GOP lawmaker pushes to end sports leagues' tax-exempt status

GOP lawmaker pushes to end sports leagues' tax-exempt status
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A Republican member of the House Oversight Committee has introduced legislation that would revoke major professional sports leagues’ ability to be exempt from taxes.

Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdThe biggest political upsets of the decade Members spar over sexual harassment training deadline Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations MORE (R-Texas) filed the bill — carrying on an effort from former Oversight Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzCongress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent Fox News Audio expands stable of podcasts by adding five new shows The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE (R-Utah) — amid President Trump’s criticism of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality against minorities.

“Professional sports leagues should not be exempt from paying taxes,” Farenthold said in a statement. “These are highly profitable businesses that make tens of millions of dollars each year and have been exploiting loopholes to game the system. It's time we blow the whistle on this foul, and get this bill over the goal line.”

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The measure, titled the Properly Reducing Overexemptions for Sports Act, would specifically prevent professional sports leagues from registering as nonprofits if they have annual revenues of more than $10 million.

Individual teams pay taxes on their profits and player salaries, even if the sports leagues are considered nonprofits.

The NFL’s League Office, which handles administrative duties for the league, was once a tax-exempt entity. But the league office eventually relinquished its tax-exempt status in 2015 amid public criticism.

Farenthold’s bill cites leagues like the NHL, PGA Tour and LPGA as examples of entities that would be affected. The NFL’s League Office would be prevented from registering as a nonprofit, instead of voluntarily choosing not to do so.

Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksWatchdog group seeks ethics probe over McCarthy's Jan. 6 comments Jan. 6 panel seeks records of those involved in 'Stop the Steal' rally Jan. 6 panel to ask for preservation of phone records of GOP lawmakers who participated in Trump rally: report MORE (R-Ala.) is also calling for eliminating all federal support for professional sports leagues.

NFL teams have received funds from the Defense Department in recent years to promote the military during games. Brooks circulated a letter on Tuesday urging Trump to also cease government advertising on any network broadcasts of sporting events by leagues or teams that participate in protests during the national anthem.

“We see no reason why federal taxpayers should spend any money, directly or indirectly, supporting professional sports teams or leagues that disrespect America’s flag or anthem,” the letter states.