Leading Off: Olympic winners should pay taxes on bonuses

08/04/2012 12:00 AM

08/09/2012 9:20 AM

Lawmakers are getting into the Olympic spirit, too, introducing legislation to exempt U.S. athletes from paying taxes on the bonuses they receive when they win a medal.

Medal winners earn $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze and are taxed at about 36 percent, according to Americans for Tax Reform Foundation, plus they are legally required to pay taxes on the value of the medals.

But Reps. Mary Bono Mack, R-Palm Springs, and G.K. Butterfield, D-North Carolina, want to eliminate those taxes.

"Only the U.S. tax code can turn the 'thrill of victory' into the agony of victory," they said in a statement.

But why shouldn't athletes pay taxes on their income like the rest of us?

And don't forget that training for the Olympics isn't cheap; these athletes can deduct unreimbursed expenses, offsetting their tax burdens.

Tonight's prime time

Ch. 3, 8 p.m.-midnight

Swimming: Finals in men's and women's 4x100 medley relays, men's 1,500 freestyle, women's 50 freestyle

Track and field: Finals in women's 100 meters and men's long jump

Diving: Women's springboard semifinals

For more TV listings, see Page C2; for a detailed schedule of events and complete TV listings, go to sacbee.com/olympics.

Locals watch

Stephanie Brown Trafton, Galt, track and field: The discus thrower had the fifth-best mark – 212 feet, 10 inches – in Friday's qualifying to advance to today's final at 11:30 a.m. PDT.

James Williams, Sacramento, fencing: Williams won one of his six matches in team sabre, and the United States finished last among the eight teams.

Megan Rapinoe, Redding, soccer: The U.S. women defeated New Zealand 2-0 in the quarterfinals and will play Canada in the semifinals Monday at 1:45 p.m. PDT.

Medal leaders

Team G S B T

United States 21 10 12 43

China 20 13 9 42

Russia 3 12 8 23

Britain 8 6 8 22

Japan 2 8 11 21

See Scoreboard on Page C7 for complete medal standings.

Weekend poll

Should U.S. athletes continue to pay taxes on their Olympic bonuses?

Yes

No

Vote above or leave your comments in the comments field; or go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Friday's results

Will the '72 U.S. men's basketball team ever be awarded gold medals?

Yes: 14%

No: 86%

Total votes: 103

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