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Report: NHLPA preparing to sue state of Tennessee over tax

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

The NHLPA is reportedly planning to sue the state of Tenessee over player taxes. (USATSI)
The NHLPA is reportedly planning to sue the state of Tennessee over player taxes. (USATSI)

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The National Hockey League Players' Association is preparing to sue the state of Tennessee over a tax that players pay when they play games in Nashville, TSN's Aaron Ward reported.

More from TSN's report:

Since the 2009-2010 season, the state has taxed NHL players $2,500 - with an annual cap of $7,500 - under a 'Professional Privilege Tax' each time they were on their club's playing roster for a game in Nashville.

The Players' Association believes this is unfair and possibly unconstitutional, saying a player making the league minimum would in fact lose money playing there and would be better off financially by not playing.

According to the Tennessee state government's website, “The professional privilege tax is levied on the privilege of having an active license to practice certain professions, businesses or occupations.”

That includes “persons employed as players on any franchise of the National Basketball Association (NBA) or National Hockey League (NHL) for more than 10 days in the tax period who are on the roster for any NBA or NHL regular season game within the boundaries of the state.”

Among other professionals that have to pay this tax, accountants, lawyers, physicians and architects, just to name a few.

That's rather interesting, isn't it? Players on the roster for 10 days within a tax period are subject to the tax when they play, no matter which team they're on. For a guy making the league minimum, that $2,500 tax he incurs is more than he'll make for the game he played in Nashville after the taxes he already pays. That seems rather unfair, no?

More details about the tax are available here, via On the Forecheck.

According to J.R. Lind of the Nashville Post, the tax revenues generated go back to the sports authorities in Memphis and Nashville to subsidize the arenas. So even the local teams benefit from this tax, while the NFL is apparently exempt from it.

The NHL, as of the 2012-13 season, reimburses players for the Tennesee tax payments, but that was not the case in the previous collective bargaining agreement. So players who paid the tax previously, are the ones the NHLPA hopes Tennessee will reimburse.

According to TSN's report, the NHLPA is also lobbying to get the law changed all together in Tennessee with the league's support. Obviously, the NHL would rather not have to reimburse that money, which by default is further subsidization of the Predators beyond the revenue sharing from which they already benefit.

Even if the law is repealed, however, that wouldn't get the money back for the players who already payed the tax previously.

This is a very interesting situation that could have significant implications for not only the players themselves, but the Nashville Predators as well.

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