TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Why the NFL Gave Up Its Nonprofit Status: To Escape Scrutiny

NFLVox, Why the NFL Just Gave Up Its Nonprofit Status: To Escape Scrutiny:

For years, the NFL's tax-exempt status has been the subject of scrutiny and ridicule. To many people, the fact that a league headed by a commissioner making $44 million a year was categorized as a nonprofit was absurd.

On Tuesday, Richard Rubin at Bloomberg reports, the NFL has finally decided to shed its tax-exempt status. As a result, it will pay an estimated $10 million or so per year in taxes.

But it's important to put this number in the proper context: the league's teams pull in about $9.5 billion per year, nearly a thousand times as much. And since 2000, US taxpayers have spent an estimated $3.9 billion on stadiums for these teams.

The NFL's decision to give up its tax-exempt status isn't some noble recognition of the tax burden it's unfairly been shirking. It's a calculated move to pay a relatively small fee to avoid scrutiny and preempt possible Congressional action.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/04/-why-the-nfl-gave-up-its-nonprofit-status-.html

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Comments

The "NFL is tax-exempt" story was pure sensationalism, intended to mislead readers into believing that all of professional football was tax-exempt rather than just 3% of it. The real scandal is stadium subsidies, not this.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Apr 29, 2015 6:41:44 AM

Agreed, AMT.

Posted by: Mike Petrik | Apr 29, 2015 11:18:00 AM

Well said AMTbuff, well said.

Posted by: HTA | Apr 29, 2015 4:35:26 PM