There are two big sports stories this week that drew my attention.
First, let’s consider the plight of the multi-million dollar athlete and his tax bill.
There are numerous difficulties that come from being a professional athlete in America.
For one, you have to figure out how to spend your millions. That takes time, and research, and sometimes it is all too much and you just pop for something stupid, like a house with 14 bathrooms.
But another taxing aspect of being a professional athlete in America is taxes. However, that problem is about to get easier.
Presently, professional athletes are required to pay state income taxes in every state in which they play a game (assuming that state charges an income tax). For NBA players, for instance, they must file a state tax form in approximately 30 states, because they play at least one game a year, and spend at least one day a year, in each of those states in a professional capacity.
It’s called a Jock Tax. While it is very lucrative for the states involved, it is ridiculous from a fairness standpoint, because traveling salesmen or corporate representatives are not required to file such taxes when they leave their home state to ply their trade.
The calculations required to pay those taxes certainly gave accountants something to do, as they tried to determine just how much of the calendar year was spent in each location in order to calculate the fair tax amount to pay. But there is no way such a levy can be seen as fair.
Such jock taxes may be on the way out.
SportsBusiness Daily has reported that the National Hockey League Players Association negotiated a $3.32 million settlement with the Tennessee Department of Revenue to get back about half of what NHL players paid in jock taxes from 2009 to 2012. Since 2013, the NHL has actually paid the tax on behalf of the players as a result of the 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement, but the new settlement will provide checks to about 850 current and former NHL players in amounts range from $1,250 to $11,250.
Tennessee and Ohio courts have curtailed or repealed the Jock Taxes on professional athletes, while NBA players have filed a similar suit against Tennessee to get back some of its previously paid tax funds.
Let’s just assume similar legal maneuvers will take place in the other states of the union who do the same thing. As a result, multi-million dollar athletes will be able to keep more of their hard-earned riches to order to buy more homes with more bathrooms.
So let’s move on to the second big sports story of the week, that being the news that a new stadium is being built in London to house the Tottenham soccer club, which is currently playing in the English Premier League.
But what’s important about this stadium is that it is being designed to also host National Football League games. With retractable grass fields, one designed for soccer and one for football, as well as seating arrangements that can be altered for the two sports, this is the first effort being made outside the United States to attract and properly host an NFL game.
The NFL has already agreed to play two regular season games a year in the Tottenham stadium, but this is seen as a precursor of the league actually putting a franchise in London in the near future. In fact, if there was ever a clear harbinger of future events, this is it.
The NFL will put a team in London in the next 10 years. You can book it.