by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Here’s another crackpot theory explaining Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s otherwise inexplicable decision to call for the decisive pass play that cost his team the Super Bowl: He didn’t want Russell Wilson (or any other Seahawks star) to face an even larger tax burden.
Yes, this is a crackpot theory. It’s also a joke. (It resembles another recent football-related proposal.)
But the idea entered this theorist’s mind after reading Stephanie Wang’s description for the Washington Free Beacon of the tax scenarios facing the Super Bowl’s MVP, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady, a University of Michigan grad, won a 2015 Chevy Colorado for being Super Bowl MVP.
Brady’s a nice guy. He decided to give the truck to the Patriots’ rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler. You know, the guy who picked off Russell Wilson to win the game in the final seconds.
The fair market value of the truck is $34,000, though ATR notes this is likely undervalued, since the Chevy probably has more features and options than the standard Colorado.
The truck is a taxable prize and will be taxed at Brady’s federal marginal income tax rate of 39.6 percent (this doesn’t even include the state income tax). Brady will owe $13,500 for the truck before he even hands it over to Butler.
But Brady will also have to pay a gift tax. According to IRS code, only $14,000 worth of gifts to any one person is tax free. Brady will therefore be taxed on $20,000 of the truck. He will be taxed at a rate of 40 percent, meaning a $5,000 gift tax on top of the $13,000 federal income tax.
As ATR notes, that’s over half the value of the truck itself.
But the IRS won’t stop there.
Each NFL player on a winning Super Bowl team gets $97,000 for the game. Brady will be taxed at the top rate of 39.6 percent for this income. He will also have to pay the top Medicare tax of 3.8 percent (half of this will be paid by the NFL). According to ATR, Brady will pay $42,000 in federal taxes for the Super Bowl game alone.
Talk about deflating.