本文是金融专业的Essay范例，题目是“Arguments for and Against Athletic Associations and University Tax Exemption（支持和反对体育协会和大学免税的理由）”，在美国，免税部门的起源早在共和国成立之前很久(Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley 125)。在没有建立政府框架的情况下，早期殖民者成立了许多慈善组织和其他志愿组织来应对各种问题(Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley 125)。现在，在共和国成立近三个世纪后，免税部门仍然在公共管理中扮演着重要角色，特别是在公共服务的履行中。
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 activitiesâ€¦”(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.)
要想真正了解当今的非营利部门，了解免税部门在美国历史中所扮演的角色的简史是很重要的。首先，志愿组织主要有两种类型:公共服务和成员服务。虽然这两个志愿组织在早期殖民地的医院和教育方面取得了巨大的成功，但这些志愿组织的税法直到1894年才制定出来。此外，在20世纪50年代之前，“免税组织可以从与任务相关的活动和商业业务中获得免税收入activitiesâ€ρ”(Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley 127)。直到1954年的《税收法案》(Revenue Act of 1954)，关于自愿组织的现代税法才建立起来，“包括第501(c)条关于免税组织”(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反对体育协会和一些大学免税的论点
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-generatingâ€¦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.)
免税部门在过去三十年里发生了巨大的变化。免税组织数量的迅速增加，加上税法的演变，导致政府在组织方面缺乏透明度。例如，美国国家橄榄球联盟(National Football League)每年的总收入超过95亿美元，但直到2015年美国国家橄榄球联盟(NFL)自愿放弃免税地位之前，都不缴纳联邦税(Isidore 2015)。作为一个非营利性组织，NFL赚的钱比基督教会、红十字会、救世军或天主教慈善机构还要多，但它仍然能够作为有史以来最伟大的profit-generatingâ€γ媒体企业之一(沃森)。在费尔利·迪金森大学进行的一项调查中，只有13%的人能确定NFL是一个非营利组织(詹金斯)。虽然美国国家橄榄球联盟已经取消了免税资格，但还有其他一些体育组织的非营利地位仍然存在疑问。其他体育团体，如国家曲棍球联盟，国家大学体育协会，职业高尔夫协会巡回赛和职业牛仔竞技协会也受到了攻击。参议员汤姆·科伯恩(Tom Coburn)呼吁立法，取消任何总收入超过1000万美元的体育联盟，在501(c) 6项下不再免税。这位参议员写道:“美国人人为地支付高费用，以补贴体育联盟的特别休息(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 violenceâ€¦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，体育协会并不是唯一的免税团体。长期以来，人们都认为教育机构不需要缴纳联邦所得税，但一些人开始质疑这种情况是否应该一直如此。在2013年的夏天，普林斯顿的居民聚集在一起起诉这所位于他们城镇的著名大学(Pierson, Riley)。镇上的居民认为，普林斯顿大学这所学校，由于其捐款、科学专利、活动等原因，不应该再享有免税地位(Pierson, Riley)。“原告说，这所常春藤盟校的运作就像一家企业，所以税法应该把它当作一家企业来对待”(Pierson, Riley)。诉讼称，2011年，哈佛大学从科学专利中获得了超过1.15亿美元，然后又把3500万美元交给了不同的教师。居民的律师说:“普林斯顿的人至少要多交三分之一的税，因为大学这些年来一直是免税的”(Pierson, Riley)。普林斯顿并不是唯一一所遭到当地社区反对的大学。布朗大学所在地罗得岛州普罗维登斯市的市长也想增加大学的税收。在一次新闻发布会上，市长安吉尔·塔维拉斯说，“从1900名纳税人征收的税收”来解释“布朗大学未缴纳的3800万美元的财产税”。
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，随着社区继续努力为公共服务提供资金，一些人发现很难理解为什么富裕的学校和大学可以免税。仅在2004年，教育机构就占据了美国公共慈善机构前十名中的六席(Arnsberger, Ludlum, Riley, 131席)。然而，许多这些富裕的教育机构在财政上几乎不支持当地社区，即使学校受益于许多当地的公共服务(Pierson, Riley)。一些大学，如约翰霍普金斯大学、耶鲁大学和杜克大学已经制定了试点协议来代替缴税(Pierson, Riley)。但即使是这些捐款也远远低于学校应缴纳的税款(Pierson, Riley)。
Counter Argument for Athletic Assoc. and Universities and their Tax-Exemption运动协会的反对意见。大学及其免税政策
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.
密歇根大学(University of Michigan)体育管理学教授朱迪思•朗(Judith Long)表示，体育协会的免税地位无关紧要(Long 2014)。政府不会通过取消体育协会的免税地位来获得大量的财政收入。“当前关于职业体育的非营利性地位的争论中，许多人的愤怒是由错误的观念驱动的，即这些组织所获得的收入是不征税的”(Long 2014)。助理主管的巨额工资后来仍然通过个人税征税，以及许多大联盟球队谁是协会的一部分(长2014年)。此外，朗指出，“许多非营利体育联盟和协会要么亏损运营，要么接近盈亏平衡，几乎不缴纳所得税”(2014年)。因此，取消职业体育协会的免税地位不会产生人们想象的那么多的收入。专注于职业体育协会的免税地位，掩盖了这些团体给美国纳税人带来的许多实际负担。“例如，我们继续允许使用联邦免税债券来资助新的体育场馆和竞技场，美国各地的城市经常为支持设施的人减免财产税”(Long 2014)。在最初的十年里，政府从取消专业协会免税地位中获得的收入约为1.1亿美元，而在过去的十年里(漫长的2014年)，这些从财产税中获得的赠款减免成本高达数十亿美元。因此，职业体育协会的免税地位并不是政府从这些团体中损失收入的最大方式。
Evaluating the tax-exempt status of private universities is different than examining that of professional athletic associations. “â€¦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两种论证的批判
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 whenâ€¦ educational institutions operated on a far more modest scale (Piereson and Riley.)
综上所述，在介绍了非营利组织的基本历史和它的税法之后，人们可以更好地确定在当今社会中特定的团体是否应该被视为免税组织。随着历史的进步，似乎越来越难以看出某些团体的公共目的是什么。例如，美国职业冰球联盟(NHL)和职业高尔夫球巡回赛(PGA Tour Inc.)每年都能赚到数百万美元，但却无需为其收入缴纳联邦所得税。国会议员们看到了这些体育团体免税地位的错误，但没有取得任何进展。此外，这表明政府内部缺乏透明度，一项研究发现，近87%的人不知道NFL的免税地位。然而，体育组织并不是唯一一个因其非营利地位而受到审查的组织。教育机构也开始感受到强烈的抵触情绪。普林斯顿大学(Princeton)和布朗大学(Brown)等学校正受到所在社区的压力，要求它们缴纳财产税。他们没有追溯到1917年whenâ€μ m教育机构的运作规模要小得多(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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