If you file your taxes through TurboTax or a similar online service, you’ve likely seen a certain question during your annual return: “Did you perform work in more than one state?”
Given that this is the 21st century, there’s a decent chance you did. You might have responded to several emails from your boss during a long weekend in Denver or spent a day on Zoom before skiing in the Poconos.
But a state’s department of revenue is unlikely to notice that you visited, or that you completed any work.
Unless you’re a professional athlete
Their burden is known as the jock tax. Professional athletes owe a portion of their salary to most states and cities they visit — even for a single day.
Unlike, say, nurse practitioners or graphic designers, jurisdictions know exactly when athletes are in town. They know how much they make. And they know how to go after them.
For years, the jock tax has flown under the radar, known mostly to hardcore sports fans and accountants. Nobody, after all, really cares if millionaires have to file complicated tax returns.
But the jock tax matters.
Hardly anyone truly benefits from the tax, and one day in the future, even if you’re not an athlete, you may have to pay it.