Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Sheldon Langsam

Second Advisor

Dawn Mason

Third Advisor

Jo Wiley


This paper examines “jock taxes” levied on National Football League (NFL) athletes. A “jock tax” is a tax that states and cities levy onto non-resident professional athletes for time worked in their respective jurisdictions. To calculate these taxes, cities, and states use the “duty day method”. This method takes the athlete’s salary and multiplies it by the percent of duty days spent in that jurisdiction. It then takes that amount and multiplies it by the jurisdiction’s respective tax rates. To help alleviate player’s tax burden some states participate in agreements and offer credits. It was also found that bonuses are not jock taxable if certain conditions are met.

To illustrate the complicated nature of jock taxes, four court cases surrounding the various aspects of the taxes were examined. The first case, Hillenmeyer v. Cleveland Board of Review looked at how a previous method of calculating jock taxes called, “games played method,” was found to be unconstitutional. The other cases consisted of whether a player could be taxed if not physically in the jurisdiction, the fairness of Tennessee’s tax, and the conditions for bonuses to be nontaxable. Also examined were two areas that affect jock taxes for players. The first area considered was contracts which looked at the conditions of bonuses, guaranteed money and performance amount. The next was the location, which looked at the friendliness of jock taxes based on NFL team conferences and how residency can affect athletes’ taxes. Finally, the two problems found were miscalculation and misinterpretation of jock taxes. To help with these problems, educating athletes and federal regulation was recommended. Overall, the jock taxes that are levied on NFL athletes are complicated and arbitrary since they are not federally regulated and can be different in each state and city’s jurisdiction.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted