Florida tax law favors athletes

Tax law changes in Florida may make the state more attractive to athletes who are free agents, Tucson.com reported.

New tax laws set to take effect January 1 cap deductions for state and local taxes for married couples filing jointly at $10,000, which is an obvious advantage for highly-paid athletes.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he doubted the tax law advantage, which is also available in Texas, Nevada and Washington state, would have much effect on where athletes decide to play. Players are more likely to consider playing time, winning and what’s best for their families as deciding factors.

But teams in tax-free states with a higher percentage of take-home pay might use the tax law advantage as a negotiation tactic.

“The state with no income tax would always win the ties,” said sports agent Joseph Linta.

The top tax rate has been lowered to 37 percent for single filers earning more than $500,000 and married couples filing jointly earning more than $600,000. That is down from 39.6 percent for single filers earning more than $418,400 and married couples filing jointly earning more than $470,700, per Tucson.com.

California had the highest state tax in 2017, a 13.3 percent rate, followed by New York with a top tax rate of 8.82 percent. New York City has a maximum rate of 3.876 percent for a total of 12.696 percent.

A player with an offseason residence in Florida, Alaska, South Dakota and Wyoming would benefit by having more of his money paid in a signing bonus rather than salary.

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