Measure would eliminate waiting tax bills for Olympic medalists.
Wisconsin Legislators Propose ‘Victory Tax’ Repeal
The Olympics may have been over for
a few weeks, but the American athletes who have returned home with gold,
silver, or bronze medals now have to face their tax burdens. However, come
January, Wisconsin legislators will be working to change that.
Currently, U.S. Olympic medalists
must pay state and federal taxes on the value assigned to the medals themselves
as well as on the prize money that comes with the win. Gold medalists are awarded
$25,000 by the U.S. Olympic Committee; silver medalists are awarded $15,000;
and bronze medalists are awarded $10,000. Gold medals themselves are worth
about $564, silver medals are worth about $305, and bronze medals are not
taxed, as they have negligible monetary value.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Rep.
Joe Sanfelippo, however, are planning to introduce a bill at the start of the
next legislative session in January that would repeal this “victory taxation”
method so that Olympic cash prizes and the medals themselves would not be
taxable. Endorsement earnings would still be taxable. If passed, this
legislation would also apply to Paralympic athletes’ winnings. The planned
Wisconsin proposal also mirrors a legislative effort happening at the federal level
“When a Wisconsin athlete brings
home an Olympic medal, a state tax bill shouldn’t be waiting for them when they
return,” Speaker Vos told CBS 58 Milwaukee. “This legislation is an outward
show of support for our home-grown athletes who depend on private donations and
sponsorships to pay for training.”
Rep. Sanfelippo said, “Our athletes
should be celebrated, not penalized, for their Olympic successes. Athletes
compete at great personal sacrifice, both physically and financially, and they
should not be hit with a tax bill because of their accomplishments.”
CBS 58 reported that the U.S.
Olympic Committee has publicly supported the federal legislation and Americans
for Tax Reform has pledged support in the past because the current system puts
the athletes at a competitive disadvantage outside their sport.
Unfortunately, the Wisconsin
athletes who competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro would not
benefit from the legislation if it is passed, but future medal winners would be