Legal Tax Dodging

Legal Tax Dodging

David Rudd, Staff Writer

The MLB’s preseason is mostly ignored by fans but it actually serves a purpose for the league and its players. The one month span where teams play their prospects is often overlooked as an irrelevant time of the year where prospects are trying to show off their talent. All MLB teams play in either Florida or Arizona. While both states are warm throughout the year and fit the ideal baseball weather, that is not why the games are played there. The games are played in those particular states, because in those states players don’t have to pay a state income tax.

In order to understand how MLB’s tax scheme works, it is first important to understand exactly how players pay their taxes. Players pay a “jock tax,” or as its officially named, income tax levied against visitors to a city or state who earn money in that jurisdiction. In summary, players pay their taxes based off of how many working hours are spent in each state. For example, if a player plays 50% of their games in a state without an income tax and 50% of their games in a state with an income tax then they will only have to pay state income taxes on 50% of their salary. Consequently, spending a large amount of time in a state without an income tax can save players huge sums of money as spring training accounts for roughly one-fifth of the season.

The MLB differs from other leagues who have teams play their preseason games in the regular home stadiums. While the MLB uses the excuse that teams must not play through the harsh winters up north, it is no coincidence that games are held in two states where players can escape taxes.

The way these states are used so players can save money is obviously sketchy, but nothing about it is illegal. Therefore, the question then arises of whether or not the MLB’s actions are morally wrong. The fact that the MLB covers up their scheme should immediately bring up concerns from fans. If the MLB is lying about this, then it is entirely possible that they are lying about something else as well. It’s important to continue to be skeptical of the huge business that is the MLB.