WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) issued the following statements after the Senate passed the United States Appreciation for Olympians and Paralympians (USA Olympians and Paralympians) Act (S. 2650), legislation that would exempt Team USA from being taxed by the Internal Revenue Service on medals or other prizes awarded to them during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent and awaits consideration by the House of Representatives.
“Our Olympic and Paralympic champions dedicate their lives to training to compete on the world stage, making numerous sacrifices for themselves and their families along the way,” said Thune. “They put in all of that time and hard work for the opportunity to earn a medal, and if they’re successful, the pride of bringing it home. Having this bill signed into law would mean victorious athletes from Team USA won’t have to worry about a new tax burden and instead can focus on the warm welcome and congratulations from a grateful nation.”
“Our Olympian and Paralympic medalists should be worried about breaking world records, not breaking the bank, when they earn a medal,” said Schumer. “After a successful and hard fought victory, it’s just not right for the United States to welcome these athletes home with a victory tax. I’m hopeful that this bill will earn strong bipartisan support and quickly become law.”
If enacted, beginning with the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the USA Olympians and Paralympians Act would exempt the value of medals won from the athlete’s 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 federal revenue and would not affect taxes on any potential endorsement or sponsorship income earned by Olympic athletes.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, of which Thune serves as chairman, oversees the USOC and other sports organizations. Thune and Schumer are both members of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax and revenue measures.
The USA Olympians and Paralympians Act, which was first introduced in the 113th Congress, is cosponsored by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Jerry Moran (R- Kan.), and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).