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The PJ Tatler

Bridget Johnson


August 2, 2012 - 12:15 pm

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have teamed up for legislation that exempt Olympic winners from paying taxes on their prizes.

Olympic medalists receive honorariums in the form of cash payments of $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze. Currently, the IRS takes 35 percent of that.

Rubio introduced the Olympic Tax Elimination Act yesterday in the Senate, with Schock, a fitness nut who went shirtless in Men’s Health magazine last year, introducing the companion bill in the House.

“One of the greatest joys of the Olympics is to watch our athletes perform at the highest levels of competition and to seem them stand on the podium to be rewarded for their success,” said Schock. “Apparently, the sacrifices they make for their success doesn’t stop once they receive their Olympic medals. The federal government has to penalize our athletes by taxing them for the medals they have rightfully earned. This is a classic example of how complicated and costly our tax code has become and why tax reform is badly needed.”

Under the bill, 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” for prizes and awards received after Dec. 31, 2011.

“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,” said Rubio. “Athletes representing our nation overseas in the Olympics shouldn’t have to worry about an extra tax bill waiting for them back home. I’m proud to work with Aaron Schock to make sure that Olympians who dedicate their lives to athletic excellence are not punished when they achieve it.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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