NFL Giving Up Tax-Exempt Status, No Longer A Non-Profit

the NFL shield

I’ve seen some articles recently floating around about the NFL and its status as a non-profit. Could it really be that the NFL, a football giant that brings in more than 10 billion annually, is a non-profit?

The answer is yes and mostly no.

The NFL itself was registered as a non-profit trade association way back in 1942. The IRS can’t find the original application, nor can the NFL. So what their “non-profit” mission was remains somewhat of a mystery. Regardless it was approved and the NFL front office hasn’t had to pay federal taxes since.

But the NFL front office doesn’t actually make any money. Most years it operates at a loss. It is the teams themselves that account for the vast majority of the 10 billion dollars annually, and they do and always have paid federal taxes.

But the NFL has decided that perception is the problem here, and for the fiscal year 2015 the NFL front office will no longer file as a non-profit entity. How great of them! But wait, hold on a second… There’s two sides to that.

Is the NFL deciding to remove its non-profit status as an olive branch to appease a skeptic public, or do they no longer want employee compensation on the record? Much as been made about the salary of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. He made over $44 million in compensation in 2012 alone. That ridiculously high number has been referenced countless times whenever he makes even the smallest misstep. Removing his compensation from the public record may, in time, ease some of the strain on Roger Goodell.

Just an interesting little hump day conspiracy for you!

Whatever the case may be, the NFL was never truly a non-profit. And it won’t be a non-profit in any sense of the term come this tax season.