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Cost of Government: How Many NFL Games Are Needed to Pay Home Game State Tax Liability?


Posted by Matt Blumenfeld on Thursday, August 1st, 2013, 9:04 AM PERMALINK


With training camp for each of the NFL’s franchises underway, rookies and veterans have signed lucrative contracts with new or current teams around the league. While many first-year players join their new team expecting to make millions in their professional debuts, the truth of the matter is the part of their paycheck for their first game will go directly to the state tax collectors.

As Americans for Tax Reform points out in the chart below, NFL players can expect the state to collect taxes from the first few quarters of their first home game of the regular season before they begin to keep their earnings. Some of key findings include:

  • NFL players in California must play one game and a quarter into their second home game just to pay off their home game state tax liability.
  • The Minnesota Vikings have the second highest tax rate – 9.85 percent – due to Gov. Dayton’s recent income tax hike.
  • Players on teams based in Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington are able to keep their earnings from the start of the regular season due to no state income tax.

State

Team(s)

Combined State and Local Income Tax Rate

Home Games Played to Pay State Tax Liability

Ariz.

Cardinals

4.54%

2 quarters

Calif.

49ers

Chargers

Raiders

13.3%

1 Game + Half a quarter

Colo.

Broncos

4.63% + $5.75 per month on income earned over $500 in Denver

2 quarters

Fla.

Buccaneers

Dolphins

Jaguars

0%

0 Games

Ga.

Falcons

6%

2 quarters

Ill.

Bears

5%

2 quarters

Ind.

Colts

3.4%

1 quarter

La.

Saints

6%

2 quarters

Md.

Ravens

Redskins

8.8%

7.822%

3 quarters

3 quarters

Mass.

Patriots

5.25%

2 quarters

Mich.

Lions

5.5%

2 quarters

Minn.

Vikings

9.85%

3 quarters

Mo.

Chiefs

Rams

7%

7%

2 quarters

2 quarters

N.J.

Giants

Jets

8.97%

8.97%

3 quarters

3 quarters

N.Y.

Bills

8.82%

3 quarters

N.C.

Panthers

7.75%

3 quarters

Ohio

Bengals

Browns

8.025%

7.925%

3 quarters

3 quarters

Pa.

Eagles

Steelers

7.05%

6.07%

2 quarters

2 quarters

Tenn.

Titans

0%

0 Games

Texas

Cowboys

Texans

0%

0 Games

Wash.

Seahawks

0%

0 Games

Wis.

Packers

7.75%

3 quarters

For illustrative purposes, the combined state and local income tax rate multiplied by the number of regular season home games equals the number of games that need to be played to pay off state tax liability.

As seen above, NFL players on California-based teams must play one full game before they can begin to earn a paycheck that does not go straight towards paying their state income tax liability. Conversely, players in no-income-tax states are able to keep their earnings with the first kick-off of the regular season. With states such as Florida, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington leading the way in economic competitiveness, more players will begin to factor state income tax rates with respect to signing with new teams.

The same competitive forces impact the everyday, economic decisions of businesses and taxpayers. Individuals continue to flee high-income-tax states such as California, Illinois, and New York in favor of pro-growth, pro-job creation states.

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