Monday, July 22, 2013

Tennessee's 'Jock Tax'

For sports-loving CPAs, here's an interesting article from Grantland on Tennessee's "jock tax" and how it affects players who play for or against the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies and the NHL's Nashville Predators.

NFL players are exempt despite the presence of the Tennessee Titans. (To add to the confusion, the "poster boy" for the fight against the tax is former Grizzlies guard Chris Johnson, not to be confused with his Titans counterpart.)

Tennessee's law requires any NBA or NHL player who is on a team's roster during a game in Tennessee to pay a flat tax of $2,500 per game, with a maximum of three games. Johnson could be the point man for repeal efforts because of his relatively low pay — he earned $54,000 for two 10-day contracts and paid $7,500 for the tax.

As Grantland's Zach Lowe points out, the money doesn't go to the state, but rather to the operators of the arenas in Memphis and Nashville. In the Grizzlies' case, that's the owners of the team. Lowe also points out that the NHL has agreed to reimburse players for the money they pay for the Tennessee tax, which amounts to about $2 million per season.

New York State Society of CPAs member Daniel Mazzola, CPA, has written a more in-depth primer on the topic. He refers to the Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act, which the VSCPA has supported.

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