Winning an Olympic medal may not be as rewarding as it appears. Olympians make great sacrifices to qualify for their teams, yet there may still be a price to pay. The Internal Revenue Service taxes the value of the gold, silver, and the reward money athletes make each time a medal is won.
Many nations don’t tax their Olympians, but some countries, such as Britain, don’t give their contestants prize money at all. Steven Gill, a tax professor at San Diego State University, told CNN that American athletes receive a fraction of the financial support of athletes in other countries.
“When I think about why these prizes exist, it’s to compete with state-supported athletes from other countries. Cutting taxes isn’t going to fix the fact that these athletes don’t get paid enough—it’s a short-term fix,” said Gill to CNN.
The U.S. Congress has proposed bills to give the athletes tax breaks, but these bills have yet to become a reality. According to NBC, accountants suggest there could be a way around the tax in question if Congress does not support the exemption. They suggest if the contestant treats his or her sport like a business on income paperwork, then some expenses may be deducted such as travel, training and equipment.