Why doesn't the NFL pay taxes?
The IRS sees it as a nonprofit, but Sen. Tom Coburn's new bill aims to sack that tax-exempt status. Good luck, senator.
The conservative Republican yesterday introduced The Pro Sports Act, a bill that would prohibit sports organizations with annual revenue of more than $10 million from enjoying the same tax-exempt status that trade associations and public interest groups enjoy.
If passed, his bill would affect a variety of sports groups such as golf's PGA Tour, the National Hockey League and tennis' ATP World Tour, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Interestingly, it wouldn't apply to Major League Baseball, which gave up its tax-exempt status in 2007, or to the National Basketball Association, which is a for-profit business, the publication says.
In a press release announcing his quixotic effort, Coburn noted that "working Americans are paying artificially high rates in order to subsidize special breaks for sports leagues. This is hardly fair."
Coburn is right, of course, but his bill has as much chance of prevailing in Congress as the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars have of winning the Super Bowl. Professional football is by far the country's most popular sport, and it has plenty of fans in the U.S. Congress. One reason Coburn can launch his quest to right this fiscal wrong is that his state doesn't have a pro team.
Technically, the NFL is a trade association that promotes the interest of its 32 clubs, a notion that strikes Businessweek as ridiculous. "This is a bit like McDonald’s (MCD) calling itself a trade association promoting the interests of its 14,000 U.S. restaurants," it says.
The NFL has it good for many other reasons. Congress granted it an antitrust exemption in 1966 so the American Football League could merge with the NFL. And many of the league's stadiums are funded with the help of taxpayers. For instance, the Atlanta Falcons' planned $1 billion new stadium is set to get about $200 million in public funding.
It has been said before, but it's worth saying again: The U.S. tax code is overly complex and patently unfair. The tax-exempt status of the NFL is a case in point.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
Why wouldn't this pass in Congress? If them being sports fans makes them incapable of doing the right thing then I suggest they all resign and let us replace them with people who will. I'll gladly do the job myself and I won't let my personal hobbies cloud the decisions I make that are supposed to be best for the people.
The fact is that the NFL is not a nonprofit, it generates absurd amounts of revenue and is big business. The fact that so many major sports (golf, tennis and hockey) are all tax-exempt is criminal. We are sitting here while people get furloughed and lose their jobs due to budget issues and we have industries who generate billions in revenue who don't pay taxes.
I know there is more to it than this, but we need some serious work done in this country:
1) tax codes need to be fixed and fair
2) political parties need to quit bickering and work for the people
3) entitlement programs need a desperate overhaul
I could go on, but if we don't start addressing these things soon we are going to continue to decline as a nation. We are no longer one of the happiest nations, our education levels have been declining, our jobs are becoming lower paying/skill and the economy is in bad shape with wages stagnating and the cost of living increasing. Meanwhile, the federal bank refuses to quit printing money because god forbid the stock market and the ultra wealthy take a hit. Why can the rest of us suffer? The economy isn't measured by the stock market, people aren't spending because we can't even resolve basic issues in this country right now.
Politicians and Wall Street need a serious wake up call.
Damn bastards stealing everything that is not welded down!
This is just another way that I see my paycheck dwindle to half before I even get to cash it, while the fatcats and welfare trash continue to spend my tax dollars!
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