Thursday, July 08, 2010

LeBronomics: $12m in NY Taxes vs. $0 in Florida?

Business and Media Institute - "While sports reporters have sought agents and teammates for the inside scoop on where NBA superstar free agent LeBron James will sign, there’s another person who may know The King’s next move: his accountant."

Based on a $96 million, five-year contract, here's an estimate of what LeBron James would pay in state income taxes:

New York: $12.34 million

New Jersey: $10.32 million

Ohio: $5.69 million

Florida: $0.00

Update: It's actually a little more complicated, and here's a more thorough tax analysis by Aaron Merchak of The Tax Foundation, concluding that "Even though LeBron's salary would be $10,000 more per game if he stayed in Cleveland, he would be paying $12,500 more in taxes. The rest of the road games are pretty much a wash between the two cities. When playing in California, New York and other destinations, players from Ohio and Florida pay the same, the tax rate of the state they're visiting."

15 Comments:

At 7/08/2010 9:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think this is quite right. My understanding is that professional athletes are paid on a per-game basis. So when they play an away game their wages are deemed to have been earned in the state in which the game takes place. Therefore, only half of Lebron's NY earnings would be paid in NY and he will still pays taxes on his away games with Miami.

 
At 7/08/2010 9:56 PM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

When the Heat play at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks Lebron may well sit out the games. NY state requires taxes be collected on 14 days or more of play in the state. Next stop NBA expansion team in George Town, Cayman Islands!

 
At 7/08/2010 10:19 PM, Anonymous Dave said...

He'd also face an asset-based tax in Florida, no?

 
At 7/09/2010 3:05 AM, Anonymous Titus Pullo said...

There was a tax dispute in 2007 on whether New York Yankees player Derek Jeter was a Florida resident and how much time he spent at his New York apartment in Trump Towers.

It was settled and no terms were reported.
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3231419

 
At 7/09/2010 6:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He'd also face an asset-based tax in Florida, no? "

Florida no longer has the Intangible Tax.

 
At 7/09/2010 9:17 AM, Anonymous Chris said...

Say he accepted a slot with the Knicks. No one can tell me that NYS and NYC wouldn't find a way to treat his entire salary as taxable income.

 
At 7/09/2010 9:47 AM, Anonymous Lyle said...

Except for NYS he would get credit on his tax return for the taxes paid to other states. The whole way pro athletes are paid is part of the lawyers and accounts full employment law. If you file as a non resident of state X then if your state has an income tax you take a credit for the non resident tax paid. So it then becomes a question of tax rate more than anything else. If a resident of a state with no income tax, you are just out the taxes.

 
At 7/09/2010 11:46 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Yeah, he wouldn't play as hard if he was playing for the Knicks. His tax rate would have been higher.

 
At 7/09/2010 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would his income in NYC exceed his income in FLA enough to offset the taxes? Any NYer can tell you that if he had won a championship (not 2 or 3 or 5) in this basketball hotbed, he would be set for life. NY stars make hair coloring comercials, speak to every organization at dinners and receive front-office jobs until they die.

LeBron's brain-trust was ignorant about how well he would have done had he chosen, and then succeeded just once, in NY. Not enough knowledge.

 
At 7/09/2010 2:28 PM, Blogger gadfly said...

The emphasis here is on payment of state income taxes, but state income taxes are deductible on Federal returns, so the net tax effect of NY vs FL is $12.34M times the reciprocal of the highest tax bracket of 35% would be about $8M not $12M.

Using this logic, Ohio is a wash. Under NBA rules, LJ can be offered $100M to remain a Cav, so Ohio will get about $6M in taxes and King James will get a $2M credit from Uncle Sam. The extra salary would all go to pay taxes, but cash available after taxes would be the same in assessing whether Fl or OH is best from a tax standpoint.

From what planet do these so called tax experts hail? If truth be told, the NBA salary represents but a third of LeBron's total income after Mickey D's and The Swoosh add to the pile of endorsement income.

 
At 7/09/2010 7:10 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

Either way, he's joined the "No longer welcome in Cleveland" club next to Art Modell.

 
At 7/09/2010 10:10 PM, Blogger Richard Rider, Chair, San Diego Tax Fighters said...

While the GAME income is paid based on the state where the game is played, essentially all onf LeBron's ENDORSEMENT income would be subject to Florida income tax (i.e. -- zero tax).

LeBron will probably make as much or more from endorsements as he makes in NBA salary.

Deducting state salaries on the fed return reduces the out of pocket cost, but it's better still to pay as little state income taxes as possible. You never MAKE money paying state income taxes.

Tiger Woods and the Williams (tennis) sisters USED to be CA residents. They now all live in Florida. CA knows how to improve prosperity -- in the low tax states. Texas is very appreciative.

 
At 7/10/2010 1:14 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Either way, he's joined the "No longer welcome in Cleveland" club next to Art Modell"...

Hey sethstorm what to Modell and James have in common?

Their both laughing on their way to the bank...

Thank you Heritage: LeBron’s Taxing Decision

'The LeBron James lesson is one that states and local governments ought to learn — high taxes can drive out talent, leading to a loss in business and tax revenue'...

 
At 7/10/2010 2:15 PM, Blogger juandos said...

From Reason TV: But LeBron is only doing what more than half of Cleveland's population has done over the in the last 60 years: Getting the hell out of the place...

 
At 7/11/2010 7:42 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Their both laughing on their way to the bank...

Except for the fact that both of them fear that going back to Cleveland will be a one-way trip.

 

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