IRS Olymp⁠i⁠c Th⁠i⁠every

By: The James Madison Institute / 2012



By John-Michael Seibler
JMI Intern, Boston University Philosophy Graduate, & Washington & Lee School of Law J.D. Candidate
Posted August 2, 2012
The IRS should get a gold medal for stealing stuff. Only the medal should be made of frustration and resentment and worn like Sam Coleridge’s Albatross.Their most recent exposition of fatuous criminality eclipses even the disappointment of Michael Phelps’ not winning his millionth gold medal. Because they are actually taxing those medals now, and the cash rewards that come with them.A report from Americans for Tax Reform states “American medalists face a top income tax rate of 35 percent. Under U.S. tax law, they must add the value of their Olympic medals and prizes to their taxable income.” And since it’s so easy to calculate, an Olympic canoe slalom racer could do it -and would have to if they won- lets take a look at the numbers.So how much will U.S.Olympic medal winners have to pay in taxes to the IRS?

Medal Tax
Prize Tax
Total Tax Burden




Americans for Tax Reform Report:, most Olympic athletes are amateurs, meaning they find ways to foot the bill for their training and do not receive a salary to compete. Thus their earnings are inherently different from those received by professional athletes outside the Olympic arena. So for every one ofAmerica’s amateur Olympic sweethearts, who sacrifice all the freedom of their teenage years to achieve athletic glory and national pride, there’s a fat bill from the IRS. For every seasoned champion of the human spirit, there’s a lovely request from the government to bequeath their winnings to the state. Because in all likelihood, they didn’t get to the Olympics themselves.And coincidentally, the American canoe slalom team did not medal. Should they be fined for tax evasion? Or perhaps we should redistribute their athleticism in light of that abominable failure to financially support their government.The lone hero in this scenario is Florida’s Wonder-Senator Marco Rubio. Sen. Rubio has introduced a bill to eliminate the government’s tax on Olympic medals, saying “the levy amounted to yet another way the government tries to punish those who succeed.” Another gold medal is awarded to this great American Son for championing common sense and the economic freedom to win a gold medal without having to pay the government for it.