SOURCE: Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Canadian Taxpayers Federation

SOURCE: Americans for Tax Reform

Americans for Tax Reform

November 17, 2014 08:30 ET

Home Ice Tax Disadvantage? New CTF Study Examines Impact of Personal Income Taxes on NHL Players, Teams and Salary Caps

OTTAWA, ON--(Marketwired - November 17, 2014) -

  • In 2013-14 players for the Montréal Canadiens paid the highest taxes, with a tax rate of 54%, and the Calgary Flames paid the lowest team tax rate of 38.2%
  • True Salary Cap (after income taxes) for the Flames and Edmonton Oilers was a league high of $39.6 million; Montréal Canadiens had league low of only $29.6 million.
  • 57% of Unrestricted Free Agents who moved teams, went to teams with lower taxes.

A new study jointly-released by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) and Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) reveals that Montréal continues to be the least financially attractive location in the NHL for players when it comes to personal income taxes.

The CTF looked at NHL team salary spending, personal income tax rates in the relevant province or state, and the "true cap," which takes into consideration these rates. The CTF also examined the tax impact of various off-season trades on players' incomes. 

Winger P.A. Parenteau will pay an additional $349,535 in taxes after being traded to the Canadiens, moving from Colorado's 46 per cent tax rate to Quebec's 54 per cent rate. At the other end of the spectrum, former Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza can expect to see tax savings of $394,732 after being traded to the Dallas Stars, moving from Ontario's 49 per cent rate to 41 per cent in Texas.

"The numbers don't lie; NHL players take a financial hit to play in certain jurisdictions," said paper author and CTF Research Director Jeff Bowes. "Obviously, there are other factors at play besides taxes, but the fact remains that disparities in tax rates leave some teams at a major disadvantage."

Calgary and Edmonton took the top spot in 2014, up from fifth place in 2012. Florida, Tampa Bay, Dallas and Nashville fell from the top spot in 2012 to third best locations in 2014 to play from an income tax standpoint. Vancouver is seventh, Winnipeg 12th, Ottawa and Toronto at 18th and Montreal in 30th.

"Injuries can damage your favorite sports team. So can high taxes in your state. Higher taxes drive talent to other teams in lower tax states and provinces," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "High taxes and pulled tendons can both keep you out of the playoffs."

While there is a salary cap in place, income tax differences mean that some locations have a distinct advantage over others. Edmonton and Calgary's "true cap" (after income taxes) is a league high of $39.6 million, Vancouver at $35.4 million, Winnipeg at $34.8 million, Toronto and Ottawa at $33.1 million and Montréal at $29.6 million.

"NHL players are just one example of highly skilled workers who have a choice of where to work," added CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick. "The same principles apply far beyond professional athletes, but also for doctors, engineers and CEOs of major companies. If high tax rates make it more difficult to attract free-agents in the NHL, it's not a stretch to believe it's also be hard to attract other highly skilled workers. Governments need to keep that in mind when they're considering the impact of tax rates on attracting top talent."

The CTF and ATR's study on the taxes of NHL players can be found HERE.

Attachment Available:

Contact Information

  • For more information:
    Aaron Wudrick
    CTF Federal Director
    w: 1-800-265-0442
    c: 613-295-8409

    Jeff Bowes
    CTF Research Director
    w: 1-800-265-0442

    John Kartch
    Americans for Tax Reform
    w: 202-785-0266
    (Washington, D.C.)

    Candice Malcolm
    CTF Ontario Director
    c: 416-648-0850

    Jordan Bateman
    CTF BC Director
    w: 604-999-3319

    Scott Hennig
    CTF VP, Communications
    w: 780-589-1006
    c: 780-953-4484