Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is urging Congress to exempt Olympic medalists from taxes on their medals and monetary bonuses.
Speaking last week at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1980, Schumer called on the House of Representatives to pass legislation blocking the Internal Revenue Service from taxing Olympic and Paralympic medalists. The Senate passed a bipartisan bill last month co-sponsored by Schumer and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., known as the United States Appreciation for Olympians and Paralympians (USA Olympians and Paralympians) Act.
“Our Olympian and Paralympic athletes should be worried about breaking world records, not breaking the bank, when they earn a medal,” said Schumer. “Most countries subsidize their athletes; the very least we can do is make sure our athletes don’t get hit with a tax bill for winning. After a successful and hard fought victory, it’s just not right for the U.S. to welcome these athletes home with a tax on that victory. We worked hard to pass a bill that would exempt athletes from these tax penalties in the Senate, and now I’m hopeful that this bill will earn strong bipartisan support in the House and quickly become law.”
Schumer pointed to a 2014 report by NBC News that said the U.S. Olympic Committee awards cash prizes to medal winners: $25,000 for gold medalists, $15,000 for silver medalists and $10,000 for bronze medalists. The IRS considers the money to be income earned abroad, so the monetary value of the medal is taxable.
A similar bill has been introduced at the state level in California by Brian Jones, a Republican Assemblyman.
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