The USA is the only country that levies income tax on prizes won anywhere in the world by any American citizen.
An Olympic gold medal must, by charter, must be made of 92.5% silver and 6 grams of gold. Gold is running about $1600 per ounce and silver is $28 per ounce. Making each gold award medal worth about $1000. Add to that the prize money of $25,000 a gold medal win fetches and suddenly the 17 year-old, 4' 11" gymnast Gabby Douglas is staring at a tax bill just shy of $10,000.
The other medals are likewise subject to the income tax. Silver medals bear a gross income liability of about $15,500 and bronze a paltry $12,000. Each medal win.
Athletes like Michael Phelps of course have accrued quite the IRS tax bill given his astonishing record 21 medal achievement.
The ultimate point is pretty simple. Why does the US punish amateur athletes who are always usually born to families near subsistence levels? The USA gains as much prestige from their efforts as the athletes themselves. The token and paltry monies garnered from these amateur wonders seems cruel and unusual punishment doesn't it?
But then, this is America, land of the free and home of the predatory and corrupt IRS.
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