Bipartisan Bills Want Olympic Medals to be Tax-Exempt

Both chambers of Congress have introduced legislation to keep 2014 Olympic medalists and beyond from having to pay taxes on their newly acquired metals.

The Senate version, introduced by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), is co-sponsored by Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chuck Shumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and John Hoeven (R-N.D.).

It would amend Section 74 of the Internal Revenue Code to state that “gross income” for U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes will not include the value of any medals or prize money they win while competing in the Olympics or Paralympics. Medalists would still have to pay taxes on any endorsement or sponsorship income.

“I congratulate all of our Olympic and Paralympic medalists who have dedicated their own time and money to compete on behalf of our nation,” said Isakson. “They should be welcomed as heroes, not handed a tax bill, when they return home from competition. This legislation is just the right thing to do.”

The House version was introduced by Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas).

“It’s stupid to tax the medals our Olympic athletes won," said co-sponsor Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). "They represent America as ambassadors as well as superior competitors in their sports. Medal winners in particular are a source of pride to us all. The last thing we should do as a government is send them a bill from the IRS when they return home.”