Missy Franklin owes $21,000 in taxes for medals: Should Olympians be exempt?

Categories: Politics, Sports

Thumbnail image for missy franklin excited cropped.jpg
Missy Franklin.
Whenever an athlete is as successful, and as charming, as Centennial's Missy Franklin has been, politicians will attempt to latch on. Witness Mitt Romney name-checking her at a Jefferson County Fairgrounds appearance yesterday. Another example? A call by Senator Marco Rubio (often mentioned as a possible Romney running mate) to exempt Olympians like Franklin from having to pay taxes on cash prizes that accompany medals.

As noted by Fox31, Olympic medalists don't just come home with new baubles to wear around their neck. They also receive greenbacks whose number is determined by where they placed: $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. These amounts are taxed at a 35 percent rate, meaning that the IRS takes $8,986, $5,385 and $3,500, respectively, right off the top. Using these figures, Franklin figures to owe over $21,000 to date for her two golds and a bronze.

marco rubio.jpg
Marco Rubio.
That's outrageous in the view of Rubio, who's introduced a bill that would exempt Olympians from having to pay. As quoted in the USA Today item linked here, he says, "Our tax code is a complicated and burdensome mess that too often punishes success, and the tax imposed on Olympic medal winners is a classic example of this madness. Athletes representing our nation overseas in the Olympics shouldn't have to worry about an extra tax bill waiting for them back home."

American athletes don't get the majority of their support from the government; the U.S. Olympic Committee is principally funded by sponsorships rather than the feds, unlike similar organizations in many other countries.

Still, most of them aren't competing for the money -- especially not Franklin, who has turned down sponsorship opportunities to retain her amateur status, thereby allowing her to compete for her high school, Regis Jesuit, after the games are over. Imagine how tight, or not, those races will be.

True, only a handful of her peers will get such offers. For them, the experience of competing on a global stage is the only reward they'll receive -- and it's a big one.

Nonetheless, everyone loves a winner -- and Rubio's measure allows him to soak up some of the reflected glory from Franklin and company while at the same time enhancing his reputation as a tax cutter. That's smart politics no matter where the legislation finishes.

Here's a look at Rubio's bill.

Marco Rubio Olympics Bill

More from our Sports archive: "Missy Franklin wins Olympic gold -- and tweet from Justin Bieber."

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60 comments
RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

Here is another instance in which your desire to write a provocative headline has gotten the better of you.  Nothing in the article supports the headline's claim that Missy Franklin owes taxes on her medals, and the amount cited as being owed on her medals is what she owes on her cash prizes instead.  Rubio, like other Republicans, seeks to confuse the issue and to seem to attack taxation itself.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

She shouldn't have to pay for her weed either !!!

stevebeast
stevebeast

it apears she has reached the republicans threshold of better than everyyone elso, so of course she shouldnt have to pay taxes, its outragous to expect the exceptional or the succesful to pay taxes.

Megan Mulligan
Megan Mulligan

It's awesome that Missy did such an amazing job, and that she is charismatic and young. However, just like everyone in this country - she has to pay taxes on money she earns/wins (I believe that would be "equality"). Taxes are not always bad. They help everyone in one way or another. If you don't like the taxes that happen - vote to change what is taxed, or how our taxes are utilized. But do not take away our country's equality because of some warped view of success and accomplishment.

Allen Gonzales
Allen Gonzales

tax her what makes her so special in that case exempt me cause I'm Latino

Paul Vincent Saurini
Paul Vincent Saurini

Why exempt them? What have the done? The american citizenship is TAXED. Why do they get a free pass???? Um, NO!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Perhaps Mitt the multi-millionaire mormon Romney can help her hide the $$ in one of his many secret overseas bank accounts ?

 

That's a lot easier than changing the tax code for a tiny special-interest group.

.

ltjrbf
ltjrbf

All of her friends working summer jobs will pay taxes on her income, and so should Missy Franklin.  Why do republicans feel only the rich and exceptional should be exempt from their civic duty?

Steven Gurule
Steven Gurule

I love how this wast an issue last year. Pay your taxes and move on. If they forgo working to train then they don't pay taxes 3 out of the four years anyways. And to all the people bitching about where Romney keeps HIS money, ask yourself this, where would you keep your money considering how poorly long term savings accounts are performing here? considering how up and down the stock market is? An to bill black, you sit are the epitome of an idiot. Also the tax on the medals is based on your income so a 17 year old high school student won't have to pay $9,000 for a gold medal.

StillMM2
StillMM2

No, Michael.  Missy Franklin's winning stipend will be taxed as income and she will pay the same marginal rate as if she made this in Salary.  She will  also be able to deduct any direct business expenses like coaching costs, travel, lodging and any swimwear that isn't  dontaed by a sponsor or provided by the USOC/IOC.  The only way Franklin will pay 35% on her medals is if she is already bumped into the top tax bracket due to any endorsement deals.

 

Bottom line, Missy Franklin made good money through her hard work.  Good for her.  Just because it's the Olympics doesn't make it any more magical than someone who made that money playing football, or selling software or running an auto body shop.

Bill Black
Bill Black

If Mitt didn't pay taxes on the millions and millions of dollars he stashed in his Swiss bank account why should Missy pay? Billionaires, millionaires and corporations like Bain Capital don't pay taxes, why should Missy? She shouldn't.

Sergei Krivenkov
Sergei Krivenkov

Those greedy f**king Olympians, ughhh... They'll probably just hoard it into a Swiss Bank account anyways. Okay, end the sarcasm. My guess is that these athletes need a lot of time to train and probably give up full time jobs. I can imagine that the trainers for these events aren't cheap either. Just give them the break, this isn't a partisan issue either.

Mandy Mayo
Mandy Mayo

Soldiers are not taxed in war zones.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

And yet the Stoners invite and beg the U$ Government to TAX their precious herb.

 

 

thebruce68
thebruce68

Not sure if it is sour grapes, jealousy, or what but wow what a negative attitude!  Let's find a way to rain on everyone's parade!

 

Regis Jesuit where she attends school is in Aurora.  I don't see anything wrong with a little community pride.  Used to be something to be proud of.  These days there are far too many "haters" who are maladjusted and just can't seem to find a way to be happy for others.  I'm glad the auto dealership decided to celebrate the win.

 

I don't see any relevant correlation between a gambler and an athlete.  It is sad when a world is so cynical that having integrity and hope equals "blah, blah, blah."  The Olympics used to mean something. Now it's equal to gambling and blah, blah, blah.

 

Personally, I dont think athletes should have to pay taxes on their medals.  It's another example of government taking something they didn't earn.  If it is fair for them to pay taxes, then why not tax them at their income bracket?  A high school kid heavily involved in sports probably doesn't have any other income, so tax her on $25,000 in the $25,000 income bracket which is fairly low.  35% is the rate the 1% have to pay as "rich".  Taxing Olympic athletes in this bracket is punishing success.  I guess if you sympathize with the OWS haters crowd 35% on someone who accomplishes something for their country, they should be punished to the fullest extent.

 

Daniel.  Please cite your research that they do not pay taxes.  NBC and MSNBC, hardly champions of Marco Rubio and conservatives are reporting the taxes Olympic medal winners pay.

 

Cheers to our athletes! I appreciate the hope you bring!  Thank you to Marco Rubio for standing up for what it right.  I wish more people would stand for what is right and not hating those who work hard and earn success.

kwame
kwame

ughhhhh, for the last time, NOBODY SHOULD PAY INCOME TAX.

 

Everyone should listen to Patrice O'Neal's "Mr.P" album that was released after he died. Listen to the "Reparations." track. Income Tax makes us all SLAVES. 

Daniel
Daniel

Jesus, Michael, you swallowed this right-wing talking point hook, line and sinker. Do your research -- most Olympians will pay no tax on their winnings. I can't believe you fell for this.

Douglas Holbrook
Douglas Holbrook

In typical lying sack of shit Fox/Rubio/Nordquist fashion, they have misrepresented the facts. (1) the tax rate on the income would be 35% only if this "amateur's" taxable income was in excess of $388,351. (2) she can take her costs related to her swimming (travel, coaches, pool fees, etc.) against that $60K of income. Also, she has a standard deduction and personal exemption which reduce her taxable income by another $9,750. Put it all together and her taxable income is certainly zero. Then, for you conservatives, I'll have to run the rest of the numbers. $0 taxable income * 35% = $0 in taxes.

Josh Court
Josh Court

Fuck yeah Matt. Lets make soilders exempt if anyone.

Matt Baca
Matt Baca

Soldiers deployed in war zones are taxed on their income, so I don't know why we'd entertain letting Olympians avoid income taxes when we usher our soliders back home through the back door, with no parades or recognition for their sacrifice, but athletes are venerated like returning conquerors. Pay your taxes, you are a talented athlete, but you aren't above the rest of us.

brianafrederick
brianafrederick

haha - I saw a car dealership on Havana that has "Missy Franklin - Aurora's Golden Child" on their marquee. Funny, she swims and goes to school some 20 miles away, but Aurora has those funny city lines and what-not. Anyone will jump to capitalize on someone else's success - it is America after all.

 

But to boot, any "good" (read: lucky) gambler that goes home with any winnings also has to pay taxes. Are we not also targeting success in that respect as well? There are people out there who spend years trying to perfect their poker game, roulette strategy or blackjack skills to walk away in the positive numbers from tables. If we don't tax gold medalists then should we also not tax gamblers? I get it, they bring hope and integrity and blah blah blah whatever shroud you want to call it, but there are people who get taxed fiercely because of success in the same respect. (Please, spare me the comments of republicans vs. democrats and let's tax the rich...it's rather...taxing. Get it?) 

 

Tax them yes, because she will get college paid for, cars thrown at her, clothes for life and the best box seats money can't buy for any sporting event she wants for the rest of her life. Having her pay a small sum isn't going to kill her, like it does for the rest of America.

 

But seriously, go USA!

 

 

Katy Atkinson
Katy Atkinson

No wonder Kristy Yamaguchi is helping Mitt Romney.

Richard A. Reed
Richard A. Reed

Ok, so Missy got $60,000 for her 2 golds and 1 bronze. Minus $21,000 for taxes leaves her with $39,000. As others have said--if you win the lottery you have to pay tax on it. I don't see why it should be any different for Olympians.

Lou Santos
Lou Santos

Put her in the slammer! *evil laugh, rubbing hands together*

Nicole Johnson
Nicole Johnson

@Brandice- normally you would be correct but this Olympian in particular has accepted no endorsements so she can remain an amateur and continue to swim in college. Not arguing your point just stating in this case she isn't making $$ off endorsements.

Eileen Lambert
Eileen Lambert

In the article: As noted by Fox31, Olympic medalists don't just come home with new baubles to wear around their neck. They also receive greenbacks whose number is determined by where they placed: $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze.

Zack Lewis
Zack Lewis

its not prize money.. they are taxed on the value of the medal

Zack Lewis
Zack Lewis

its not a lottery ticket... its not their lucky day... wtf people these kids earn that medal, shouldnt some things be sacred? shouldnt we hold something in higher reguards than money..

Tylr Tre
Tylr Tre

I mean she gets 25,000 in prize money for every gold medal...why shouldn't she pay taxes like the rest of us??

Eric Pidgeon
Eric Pidgeon

21,000?!?! Jesus, she represents the US in the best possible way and we fucking reward her with this.

Eileen Lambert
Eileen Lambert

It's a tax on income not on the medal itself. We all have to pay it, no matter our job. Change the law, but don't exempt arbitrarily for headlines.

Mike Milos
Mike Milos

I say exempt them, but if they sell it it should have to be taxed then.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @StillMM2  

 

Is it "earned income" -- wages and salary -- or  "unearned income" -- winnings ?

 

 

malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16 topcommenter

 @DonkeyHotay Just like alcohol and tobacco; only on comercial sales.

 

During alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, all profits went to enrich thugs and criminals. Young men died every day on inner-city streets while battling over turf. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have gone on treatment. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally the economy collapsed. Sound familiar?

 

brianafrederick
brianafrederick

 @thebruce68 FYI Marco Rubio is not working hard to earn success. He's obviously just making a name for himself by doing an asinine chore. It worked though I suppose. Any media is good media. WTG Rubio, you get the gold medal!

brianafrederick
brianafrederick

 @thebruce68 If you could see my living room you'd be aware that I'm nothing but USA and Olympian pride. Hell, I even put a tongue-in-cheek sign on my faucet that says "USA Only" We had a huge party for the opening ceremony. *Ye, and it was good.*

 

I went to Smoky Hill and (when it was an all boys school) had many friends that went to Regis, and foes, but really - capitalizing on someone else's success (or woes, as Aurora is also going through) is just tacky. 

 

I put gamblers and Olympians in the same theory because gamblers also spend their entire lives 'training' for what they want to be good at. They're taxed just as much as everyone else should be. You should have caught on to that. It wasn't a hard comparison. What we should worry about is the thousands of millionaires who have decided to NOT be American anymore so they can save millions of dollars in taxes. Missy will be taken care of, trust me. America's penchant for loving celebrity will assure her a good life no matter where it takes her after the games. Do I have home pride? yes, but not just in a locale. 

 

But seriously bruce, you keep bottom feeding. After all, that's kind of why we're in the predicament we're in right now isn't?

kwameBstupid
kwameBstupid

 @kwame So are YOU going to pay for the roads, the police, the fire department, the libraries, the schools, public transportation, and social services?  Jesus, every time these anti-tax idiots open their mouths or type a sentence, they just appear more and more retarded.

brianafrederick
brianafrederick

...oh and trying to capitalize on other's successes? Bottom feeder award of the year goes to... here's looking at you Marco Rubio.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @malcolmkyle16 

 

-- A64 does NOT allow private sales between consenting adults.

 

.

 

 

kwame
kwame

 @kwameBstupid Yes I will pay for ALL those services just like I do now, only in a free market where competition allows me to choose who I want in charge of those public services. You are in mental bondage, unlearn these things before its too late. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @kwameBstupid  

 

HipTip: There are Nations that do not have income taxes, and they manage to pay for "roads, the police, the fire department, the libraries, the schools, public transportation, and social services."

 

There are many more nations -- the MAJORITY -- that do NOT treat their citizens as indentured slaves by taxing their OVERSEAS earnings.

 

hth.

ltjrbf
ltjrbf

...and then you woke up, right?

kwame
kwame

 @DonkeyHotay Exactly. Real wealth is derived from real ownership. As long as the Government has a right to our private property, on behalf of the ruling class, we are fucked. The US Constitution can save us all. 

ltjrbf
ltjrbf

 @DonkeyHotay Which countries are these?  And may I see the conditions of their roads/fire departments?  

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