Rep. Chaffetz: Time for NFL to Start Paying Taxes Like Any Other Business
Did you know that the NFL is considered a nonprofit and not subject to federal taxes?
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told Greta Van Susteren last night that he now wants to change that, saying the league's tax-exempt status no longer passes the "sniff test."
Chaffetz introduced a bill to strip the NFL and NHL of that "carve-out," arguing it's time to tax the leagues just like any other for-profit business in the United States.
A previous attempt was backed in the Senate by Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who has since retired.
Under the current set-up, the NFL and NHL are organized as trade associations — akin to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — in the tax code. Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association don't have tax exemptions.
For the NFL and NHL, that means the league offices are tax-exempt, but not the teams themselves and ticket and jersey sales — a point that league officials defending the exemption have been quick to make.
Even so, the Joint Committee on Taxation said last year that repealing the exemption would raise about $109 million in revenue over a decade. Critics of the leagues' tax status also insist that leagues that can pay officials like NFL commissioner Roger Goodell tens of millions of dollars a year don't need the exemption.
Chaffetz explained that the exemptions originated long ago, before pro sports leagues became the thriving industries they are now.
None rakes in more revenue than the NFL, which was reported to have split up more than $6 billion in revenue amongst its teams last season.
Meantime, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly earned $44 million last year. That sum is subject to taxes.
"They’re a private entity, I want them to be successful, I like watching the NFL but they should have to pay taxes like everybody else and when one person is earning that kind of money, I think it’s a pretty good indication that their not-for-profit status is maybe the wrong status," said Chaffetz.
Chaffetz said he hopes lawmakers will bring Goodell and other commissioners to Congress and let them try to "justify" why they shouldn't have to pay taxes like any other business.
Watch the full interview above, and let us know what you think as you get set for Super Bowl XLIX.