Professor Geier was quoted extensively in a March 2016 article published in The Bottom Line, a Canadian accounting journal (Jeff Buckstein, U.S. Top Court Rejects “Jock Tax” Appeal). The article explored the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of Cleveland’s certiorari petition in two Ohio Supreme Court cases: Hillenmeyer v. Cleveland Board of Revenue and Saturday v. Cleveland Board of Revenue. Hillenmeyer held that the “games played” method that Cleveland used to allocate the income of professional football players playing the Browns in Cleveland for purposes of Cleveland’s 2% income tax was unconstitutional because that method effectively taxed players on income earned outside Cleveland. Virtually all other municipalities use the “duty days” method, under which a smaller portion of each player’s annual football salaries could be taxed by Cleveland. Without a split in the circuits, Geier thought it not surprising that the U.S. Supreme Court did not grant cert. The article quoted her as saying, “I do think that Cleveland overreached and, in particular, that this illustrates a problem when we don’t have a uniform method among various taxing jurisdictions to tax the same slice of income.” Geier also noted that individuals generally are not taxed by Cleveland unless they spend at least 12 days (increased to 20 in 2016) in Cleveland. “For example, if a CEO comes to Cleveland and closes a deal and spends only a week here, Cleveland cannot tax any portion of the CEO’s wages for that year, even though some of it was earned in Cleveland.” But professional athletes and entertainers cannot benefit from this threshold and can be taxed on income earned in Cleveland from even a single game or concert.
The article is available below:
(This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of The Bottom Line. Any other use requires further permission requests.)