POLL: Should Olympians Have To Pay Taxes On Their Medals? - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

  • Should US Olympians Have To Pay Taxes On Their Winnings In The Winter Games?

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  • POLL: Should Olympians Have To Pay Taxes On Their Medals?

POLL: Should Olympians Have To Pay Taxes On Their Medals?

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The success of US Olympians in the Winter Games has re-ignited a debate:  Should they have to pay taxes on their monetary earnings in Sochi? The success of US Olympians in the Winter Games has re-ignited a debate: Should they have to pay taxes on their monetary earnings in Sochi?
Norwich, VT - The success of US Olympians in the Winter Games has re-ignited a debate:  Should they have to pay taxes on their monetary earnings in Sochi?

Olympian Hannah Kearney is back home in Vermont from Sochi with a bronze medal in Moguls Skiing to go with her gold from Vancouver, and that means she'll have to pay the IRS.

"Taxes are kind of American; not my favorite part of being an American," Kearney told NBC.

Bronze medals come with a $10,000 award from the US Olympic Committee. Silver medalists get $15,000 and gold medals get $25,000. 

And to Uncle Sam, those winnings are earnings; subject to potentially thousands in taxes.

"We get no government funding for our Olympic team and so it seems like sort of a slap in the face to have to pay taxes for doing our best," Kearney said.

A Republican from Texas in the U.S. House has proposed exempting American medalists from paying taxes on their Olympic earnings. A similar proposal emerged in the Senate around the time of the 2012 Summer Games, and President Obama even signaled support. But that idea never even made it to a vote.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont tells us he's a big fan of the many Olympic athletes from his state. But says he's far less focused on their tax bills than he is on major national topics like raising the federal minimum wage.

Kearney says she was incredibly proud to represent the US in Sochi, so she'll do what her country expects of her. Even if that means paying up.
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