Wherefore dost thou tax me?
Posted by sanityinjection on August 14, 2008
Interesting little story from Reuters regarding an Italian athlete, Francesco D’Aniello, who just won a silver medal in a shooting event at the Beijing Olympics. Apparently, Italy, like a number of countries, offers cash prizes to Italian athletes who win medals. However, those cash prizes are subject to taxation, like other forms of income. So D’Aniello, at a press conference, suggested the Italian government carve out a special tax exemption for Olympic medallists:
“We athletes go through major sacrifices to get to this level. It would be the right thing to do to remove the taxes from what we get here. It would be a very good thing.”
Normally I am inclined to sympathize with anyone who feels their taxes are too high. And I have no doubt that the Italian tax rates are probably higher than ours here in the US. But D’Aniello’s request is fundamentally flawed. Without gainsaying the amount of work and sacrifice that went into his achievement, does D’Aniello really think that athletes are the only ones who devote tremendous hard work and make sacrifices for their professions? How about police, firefighters, soldiers – should they all be tax exempt too? Or maybe D’Aniello thinks he’s more important than they are. The bottom line is, the government bonus for his medal is income, and should be taxed as such. The amount of the bonus was not given, but based on what similar countries pay, it’s probably a six-figure amount.
Of course, the Italian legislature might be wise to at least make a pretense of seriously considering D’Aniello’s suggestion. He is, after all, armed and a crack shot.
How do you say “ungrateful ass” in Italian?