For Canadians Who Win Olympic Gold, Hefty Taxes Are Incoming

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Own the podium? Then you're going to owe the CRA.

As national treasure Penny Oleksiak brings home gold, silver and bronze, each of Oleksiak's medals will be serving the teen with a sizeable tax bill, courtesy of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

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Gold medalist Penny Oleksiak of Canada poses during the medal ceremony for the women's 100-metre freestyle. (Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Thanks to the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), every Canadian medal won in Rio translates into thousands of dollars in winnings. Olympic gold, silver, and bronze net $20,000, $15,000, and $10,000 respectively, which are funded from COC's Athlete Excellence Fund. So far, Canada's Olympic medal count totals enough for over $180,000 to be awarded.

Under the Income Tax Act, all prize earnings in Canada are taxable, excluding lottery winnings. The act classifies Olympic bonuses as income, Yahoo! Finance reports, meaning medallists won't be able to keep every loonie from their Olympic wins.

andre de grasse
Canadian runner Andre de Grasse poses with his bronze medal during the podium ceremony for the men's 100-metre race. (Photo: Getty)

Although these tax deductions might sting athletes' wallets, financial analyst Moore Mann told Yahoo! Finance policymakers probably won't be amending the law in medallists' favour any time soon.

“In the whole scheme of things, it’s such a minor thing… the dollar amounts are small so do they want to except out such small amounts? Probably not,” he told Yahoo! Finance. “But from a greater societal issue should they? Well that part is debatable.”

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Gold medallist Rosannagh Maclennan of Canada reacts after winning the women's trampoline gymnastics. (Photo: Getty)

Canadian medallists will need all the financial help they can get. For competitors too obscure for commercial sponsorships, the Olympic lifestyle doesn't translate to big dollars. A 2014 Sports Canada study revealed that the average Canadian athlete spends $13,900 more per year than they make. Since 2004, those training for the Olympics subsist on a monthly stipend, which can be as low as $1,500, the Toronto Sun reports.

At least Canadian athletes aren't getting taxed like their U.S. counterparts, who must pay taxes based on their earnings as well as a "podium value" deduction for their medals, Forbes reports. These values depend on how heavy the medallions are and the current market worth of the precious metals they're made of.

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USA's Michael Phelps kisses his gold medal on the podium after Team USA won the men's 4x200-metre freestyle relay final. (Photo: Getty)

As the most decorated Olympian of all time, U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps will owe an Olympic amount. His five gold and one silver medals will cost him around C$70,700.

Paralympic medallists will not be facing any tax deductions. That's because the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) does not award any money to athletes for their Paralympic podium standings.

"At this time, Canadian Paralympic athletes do not receive a monetary bonus if they win medals at the Paralympics," CPC spokesperson Alison Korn wrote in a statement to Huffington Post Canada. "Unfortunately we do not have the fundraising resources to be able to do so."

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