(WASHINGTON) — Mitt Romney, who often touts his role spearheading the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, supports plans to exempt U.S. Olympic athletes from paying federal taxes on the medals and prize money they win during the Olympics, an advisor to Romney told reporters Thursday.
“He believes that there should be no taxation of the type that you’re describing on their hardware,” Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior advisor to Romney, told reporters on a conference call Thursday when asked if Romney would support a plan to end federal taxes on Olympic medals and prize money.
Under U.S. tax law, the athletes must add the value of their Olympic medals and prizes to their taxable income, and are taxed at a rate of 35 percent by the IRS.
Americans for Tax Reform found that the value of a gold medal is about $675, meaning that an athlete could be on the hook for a $236 extra tax burden.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced such a plan in the Senate Wednesday, saying Olympic athletes should not be punished for their achievements.
“We need a fundamental overhaul of our tax code, but we shouldn’t wait any time we have a chance to aggressively fix ridiculous tax laws like this tax on Olympians’ medals and prize money,” 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.”
Rubio’s bill, if taken up and passed in Congress, would apply to awards won after Dec. 31, 2011.
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Tal Kopan and Evan Perez, CNN
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Herb Scribner, Deseret News
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