PGA Tour's Tax Exemption May Be In Jeopardy From NFL's Off-The-Field Issues

PGA Tour’s Tax Exemption May Be In Jeopardy From NFL’s Off-The-Field Issues

Tim Finchem addresses the media at the 2014 Players Championship.
Getty Images

Roger Goodell isn’t the only sports commissioner who might suffer the consequences of the NFL’s recent bungling of high-profile cases of players involved in domestic violence and child abuse. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem may be wary of the fallout, too.

Angered by the NFL’s handling of the scandals, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced a bill this week that would punish the NFL by revoking its tax-exempt status. The bill would also impact the tax status of other major sports organizations, including the PGA Tour.

Supporters of the bill claim that taxpayers lose $10 million annually subsidizing tax loopholes for professional sports leagues. Booker said that his bill will produce savings of $100 million over 10 years that can be redirected to domestic abuse prevention programs.

(STORY: Roger Goodell was at Augusta National when the Ray Rice tape arrived at the NFL offices)

“Stopping domestic violence is a national priority that requires long-term, meaningful investment.” Booker said. “This commonsense update to our tax laws would save more than $100 million over 10 year—money that can instead be used to pay for vital support programs that have seen their funding slashed in recent years due to sequestration and gridlock.”

This isn't the first attempt to repeal the tax-exempt status of major sports leagues. In 2013, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-O.K.) proposed a similar bill that would force the leagues making $10 million or more in revenue to forfeit their 501(c)6 status. That bill is currently in the Finance Committee.

The NFL nearly makes $10 billion per year. Goodell has earned $74 million as commissioner over the last two years, prompting many to question the NFL’s legal status as a non-profit (individual NFL teams are deemed to be for-profit entities). The PGA Tour makes $1 billion per year, with Finchem earning approximately $5 million a year.

Ty Votaw, executive vice president of the PGA Tour, said the Tour would have no comment on the Booker bill.

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