Bay Ridge

Malliotakis says, ‘Don’t tax Olympic medalists’

Assembly member wants state out of winners’ pockets

August 16, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn-born swimmer Lia Neal won a silver medal in Rio. Photo courtesy of Team USA
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Olympic medalists who live in New York might have to contend with something much more difficult than a fierce competitor at Rio, according to state Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, who said that both the federal and state governments are looking to get their hands on some of the winners’ prize money.

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) gives American athletes who win gold medals $25,000. An award of $15,000 is bestowed on athletes for winning a silver medal and $10,000 is given to bronze medalists. 

Tax collectors at the federal and state levels treat the monetary awards as income, which makes them subject to taxation, Malliotakis said.

In addition, gold and silver medalists are taxed for the value of the medals themselves – $564 for gold and $305 for silver.

Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) charged that New York state’s government is too eager to feed what she called an insatiable hunger for tax revenue.

She plans to introduce a bill when the state Legislature goes back into session in January to eliminate the state tax on income earned as an award for Olympic medal recipients. 

“These Olympians bring much pride to our state and nation and they should be celebrated not taxed for their achievements. Most of them do not get endorsement deals but, instead, survive on small stipends and sacrifice much to compete in the games. The state of New York should allow them to keep their hard-earned award money and exempt Olympic awards from income tax,” Malliotakis said in a statement

The New Yorkers who have won medals at the 2016 Olympic Games include Meghan Musnicki in rowing (gold), Emily Regan in rowing (gold), Daryl Homer in fencing (silver), Lia Neal in swimming (silver) and Miles Chamley-Watson in fencing (bronze).   

Malliotakis pointed out that the USOC is a nonprofit organization that receives no direct government funding with the exception of monies given to Para-Olympic military programs. The USOC is sustained primarily through private donations, broadcast rights, merchandise sales and corporate sponsorships.  


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