本文是金融專業的Essay范例，題目是“Arguments for and Against Athletic Associations and University Tax Exemption（支持和反對體育協會和大學免稅的理由）”，在美國，免稅部門的起源早在共和國成立之前很久(Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley 125)。在沒有建立政府框架的情況下，早期殖民者成立了許多慈善組織和其他志愿組織來應對各種問題(Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley 125)?，F在，在共和國成立近三個世紀后，免稅部門仍然在公共管理中扮演著重要角色，特別是在公共服務的履行中。
In the United States, the origins of the tax-exempt sector long predate the republic (Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley 125.) Without an established framework of government, the early colonist formed many charitable and other voluntary organizations to confront a variety of issues (Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley 125.) Now, almost three centuries after the formulation of the republic, the tax-exempt sector still plays a major role within public administration, especially in the fulfillment of public services.
However, in regards to some organizations within the tax-exempt sector, it is becoming seemingly more difficult to understand what public purpose it serves. While many nonprofit organizations are performing acts that are beneficial to the general public, others are not. According to Edward T. Pound, a U.S. News reporter, “the PGA Tour Inc. grosses nearly $180 million a year from their sponsorship of the men’s pro golf tour” (Pound.) Yet, due to the PGA Tour Inc.’s nonprofit status, the corporation does not pay any federal tax on tour operations (Pound.) The National Center for Charitable Statistics reports that there is nearly 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered within the United States as of 2013(nccs.urban.org.) The rapid growth within the nonprofit sector does not come without its consequences. The Internal Revenue Service has conducted numerous investigations on groups like the National Football League and Children’s Television Workshop for violations such as, “excessive compensation of Congressmen” (Pound.) Actions like these are leading many to question why some organizations are considered for considered to be a tax-exempt organization. By examining the nonprofit sector from a historical perspective and possessing a basic understanding of 501 (c) organizations, one can better determine for oneself whether or not certain organizations should be tax-exempt.
For one to truly understand today’s current nonprofit sector, it is important to know a brief history of the role of the tax-exempt sector within American history. First, there are two main types of voluntary organizations: public serving and member serving. While these two voluntary organizations found great success in early colonial settlements, with hospitals and education, the tax code for these voluntary organizations was not developed until 1894. Furthermore, before the 1950s, “tax-exempt organizations could earn tax-free income from both mission-related activities and commercial business activitiesa€|”(Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley 127.) It was not until the Revenue Act of 1954 that the modern tax code for voluntary organizations was established, “including section 501(c) for tax exempt organizations” (Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley 127.)
要想真正了解當今的非營利部門，了解免稅部門在美國歷史中所扮演的角色的簡史是很重要的。首先，志愿組織主要有兩種類型:公共服務和成員服務。雖然這兩個志愿組織在早期殖民地的醫院和教育方面取得了巨大的成功，但這些志愿組織的稅法直到1894年才制定出來。此外，在20世紀50年代之前，“免稅組織可以從與任務相關的活動和商業業務中獲得免稅收入activitiesa€ρ”(Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley 127)。直到1954年的《稅收法案》(Revenue Act of 1954)，關于自愿組織的現代稅法才建立起來，“包括第501(c)條關于免稅組織”(Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley 127)。
In order for an organization to qualify for tax-exempt status, the organization must display that “its purpose serves the public good as opposed to private interest” (Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley 129.) Figures show that between the 1985 and 2004 Tax Years, the private foundation segment of the tax-exempt sector experienced significant growth (Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley 131.) From 1985 to 2004, the number of 501(c) 3 public charities in the United States nearly tripled (Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley 130.) Now, even today, the tax-exempt sector continues to grow in size and activities, while new tax-exempt organizations continue to emerge (Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley 135.)
Argument Against Tax-Exemption for Athletic Associations and some Universities反對體育協會和一些大學免稅的論點
The tax-exempt sector has drastically changed throughout the past three decades. The rapid increase in number of tax-exempt organizations, along with an evolving tax code, has caused for a lack in governmental transparency in regards to organizations. For example, the National Football League grosses over $9.5 billion dollars per year, but was exempt from federal taxes until 2015 when the NFL voluntarily gave away its tax-exempt status (Isidore 2015). During its time as a nonprofit, the NFL earned more than the Y, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army or Catholic Charities- yet it was able to stand as one of the greatest profit-generatinga€|media enterprises ever created (Watson.) In a survey conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University, only 13 percent of people could identify the NFL as a nonprofit (Jenkins.) While the NFL has since forfeited its tax-exempt status, there are other athletic organization who is nonprofit status is still under question. Other athletic groups like the National Hockey League, National College Athletic Association, Professional Golfers Association Tour, and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association are also under fire. Senator Tom Coburn is calling for legislation that would eliminate any athletic league that grosses more than $10 million to no longer be tax-exempt under 501(c) 6. The Senator wrote, “Americans are paying artificially high rates in order to subsidize special breaks for sports leagues (Coburn.)
免稅部門在過去三十年里發生了巨大的變化。免稅組織數量的迅速增加，加上稅法的演變，導致政府在組織方面缺乏透明度。例如，美國國家橄欖球聯盟(National Football League)每年的總收入超過95億美元，但直到2015年美國國家橄欖球聯盟(NFL)自愿放棄免稅地位之前，都不繳納聯邦稅(Isidore 2015)。作為一個非營利性組織，NFL賺的錢比基督教會、紅十字會、救世軍或天主教慈善機構還要多，但它仍然能夠作為有史以來最偉大的profit-generatinga€γ媒體企業之一(沃森)。在費爾利·迪金森大學進行的一項調查中，只有13%的人能確定NFL是一個非營利組織(詹金斯)。雖然美國國家橄欖球聯盟已經取消了免稅資格，但還有其他一些體育組織的非營利地位仍然存在疑問。其他體育團體，如國家曲棍球聯盟，國家大學體育協會，職業高爾夫協會巡回賽和職業牛仔競技協會也受到了攻擊。參議員湯姆·科伯恩(Tom Coburn)呼吁立法，取消任何總收入超過1000萬美元的體育聯盟，在501(c) 6項下不再免稅。這位參議員寫道:“美國人人為地支付高費用，以補貼體育聯盟的特別休息(科本)。
While the NFL has now voluntarily forfeited its tax-exemption, it is still important to question why the organization was ever tax-exempt to begin with and apply the same thoughts to other groups that are still tax-exempt. Tax-exemption for multi-million dollar athletic association seems obscene, especially with some groups approach towards social issues. Before voluntarily giving up their tax-exempt status, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell proposed legislation calling to revoke the NFL’s nonprofit status after “the league’s failure to properly address issues of domestic violencea€|and the response to the Washington team’s refusal to change its nickname” (Mandell, Scott.) Cantwell stated, “American taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize a $9 billion league that promotes a dictionary-defined racial slur” (Mandell, Scott.) Many wonder how these athletic associations even fit into the tax code to begin with. According to USA TODAY Sport’s Brent Schrotenboer, the NFL has been tax-exempt since the 1940’s. In 1966, Congress amended the law to list professional football leagues as a 501 (c) 6 organization in exchange for monetary pledges and the promise to build a New Orleans franchise (Mandell, Scott). While the NFL is an easy organization to examine, the same thought can be applied to most other professional athletic associations that are also exempt from taxes.
Yet, athletic associations are not the only group in question for its tax-exempt status. It has long been an understanding that educational institutions are exempt of federal income tax, but some are beginning to question if that should always be the case. In the summer of 2013, residents of Princeton came together to sue the prestigious university that resides in their town (Pierson, Riley). The town residents argued that the school, Princeton University, should no longer be entitled to its tax-exempt status due to its endowment, scientific patents, events, and more (Pierson, Riley). “The Ivy League school is operating like a business, the plaintiffs say, so the tax code should treat it like one” (Pierson, Riley). The lawsuit claims that in 2011, the university took in over $115 million from scientific patents, which it then put $35 million in the hands of varying faculty members. The resident’s lawyer said, “People in Princeton pay at least one-third more in taxes because the university has been exempt all these years” (Pierson, Riley). Princeton is not the only university experiencing backlash from its local community. The mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, home to Brown University, also wants to increase the university’s tax payments. At a press conference, Mayor Angel Tarveras said, “It takes the revenue collected from 19,00 taxpayers” to account” for the $38 million in property taxes not paid by Brown University” (Pierson, Riley.)
然而，體育協會并不是唯一的免稅團體。長期以來，人們都認為教育機構不需要繳納聯邦所得稅，但一些人開始質疑這種情況是否應該一直如此。在2013年的夏天，普林斯頓的居民聚集在一起起訴這所位于他們城鎮的著名大學(Pierson, Riley)。鎮上的居民認為，普林斯頓大學這所學校，由于其捐款、科學專利、活動等原因，不應該再享有免稅地位(Pierson, Riley)?！霸嬲f，這所常春藤盟校的運作就像一家企業，所以稅法應該把它當作一家企業來對待”(Pierson, Riley)。訴訟稱，2011年，哈佛大學從科學專利中獲得了超過1.15億美元，然后又把3500萬美元交給了不同的教師。居民的律師說:“普林斯頓的人至少要多交三分之一的稅，因為大學這些年來一直是免稅的”(Pierson, Riley)。普林斯頓并不是唯一一所遭到當地社區反對的大學。布朗大學所在地羅得島州普羅維登斯市的市長也想增加大學的稅收。在一次新聞發布會上，市長安吉爾·塔維拉斯說，“從1900名納稅人征收的稅收”來解釋“布朗大學未繳納的3800萬美元的財產稅”。
Yet, as communities continue to struggle to fund public services, some find it difficult to understand why well-off schools and universities are tax-exempt. In 2004 alone, educational institutions held six of the top ten positions for public charities within the United States (Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley 131.) Yet, many of these well-off educational institutions do little to financially support the local community, even though the schools benefit from many of its local public services (Pierson, Riley.) Some universities like John Hopkins, Yale, and Duke have worked out pilot deals in lieu of paying taxes (Pierson, Riley.) But even these donations fall well below what the school would owe in taxes (Pierson, Riley.)
然而，隨著社區繼續努力為公共服務提供資金，一些人發現很難理解為什么富裕的學校和大學可以免稅。僅在2004年，教育機構就占據了美國公共慈善機構前十名中的六席(Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley, 131席)。然而，許多這些富裕的教育機構在財政上幾乎不支持當地社區，即使學校受益于許多當地的公共服務(Pierson, Riley)。一些大學，如約翰霍普金斯大學、耶魯大學和杜克大學已經制定了試點協議來代替繳稅(Pierson, Riley)。但即使是這些捐款也遠遠低于學校應繳納的稅款(Pierson, Riley)。
Counter Argument for Athletic Assoc. and Universities and their Tax-Exemption運動協會的反對意見。大學及其免稅政策
According to Judith Long, professor of sports management at the University of Michigan, the tax-exempt status of athletic associations is irrelevant (Long 2014). The government does not stand to gain significant financial revenue by revoking the tax-exempt status of athletic associations. “Much of the furor in the current debate over the nonprofit status of professional sports is driven by misplaced perceptions that the revenues earned by these organizations are not taxed” (Long 2014). The large salaries of associate executives are still taxed later through individual taxes, as well as many of the major league teams who are apart of the association (Long 2014). In addition, Long notes that, “many nonprofit sports leagues and associations operate either at a deficit or just about break-even, leaving little or no income tax”(2014). Thus, revoking the tax-exempt status of professional athletic associations would not yield as much revenue as one would think. Focusing on the tax-exempt status of professional athletic associations masks many of the real burdens these groups place on the American taxpayer. “For example, we continue to permit the use of federal tax-exempt bonds to fund new stadiums and arenas, and cities across America routinely grant relief from property taxes for pro-facilities” (Long 2014). Where the revenue the government stands to gain from revoking the tax-exempt status of professional associations stands to be around $110 million within the first decade, these grants relief from property taxes has cost to be in the billions over the last decade (Long 2014). Therefore, the tax-exempt status of professional athletic associations is not the biggest way in which the government is losing revenue from these groups.
密歇根大學(University of Michigan)體育管理學教授朱迪思?朗(Judith Long)表示，體育協會的免稅地位無關緊要(Long 2014)。政府不會通過取消體育協會的免稅地位來獲得大量的財政收入?！爱斍瓣P于職業體育的非營利性地位的爭論中，許多人的憤怒是由錯誤的觀念驅動的，即這些組織所獲得的收入是不征稅的”(Long 2014)。助理主管的巨額工資后來仍然通過個人稅征稅，以及許多大聯盟球隊誰是協會的一部分(長2014年)。此外，朗指出，“許多非營利體育聯盟和協會要么虧損運營，要么接近盈虧平衡，幾乎不繳納所得稅”(2014年)。因此，取消職業體育協會的免稅地位不會產生人們想象的那么多的收入。專注于職業體育協會的免稅地位，掩蓋了這些團體給美國納稅人帶來的許多實際負擔?！袄?，我們繼續允許使用聯邦免稅債券來資助新的體育場館和競技場，美國各地的城市經常為支持設施的人減免財產稅”(Long 2014)。在最初的十年里，政府從取消專業協會免稅地位中獲得的收入約為1.1億美元，而在過去的十年里(漫長的2014年)，這些從財產稅中獲得的贈款減免成本高達數十億美元。因此，職業體育協會的免稅地位并不是政府從這些團體中損失收入的最大方式。
Evaluating the tax-exempt status of private universities is different than examining that of professional athletic associations. “a€|Colleges and universities provide value to students and society. We generate direct economic activity from capital investments, ongoing operations, and student and visitor spending. We provide cultural opportunities to residents and support community initiatives and volunteer work” (Kaplan 2015). While universities may not pay property taxes, some of them participate in payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) programs (Kaplan 2015). According to a study conducted by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in 2011, the PILOTs collectively across the United States were worth over $92 million with most of the money coming from colleges and universities (Kaplan 2015). While universities may not be paying property tax, they are a mission-based organization that’s purpose is to provide a great benefit to society.
Critique of Both Arguments兩種論證的批判
Like any good topic, there’s always two ways to sides to the argument. Here, one is presented with the issue of whether or not professional athletic associations and private universities should be receiving tax-exempt status. To me, comparing the tax-exempt status of professional athletic associations to private universities is like comparing apples to oranges. I believe the argument for keeping private universities is far superior to counter argument. While private universities like Brown and Princeton have significant funds and endowments that could be taxed to benefit the local community, universities provide so much value to a city. For example, communities benefit, some more than others, in tourism revenue just by default of having a college in their town. In addition, like previously said in the counter argument, universities benefit the community through volunteerism and threw many on-campus organizations. In addition, I believe that higher education being tax-exempt allows the government to take an important stance. The cost of education is too for most students and families, making many students take out loans just to pay for school. By having education be tax-exempt, I believe that the government is sending a message that education provides a great service and benefit to us all.
While I believe in private education’s tax-exempt status and the message it sends, I do not believe that professional athletic associations like the NHL and PGA should be tax-exempt. While a strong counter can be found as the why the tax-exempt status of these organizations is irrelevant, I still feel that it sends the wrong message and is unfair to the American taxpayer. The PGA grosses nearly $180 million a year in sponsorship, yet they are tax-exempt (Pound). To me, that is almost immoral of the government to do. Non-profits are meant to be mission-serving organizations that provide a beneficial service to their community; however, I see no benefit to the community by these organizations tax-exempt status. With the national debt continuing to rise, one would think the government would be taking any rightful cent they could get. Athletic leagues and some universities are just two examples of nonprofits that can be seen as questionable by the American people. In addition, I think it is important for the government to be transparent and really take into consideration the mission of the organization before verifying a group as tax-exempt. Keeping valuable tax dollars from the government and the American people is unfair, especially when it comes to athletic organizations that earn billions of dollars a year. With people struggling to simply pay for daily necessities, it is time for the government to reevaluate the current tax codes, and allow for more government transparency
To conclude, after presenting a basic history of nonprofit organizations and its tax codes, one can better determine whether or not specific groups should be considered a tax-exempt organization in today’s society. As history has progressed, it is becoming seemingly more difficult to see what public purpose certain groups are serving. The NHL and the PGA Tour Inc., for example, are making millions of dollars a year, yet they pay no federal income tax on its revenue. Congressmen see the fault in the tax-exempt status of these athletic organizations, but no progress is being made. Moreover, this shows a lack of transparency within in government, with a study finding of nearly 87% people being unaware of the NFL’s tax-exempt status. Yet, athletic organizations are not the only group being scrutinized for its nonprofit status. Educational institutions are beginning to feel the backlash as well. Schools such as Princeton and Brown are coming under pressure by their communities to pay property tax. “The reason they don’t dates back to 1917 whena€| educational institutions operated on a far more modest scale (Piereson and Riley.)
綜上所述，在介紹了非營利組織的基本歷史和它的稅法之后，人們可以更好地確定在當今社會中特定的團體是否應該被視為免稅組織。隨著歷史的進步，似乎越來越難以看出某些團體的公共目的是什么。例如，美國職業冰球聯盟(NHL)和職業高爾夫球巡回賽(PGA Tour Inc.)每年都能賺到數百萬美元，但卻無需為其收入繳納聯邦所得稅。國會議員們看到了這些體育團體免稅地位的錯誤，但沒有取得任何進展。此外，這表明政府內部缺乏透明度，一項研究發現，近87%的人不知道NFL的免稅地位。然而，體育組織并不是唯一一個因其非營利地位而受到審查的組織。教育機構也開始感受到強烈的抵觸情緒。普林斯頓大學(Princeton)和布朗大學(Brown)等學校正受到所在社區的壓力，要求它們繳納財產稅。他們沒有追溯到1917年whena€μ m教育機構的運作規模要小得多(Piereson和Riley)。
Sometimes, it is difficult to see the public purpose of certain organizations within the tax-exempt sector. While there are countless nonprofits performing beneficial public services, others can be harder to justify. In the future, I believe the government should not be allowing professional athletic associations to be tax-exempt. While the potential revenue increase is modest, it is still helping taxpayers. However, when it comes to the tax exemption of private universities, I am neutral or even in support of their status. Educational institutions bring great value to community, and I believe they provide a great service to the American people. Non-profits provide a great service to our country and in aiding public administrators. Thus, we should not take the status of the tax-exempt sector lightly.
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