Monday, August 8, 2022
Following the Supreme Court’s decision in National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston, 594 U.S. ___ (2021), the NCAA started allowing college athletes to accept payments for use of their name, image and likeness, effective July 1, 2021. That change in policy has created a host of various compliance issues, such as trademark licensing issues. It also has created tax issues for the student-athletes. Frank Messina (Alabama) and Marena M. Messina (Alabama) address the basics in their article “A Primer on the Income Tax Consequences of the NCAA’s Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) Earnings for College Athletes,” 4 Journal of Athletic Development and Experience 189 (2022). From the article's abstract: "Athletes must learn to understand the tax rules associated with the income from the NIL.” Click the "continue reading" button for the full abstract .
NCAA domestic college athletes can now financially benefit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). The purpose of this article is to educate athletes on the new NIL rules in financial literacy. With new NIL income flowing to athletes, federal income tax consequences of these transactions must be addressed. This article results in a detailed introduction to the applicable federal tax rules regarding NIL income for athletes to stay in compliance with those laws. From understanding NIL income, to how the tax formula works, what tax forms apply, and what taxes may be due, this article provides a comprehensive toolkit for athletes who will be financially benefiting from NIL. Athletes must learn to understand the tax rules associated with the income from the NIL. In general, most athletes earning equal to or less than $12,550 in NIL income should have no federal income tax due. However, athletes likely must fill out tax returns, and as self-employed taxpayers, may owe self-employment taxes. Most athletes have spent many hours weekly and yearly mastering the sport and more than likely not as much time holding jobs. As such, there is a lack of basic understanding of the United States’ income tax system.