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U.S. Olympic medal winners must pay taxes on their medals and cash prizes, according to Aug. 15, 2016 article by USA which said, Mr. Phelps could be looking at a maximum Olympic tax bill of $55,440.
USA Today said, "The medals themselves are taxed, too, but they're not as valuable as their shiny goodness may appear." The tax is based on the value of the "commodity prices of the metals involved, gold is worth in the neighborhood of $600, silver about $300 and bronze next to nothing." The medals themselves carry a much higher value and could be sold for more than $10,000.
Legislatures have attempted to introduce new laws to give Olympians a tax break. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced a bill in 2012, "to shield medals and bonuses from Uncle Sam, but it died." Rubio said in a statement, “We can all agree that these Olympians who dedicate their lives to athletic excellence should not be punished when they achieve it.” On the Senate side, "Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., sponsored a similar bill to eliminate taxes on Olympic and Paralympic athletes." Last July the Senate Bill passed. Schumer said, “Our Olympian and Paralympic athletes should be worried about breaking world records, not breaking the bank, when they earn a medal.”
USA Today speculated that this hefty tax bill might not have worried Phelps too much as his net worth has been estimated to be close to $55 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
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