Washington (July 9, 2002) -- More and more non-athletes are being unfairly hit with the so-called jock tax, originally designed to tax professional athletes, according to a report issued by the Tax Foundation.

The athletes who pay the most are those who make their homes in states that have no state income tax or a low rate. For example, Major League baseball player Alex Rodriguez, whose home state of Texas has no state income tax, will be paying almost $9,000 in jock taxes to Wisconsin for the privilege of playing a few innings in Tuesday night’s All Star Game in Milwaukee, according to David Hoffman, Tax Foundation economist and the author of the report.

"The jock tax began with California trying to get back at Michael Jordan for beating the Lakers in 1991. A decade later," he said, "it's getting out of hand. Thousands of people are forced to file income tax returns in more than a dozen states, and many of them aren't athletes or earning a lot of money." Currently, 20 states have extended their income taxes to visiting professional athletes--and almost everyone who travels with them, including coaches, trainers and announcers.

Hoffman said the jock tax is poorly targeted, arbitrary and imposes an unrealistic burden on people who have to file more than a dozen state income tax returns. "Professionals in other occupations with comparable incomes over their working lives, such as doctors and corporate executives, are not penalized by a "doc tax" or "exec tax," he noted.

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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