Barletta Votes to Protect Olympic Medals from Taxation

Sep 22, 2016
Press Release
Legislation Prevents IRS from Taxing Medals Won by U.S. Olympians

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today backed legislation that prohibits the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from taxing medals and awards won by Americans competing in the Olympics or Paralympics.  The U.S. Olympic Committee currently awards each American athlete $25,000 for each gold medal, $15,000 for each silver, and $5,000 for each bronze.  U.S. Paralympics receive $5,000 for a gold medal, $3,500 for silver, and $2,500 for bronze.  Additionally, the medals themselves have market value based on the metal contained within them.  Under today’s IRS regulations, those awards and medals are treated as income and subjected to federal taxation.  The United States Appreciation for Olympians and Paralympians Act (H.R. 5946) removes the awards and medals from taxation, unless the athlete has an income in excess of $1 million.  The legislation is retroactive to include the recently completed Olympics in Rio.  The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 415-to-1 and now heads to the Senate, which has a similar bill. 

Barletta issued the following statement:

“Our athletes train their entire lives for a chance to fulfill their dreams of competing in the Olympics, making untold sacrifices along the way.  Many of them are competing in events that will never offer professional opportunities outside of amateur athletics, meaning the Olympic games represent the pinnacle of their chosen sport.  While they are pursuing their own goals of excellence, it is inconceivable that the IRS would come to take a bite of the fruits of their labors.  This bill is aimed primarily at the athlete who will never become rich off of the sport, and is truly competing for the love of competition.”