Tags: nfl | nonprofit | tax | status

Lawmakers Push to End NFL's Nonprofit Status

Friday, 31 Jan 2014 01:13 PM

By Courtney Coren

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As Americans get ready to watch the Super Bowl Sunday, Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Angus King of Maine are working to end the National Football League's nonprofit status.

The office of the NFL is categorized by the Internal Revenue Service as a nonprofit organization that benefits from the same tax exemptions as other business leagues and trade associations, CNN reported.

The exemptions are supposed to be for groups that represent a trade, but the two senators argue that they don't represent football in general, but only the NFL.

"The tax code specifically says, in terms of trade associations — you can't promote any brand," Republican Coburn told CNN. "And they promote all the brands within the NFL only."

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"The NFL doesn't promote college football, high school football, arena football — it's a group of teams," added King, an Independent.

They are pushing to end the NFL's $9 billion per year tax-exempt status with their bill.

"This is a directed tax cut that to the league office, which means every other American pays a little bit more every year because we give the NFL league office a tax break and call them a non-profit," Coburn told CNN. "In fact, they're not."

The NFL's position is not helped by the fact that its commissioner makes $29 million per year, CNN noted.

"If this is truly a tax exempt organization, how is that 20 percent of the revenue that comes in goes to one individual in the organization?" Coburn asked.

The non-profit status for the NFL was part of a deal that was granted by Congress in the 1960s as an effort to stabilize the sport, which also allowed the NFL and the American Football League to merge, The Atlantic reported.

"The merger was good for the sport, stabilizing pro football while ensuring quality of competition," wrote football commentator Gregg Easterbrook for The Atlantic. "But Congress gave away the store to the NFL while getting almost nothing for the public in return."

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