Congrats you won a gold medal. Now here’s your tax bill
America’s Olympic medalists must pay state and federal taxes on the prize money they get for winning. The U.S. Olympic Committee awards $25,000 for gold medals, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. That’s not all. Olympians also have to pay tax on the value of the medals themselves.
Gold and silver medals are made mostly of silver, while bronze medals are composed of mostly copper. Rio’s medals are among the largest and heaviest ever and contain about 500 grams of either silver or copper.
The value of a gold medal is about $564; silver is worth about $305. Bronze is worth a negligible amount so it’s not taxed.
Taxes are yet another burden for Olympians – the majority of whom are already struggling to get by. The U.S. is one of the only countries that doesn’t provide government funding to its Olympians. A handful of lucky athletes land lucrative endorsement deals. But most of them rely on small stipends from the USOC, support from local businesses or supplemental income from a day job.
Olympic medal winners may catch a break though.
Proposed federal legislation would make “the value of any medal or prize money” awarded during the Olympics or Paralympics exempt from income taxes.
The bill was passed by the Senate last month and is being considered by the House. It would apply to earnings from January 1, 2016 to January 1, 2021.
California is reviewing a similar proposal.