Senator introduces bills to revoke PGA Tour’s tax-exempt status
Two weeks after a Senate committee questioned PGA Tour officials about the circuit’s framework agreement with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, a lawmaker has moved to revoke the Tour’s tax-exempt status.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the chair of the Senate’s finance committee, introduced two bills Wednesday, the Sports League Tax-Exempt Status Limitation Act and the Ending Tax Breaks for Massive Sovereign Wealth Funds Act.
“An organization that betrays its own word and agrees to become a profit generator for Saudi Arabia’s brutal regime has disqualified itself for a tax exemption,” Wyden said.
At issue is the Tour’s tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(6) organization and how that status would change if the framework agreement becomes definitive and creates a for-profit entity with the Tour, PIF and LIV Golf.
The Sports League Tax-Exempt Status Limitation Act would adjust the current tax code to exclude sports organizations with assets exceeding $500 million and the Ending Tax Breaks for Massive Sovereign Wealth Funds Act would deny that benefit to funds belonging to countries that have more than $100 billion invested globally.
“Most of America’s big pro sports leagues gave up their tax exemptions voluntarily when their revenues climbed into the stratosphere, and they hadn’t even shamed themselves with Saudi blood money. An organization that betrays its own word and agrees to become a profit generator for Saudi Arabia’s brutal regime has disqualified itself for a tax exemption,” Wyden said. “Many of the biggest sovereign wealth funds out there belong to countries that do not have our interests at heart, and there’s no good reason for hardworking American taxpayers to have to subsidize their huge profits.”
Major League Baseball and the NFL voluntarily gave up their tax exemptions in 2007 and 2015, respectively.
The Tour declined to comment on the proposed bills.