WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) today reintroduced legislation that would exempt Team USA medalists from being taxed by the Internal Revenue Service on medals or other prizes awarded to them during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“We should extend a warm welcome and congratulations – not a tax bill – to our Olympic and Paralympic champions when they return to the United States,” said Thune. “These Olympians, who often become role models for younger athletes across the country, dedicate years of their life and own money representing the United States on the world stage. The least we can do in return for these athletes’ commitment and patriotism is to allow them to keep what they’ve earned during the Olympic Games.”
“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.”
Beginning with the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the United States Appreciation for Olympians and Paralympians (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. If enacted, 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 U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).