U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today introduced legislation (S. 2026) to exempt Olympic and Paralympic medalists from being taxed by the Internal Revenue Service on the medals and cash prizes they win at the Olympics.
“Too often the U.S. tax code punishes success and no place is that more evident than the taxing of successful Olympic and Paralympic athletes,” said Thune. “Most countries not only compensate their Olympic and Paralympic athletes, but also welcome them home with celebrations. In the United States, athletes are welcomed home from winning on a world stage with a tax bill. Winning an Olympic medal should be a source of great pride for our athletes and the federal government should celebrate their achievement rather than tax their success.”
Starting with the 2014 Olympic Games, Thune’s legislation would exempt the value of medals won from taxable income, as well as prizes awarded through the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), which pays monetary awards to U.S. medal-winning athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The bill would have a negligible effect on revenue and would not affect taxes on endorsement and sponsorship income earned by a minority of successful Olympians.
Thune’s legislation is cosponsored by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation oversees the USOC and other sports organizations. Sen. Thune is also a member of the Senate Finance Committee which has jurisdiction over tax and revenue measures.