IRS To Olympic Athletes – Pay Up
I could not believe it. I couldn't believe it when I saw the story from The Weekly Standard about what the IRS is doing to our athletes that are lucky enough to win a medal in the Olympic games. In case you haven't heard, let me elaborate.
The games hand out a medal of varying value based on what place you come in. We all know that. There is also attached to winning on behalf of your country an honorarium. Those amount to $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. Here is what happens when the athletes return to the US. The IRS will be demanding their cut of the honorarium as well as payment for the value of the medal that was handed to them. The specific values for each are in the article, so feel free to give it a read.
For those of you think it, let me say it. Let me get this straight. These people spend their lives training and preparing to be the best that they can be at their sport of choice. They go and stand up on behalf of their country and do battle on the field of sport against the best of the world. Then when they accomplish what they came to do, they get a tap on the shoulder from the IRS.
So, you probably figure that everyone else in the world does the same thing, but that isn't so. America is one of the few countries in the world that taxes worldwide prize income that was earned overseas. So as thanks to our athletes that are representing the rest of us, we are taxing them for doing what they did to represent America.
While I understand the need to tax income and how important it is to get that income, it doesn't make much sense as far as I'm concerned to take a bite out of what our athletes get. Is it any wonder that the government likes to see our people win gold medals? Personalize it a bit more and you get high school students and even younger having to pay taxes just simply because they took part in a sport representing America.
The long and the short of it is this. We need to pass legislation allowing for an exception for these athletes. If you are representing the country and doing what these people do, they should be able to keep their money and keep their medals, secure in the knowledge that they have a grateful nation behind them...and not a government that didn't even bother to thank them and instead sent them a bill.