McGuireWoods’ Addison Fontein Writes About ‘Jock Tax’ in Bloomberg Law

February 17, 2023

The players and other NFL personnel who took part in this year’s Super Bowl must hand over part of their earnings to the host state of Arizona because of the state’s “jock tax,” Dallas associate Addison Fontein wrote in a Feb. 13, 2023, story in Bloomberg Law.

Like many states, Arizona taxes nonresident professional athletes on income earned from profitable sports competitions held within its borders. States can tax nonresident professionals that derive income in their jurisdictions, but the jock tax generally is applied selectively and only to those with public schedules and large salaries, Fontein wrote.

Challenges to such taxes are rare but have found some success. In 2022, a local court in Pittsburgh struck down that city’s jock tax, and in 2015, the Supreme Court of Ohio found Cleveland’s jock tax unconstitutional.

“Some have argued the jock tax is justified because nonresident professional athletes benefit from state resources, such as security, while visiting a state for athletic competition. However, states that host these big-ticket games generally benefit even more,” Fontein wrote.