A classic Michael Phelps performance at the Rio Olympics ended the swimming legend's career with 23 Olympic gold medals. It was a fittingly triumphant swansong for Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history who added five golds and a silver in Rio. He finished his career with 28 medals overall. But the swim superstar’s incredible success could come at a heavy price – quite literally!
That’s because the five-time Olympian has racked up an income tax bill of around $55000, according to a USA Today report. The United States Olympic Committee awards all Olympic athletes money for each medal that they win – $25,000 per gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for a bronze.
As per this scale, if you factor in Phelps’ Rio medal tally, he would owe Uncle Sam a cool sum of $55,000.
While the amount does seem outrageous (Rs 36.8 lacs) – especially considering the service that an Olympian who wins a medal does for the country – it is worth noting that Phelps, with a net worth north of 50 million dollars, would hardly feel the strain.
The medals are also accounted for as income and their precious metal value – $600 for gold, $300 for silver and next to nothing for bronze – is taxable. Thankfully, the medals are not accounted for based on their market value.
According to a Washington Post report, ‘Phelps’s medals are worth at least $100,000 a pop, maybe more if they're from an especially noteworthy race. The legend of Michael Phelps, the most awarded Olympic athlete of all time, is worth a whole lot of money.’
But there could be some relief for Phelps’ and other medal-winning Olympians – some of whom could actually use the money – as, according to the Washington Post, the US Congress is deliberating the passage of a legislation that could exempt Olympic winnings from the tax ambit.
And for a lot of these athletes – the ones without sponsorship and product deals – who don’t make any significant earnings from their Olympic inclinations, and with no government subsidisation, the tax break could come as a big relief.