Winning a medal at the Olympics is not only a great personal achievement and something that is admired and celebrated by entire nations, but also an achievement that comes with a financial bonus. Peter Bowal summarized these winnings:
For Canadian medalists: $20,000 (gold), $15,000 (silver) and $10,000 (bronze).
American medalists receive $5000 more for each gold medal.
Singapore pays $1 million for a gold medal (not yet won). That country has won only 4 medals in its history, two of which (both bronze, paying $250,000 each) were earned in London 2012 in table tennis by a foreign-born athlete.
In the U.K., gold medalists get their faces on a postage stamp which, while much harder to tax, seems to have served as adequate incentive for Team G.B.
These winnings are taxed, although this fact may be challenged in the US in the fall. At the same time, others argue that athletes don’t deserve more tax breaks. A recent article in the Globe and Mail, “Faster, higher, richer: Should Olympic medal winners be taxed?” examines this issue.
But what about other activities where people win and lose; if winning Olympians are taxed, then what about poker champions?
“Gambling with your Taxes: Are Gambling Winnings a “Prize” Under the Income Tax Act?” looks at this issue. Is gambling a business and are wins and losses taxable or deductible?