Olympic champs pay thousands in taxes on medals, winnings

Olympic champs pay thousands in taxes on medals, winnings

Credit: LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages

US gold medalists Shannon Vreeland (2R), Dana Vollmer (2L), Allison Schmitt and Missy Franklin (R) celebrate on the podium after the women's 4x200m freestyle relay final swimming event at the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 1, 2012 in London. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL

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by Associated Press, NBC News

KING5.com

Posted on August 2, 2012 at 7:41 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 6 at 2:37 PM

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio wants to give America's Olympic champions a tax break on their winnings.

Americans who win gold, silver or bronze at the Olympics get a cash award from the U.S. Olympic Committee of tens of thousands of dollars.

The Republican lawmaker introduced a bill Wednesday that would exempt medal winners from paying taxes on the honorariums, calling the penalty ridiculous.

A gold medalist gets a $25,000 honorarium, a silver medalist $15,000 and a bronze winner $10,000, according to the USOC.

So for the Fab Five gymnasts who won Tuesday in London -- McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber -- that's a total honorarium of $125,000.

Americans for Tax Reform, a group that opposes tax increases, calculated that an athlete's tax bill for winning a gold medal totals $8,936, including $8,750 based on a 35 percent tax on the honorarium, and $236 for the value of the medal.

Based on that, the Fab Five would owe Uncle Sam $44,680 collectively.

Rubio's office says that the Olympics are unique, with U.S. athletes volunteering to represent the country, and that success should be celebrated, not taxed.

More coverage from NBCNews.com

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