From time to time, the NFL faces criticism and confusion over its ‘tax-exempt” status. Some think this means the NFL and its teams pay no taxes at all.
But taxes are indeed paid. And the NFL felt compelled to point this out on Friday, in the wake of the news that Commissioner Roger Goodell has been paid roughly $74 million in the two-year period beginning April 1, 2011 and ending March 31, 2013.
‘NFL attorney Jeremy Spector notes the league pays taxes on every dollar of income that it earns,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said via Twitter.
“Claims that the NFL is using a tax exemption to avoid paying the tax due on these revenues are simply misinformed,” Spector said. “The confusion arises from the fact that there is one small part of the NFL unrelated to all this business activity, that is tax-exempt: The N.F.L. league office.”
Specter is right. The money passes through the league office to its teams, and the teams pay the taxes.
Still, the NFL undoubtedly realizes a net benefit by using this structure — especially since the league could keep the compensation of Goodell and other key executives completely secret if the league office weren’t exempt from taxation.
That’s the real question, which the NFL probably won’t be answering via Twitter or otherwise. (We’ll ask them anyway.) How much money is saved by using this approach?
Yes, taxes are paid. But the taxes are surely less than they would be, unless the NFL has no concern about telling the world that Commissioner Roger Goodell has made in two years nearly 60 percent of the one-season spending limit for an entire team.