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Sen. Tom Coburn Calls Out NFL, NHL, PGA for Operating as Non-Profits

Earlier this year, we told you about how the NFL was operating as a “nonprofit” despite bringing in $9 billion in revenue per year and paying its commissioner $10 million per year (which will increase to $20 million per year by 2019).

This month, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) issued his “Wastebook 2012” detailing various examples of “wasteful spending and special interest deals, mismanagement, wasteful spending and special interest deals.”

Among them?

Sports leagues like the NFL and NHL that take advantage of nonprofit status to exempt themselves from paying federal income taxes.

From Coburn’s Wastebook:

The National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), and the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) classify themselves as non-profit organizations to exempt themselves from federal income taxes on earnings. Smaller sports leagues, such as the National Lacrosse League, are also using the tax status. Taxpayers may be losing at least $91 million subsidizing these tax loopholes for professional sports leagues that generate billions of dollars annually in profits. Taxpayers should not be asked to subsidize sports organizations already benefiting widely from willing fans and turning a
profit, while claiming to be non-profit organizations.

Sen. Coburn and his office estimate that taxpayers could save a whopping $91 million by closing these tax loopholes. Kudos to Sen. Coburn for calling out the leagues for shirking their responsibilities to taxpayers who have generously subsidized stadiums and offered legal and antitrust exemptions in addition to these tax exemptions.

We agree with Coburn: “Hardworking taxpayers should not be forced to provide funding to offset tax giveaways to lucrative major professional sports teams and leagues.”

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