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Senator Coburn targets PGA Tour in 'Wastebook 2013'

By John Strege

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK.) on Tuesday released "Wastebook 2013," his annual report that highlights 100 examples of wasteful and low-priority spending, and perhaps not surprisingly, the PGA Tour was cited.

"Despite generating over $900 million in revenue, the PGA Tour classifies itself exempt from federal income taxes on earnings," it states on page 71 of the 177-page report. "Eliminating the ability for the PGA to claim tax-exempt status could result in nearly $10 million in increases [in] federal revenue annually. Taxpayers should not be asked to subsidize sports organizations already benefiting widely from willing fans and turning a profit, while claiming to be non-profit organizations."

Previously, Coburn, in a letter dated Oct. 10, 2013, asked PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem "to clarify questions about their 501 (c)(6) tax-exempt status." He was doing so, he said in the letter, in response to a statement that the tour provided Golf Digest's Luke Kerr-Dineen regarding Coburn's bill, the PRO Sports Act, that would prohibit major professional sports leagues from qualifying for the 501(c)(6) tax status.

The PGA Tour entry in "Wastebook 2013" also noted U.S. tax law "exempts foreign athletes participating in certain charitable events in the United States from being required to count this time in the States toward their permanent resident alien status (183 days). In other words, taxpayers are providing a tax break to foreign professional golfers, allowing them to live in the United States and avoid paying taxes on their world-wide earned income."

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