Ed. note: With less than a week until the tax filing deadline, Deadspin asked me to delve into tax wonkery for sports fans. The post appears here with permission. Those of you who are not Darryl Strawberry will be spending the next few days on your tax returns. Here are a few practical things–and a number […]
Fay Vincent is making the suggestion that sports stars, like DJ, should be negotiating for shares of their respective teams.
My question is why sports figures are not taking steps to generate tax-favored income by bargaining to get ownership interests in their teams. Imagine how much better off old timers like Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris would have been if they had been able to obtain even tiny shares of the Yankees franchise in 1961. In today’s context, it is true enough that the tax rate on capital gains income may soon rise to 20%—but that’s still far below the rates levied on top income earners.
Since Vincent – a former entertainment lawyer – has been around the block with big-time earners, he might be on to something here, although maybe the Steinbrenners aren’t interested, being the shrewd business family that they are (George died in a year with no estate tax for crissakes). Since neither Jeets nor the Yanks are budging in the negotiations, this idea could work. It’ been floated in the Times so it’s not like this option is a huge secret. Make something happen, people.
By most accounts, Jeter wants to finish his career in New York and the man has been the franchise for over the last decade. Forget the cash, ask for shares and save on some taxes. It’s not complicated.
Okay, maybe it’s a little complicated.
By now most of you have heard that George Steinbrenner passed away this morning at age 80. We’d ask that you to wait at least a few hours before you start dispensing with the Costanza or GS quotes in Larry David’s voice (“Big Stein wants an eggplant calzone!”) but we realize not every one was a fan of the Boss.
The silver lining in Big Stein’s death is that since the estate tax still remains in limbo among the hallowed walls of Congress, his $1.1 billion fortune (Forbes’ latest ranking) could possibly pass to his heirs tax free.
It’s an especially well-timed passing if you read yesterday’s morbid Wall St. Journal article. If you didn’t happen to read it, the article more or less made the case for every wealthy person to give serious consideration to paging Jack Kevorkian, taking a nice warm bath with a toaster or whatever their preferred method of self-imposed death would be.
Steinbrenner is the third billionaire to pass on to the big baseball diamond in the sky (btw, can someone up there keep him away from Billy Martin?) this year – Walter Shorenstein and Dan Duncan are the others – and if the family is as shrewd about their money as they are about their baseball team, they will likely fight any retroactive provisions in the new estate tax (assuming it ever passes).
As with mentioned in the Duncan post, we hope that the Steinbrenners are able to keep their fortune; not because we’re opposed to taxing the rich (just ask AG), it’s because we’re opposed to an incompetent and impotent Congress who allowed the estate tax to expire in the first place. Besides, GS went out with the Yankees as reigning champs, so it seems fitting that he gets a final win against the tax man as well.
RIP Big Stein.