Olympic Committee will give honorariums of $25,000 to gold-medal winners, $15,000 for silver medalists and $10,000 for bronze medalists.
The money that U.S. medalists receive following the London games will be taxed at 35 percent, according to the lobbying group Americans for Tax Reform.
The bill would eliminate all taxes on Olympic medals and prize money won by American athletes, according to Bono Mack’s office.
“Taxing the Olympic medals of U.S. athletes is like Scrooge putting a tax on Christmas presents,” Bono Mack and Butterfield said in a joint statement. “It’s just wrong. Our athletes work and sacrifice for years to reach the pinnacle of their sports and to proudly represent the United States of America in the Olympic games.
“Only the U.S. tax code can turn the `thrill of victory’ into the agony of victory … When they’re standing on the podium, they should be savoring the moment — not calculating their taxes.”
The bill stipulates that the gross income of Olympic athletes “shall not include the value of any prize or award won by the taxpayer in athletic
competition in the Olympic Games.”
It would apply to prizes and awards received after Dec. 31, 2011, according to Bono Mack’s office.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a similar bill in the Senate.