California says “Welcome Super Bowl! Welcome NFL players! Please hand over your earnings prior to leaving” [Darleen Click]
California takes the approach to state income taxes the way the Feds tax businesses. If you do any business in California, earn any income in this state, you will be taxed based on your entire yearly earnings.
Remember when Peyton Manning paid New Jersey nearly $47,000 in taxes two years ago on his Super Bowl earnings of $46,000? Manning has nothing on the state taxes facing Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, Calif. Newton is looking at a tax bill more than twice as much, which will swallow up his entire Super Bowl paycheck, win or lose, thanks to California’s tops-in-the-nation tax rate of 13.3%.
Before we get into the numbers, let’s do a quick review of the jock tax rules applied to professional athletes (similar tax rules apply to anyone doing business across state lines, but they are rarely enforced). States tax a player based on their calendar-year income. They apply a duty day calculation which takes the ratio of duty days within the state over total duty days for the year. That ratio is then multiplied by the player’s salary to arrive at a state’s allocable income. […]
Skip ahead two years and now Manning is back in the Super Bowl against the highly-talented and highly-compensated Cam Newton, who signed a five-year, $103.8 million contract extension in June. Newton has already earned $58,800 so far this year for week 17 of the 2015 season and $71,000 in playoff bonuses. Newton is due a $10 million signing bonus and $13 million in base salary for the 2016 season, which he will receive the full amount during the regular season. Luckily, week 17 next season will occur on New Year’s Day 2017, thus shielding about $765,000 from California’s grasp.
If the Panthers win the Super Bowl, Newton will earn another $102,000 in playoff bonuses, but if they lose he will only net another $51,000. The Panthers will have about 206 total duty days during 2016, including the playoffs, preseason, regular season and organized team activities (OTAs), which Newton must attend or lose $500,000. Seven of those duty days will be in California for the Super Bowl and another four will be in the Golden State for road games against St. Louis Los Angeles and Oakland next season. […]
Newton will pay California 99.6% of his Super Bowl earnings if the Panthers win. Losing means his effective tax rate will be a whopping 198.8%. Oh yeah, he will also pay the IRS 40.5% on his earnings.