NFL Still Classified as Nonprofit

NFL Still Classified as Nonprofit

The National Football League (NFL) is still considered a nonprofit organization even though the NFL makes over $9 billion a year in profits, spends over $1.1 million in lobbying, and makes roughly $250 million from the Super Bowl, its signature event. 

As Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) noted in a 2012 report on government waste, nearly half of all NFL teams are valued over a $1 billion, yet the NFL “operates as a 501(c)6 non-profit association and has operated that way since the 1960s.”

While President Barack Obama continually says the wealthy need to pay their “fair share” in taxes, taxpayers are on the hook subsidizing an organization that nearly makes $10 billion a year in profit. And since other leagues like the NFL and PGA use the exemption, taxpayers lose at  at least $90 million a year because of the exemption.

The definition of a 501(c)6, as given by the IRS, is as follows:

IRC 501(c)(6) provides for exemption of business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade, and professional football leagues… which are not organized for profit and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.

The NFL was on pace to make $9.5 million last season and the 2012 Super Bowl netted the league $245 million dollars. 

As Benjamin Chance noted in Breitbart Sports, the Coburn report found the NFL even used its tax-exempt status during Super Bowl week in 2012 “to avoid paying taxes, in addition to fuel, auto rental and admissions taxes.”

Because the NFL is a nonprofit, it pays “taxes on few types of income and expenditures, including lobbying.” In addition, as Coburn’s report noted, “state and local governments usually exempt these organizations from state income and sales tax as well,” which is also a boon.  On its 2010 tax return, the NFL  described itself “as a “trade association promoting interests of its 32 member clubs.”

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