Chaffetz challenges NFL nonprofit status

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SALT LAKE CITY — Still in the shadow of Super Bowl XLIX, Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz is dialing up a blitz on the National Football League's tax exempt status.

Chaffetz, now the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told CNN Monday he would “probably” call NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell before the House to justify the league’s status as a nonprofit.

Last week, Chaffetz introduced legislation that would end tax exempt status for the NFL and NHL.

“I want them to be as successful as they can, but it seems to me they should have to pay taxes like other entities,” Chaffetz said. “You tell people that the NFL is a nonprofit entity and they start laughing and giggling, but it’s not fair.”

The NFL has maintained only its league office is tax exempt, that it pays taxes for merchandising and in other areas, and that its franchises pay taxes.

The league obtained its exempt status through a code change that helped along the 1966 merger between the NFL and American Football League.

The NFL has come under scrutiny for its exempt status in recent years, with its annual revenues estimated around $9.5 billion. Goodell reportedly earns roughly $44 million per year in his job as commissioner.

Chaffetz argues times have changed.

“It seems to me that ought to be one of the things we get rid of,” he told CNN. “There’s about $100-plus million over a 10-year period that is not collected because of this tax exempt status.”

The NFL isn’t the only professional sports league that is a nonprofit. The National Hockey League and Professional Golfers’ Association of America are also tax exempt.

Major League Baseball gave up its exemption in 2007.

The National Basketball Association has never been tax exempt.

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Andrew Adams


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