The NFL is Tax-Exempt? Pardon Me?

nfl tax exempt northern connection magazineStarting the Conversation
By: Marianne Reid Anderson

According to Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, they are. Even though the NFL and other professional sports organizations including the NHL and PGA are not a charitable institutions, these luxury-based businesses enjoy a nonprofit status, and are therefore, tax-exempt. Sen. Coburn wants to be very clear that this does not include the individual franchises. Steelers, Seahawks and the rest of the teams who do pay their taxes.

In an article by CNN, “Coburn has introduced the PRO Sports Act to strip the NFL and others of a decades-old exemption…The reason goes back to 1942 when the IRS ruled the NFL was a trade association for its now 32-member teams and therefore exempt from taxes as a nonprofit under section 501(c)6 of the tax code.” Also in the CNN article, “The nonprofit NFL raked in more than $326 million from April 2012 to March 2013, almost of all of which came from “membership dues and assessments” or league fees paid by the member teams, according to a CNN analysis of IRS documents. Those dues are tax deductible for the teams as “business expenses” according to the IRS.”
What do you think? You can watch an interview with Coburn and read the CNN article in its entirety in my blog: Continuing the Conversation at but more importantly, let me know your thoughts in the Comment section below the blog or email me at