NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 21, 2007

Derek Jeter: all-star shortstop, captain of the Yankees, pride of New York -- and tax cheat?  Yes, according to New York officials who say Jeter dodged income taxes for 2001 to 2003 and that they're owed millions, plus interest.

According to Jeter, his primary home is in Tampa, Florida; and who can blame him, says the Wall Street Journal:

  • Florida has no personal income tax, while New York's rate for the top bracket is 6.8 percent, rising to 12.15 percent in New York City (including temporary surtaxes that expired in 2005; the combined rate is now 10.5 percent).
  • New York tax laws also take a notoriously wide view of "residency;" literally tens of thousands of people only work in-state Tuesday to Thursday each week to avoid spending the requisite 184 days per year that would subject their full income to the state tax regime.

Even more strange than calling a New York icon a cheat, is what the state is actually going after, says the Journal:

  • New York doesn't claim that Jeter has avoided taxes on the salary he's earned in-state -- i.e., his 10-year, $189 million Yankee contract.
  • New York's complaint is in pursuit of the additional millions a megastar like Jeter makes from endorsement deals and the like, as well as from his investments.
  • In addition, they point to Jeter's Manhattan apartment, his "numerous public statements professing his love for New York," and allege he has "immersed himself in the New York community."

Given the lengths New York is going to extract its pound of flesh, it's a wonder New Yorkers even have teams to root for, says the Journal.

Source: Editorial, "The Florida Yankees," Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2007.

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