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How Peyton Manning could owe New Jersey money if he loses Super Bowl

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Greg Campbell Contributor
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As if Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning doesn’t have enough pressure to win the Super Bowl on Sunday, avoiding the New Jersey tax authorities can be added to the list.

New Jersey is one of several states that impose a so-called “jock tax” on visiting athletes who compete on their home turf. And thanks to the convoluted arithmetic required by the New Jersey tax code, if the Broncos lose to the Seattle Seahawks, and if Manning continues playing for the Broncos next season, his New Jersey tax bill for Sunday’s appearance could be bigger than his paycheck for the game.

New Jersey bases the tax bill for athletes on a calculation of the number of days they’re in the state for official business and their overall yearly income.

Each player on the winning team will earn $92,000; losers get $46,000 each. After the Super Bowl, Manning’s 2014 income to date, when playoff bonuses are included, will be either $157,000 or $111,000, depending on whether the Broncos win or lose, with a respective tax bill of $1,575 or $982.

Where it gets complicated, according to an article in Forbes, is whether or not doctors will force Manning to retire based on an offseason exam to evaluate extensive surgery Manning had on his neck.

If he’s cleared to keep playing, his 2014 earnings will be either $15,157,000 or $15,111,000 (again, depending on whether the Broncos win or lose). Earning an extra $15 million would generally be considered a good thing, but in that event, his overall 2014 income would push him into New Jersey’s top tax bracket, Forbes reported.

And the tax bill will be collected before he’s earned the money.

So in the event that Manning does continue playing, his tax bill would be $46,989 on the $92,000 bonus for winning the Super Bowl, or 51.08 percent.

However, if the Broncos lose, the tax bill would be $46,844 on the $46,000 losers cut, or 101.83 percent.

In other words, Manning will owe New Jersey $844 for the privilege of losing the Super Bowl, assuming that he continues playing next season.

“At this point,” wrote Forbes guest columnist K. Sean Packard, a CPA, “his only tax-planning tools would be to retire or demand a trade in the offseason.”

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