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General Discussion / Re: Taxes and Football!
« Last post by ElvisLives on Yesterday at 10:26:22 PM »
I'd like to get an idea of what expenses people are claiming.  I claim mileage, clinics, meals where allowed, dues and fees, a portion of my cell phone and internet, my gym membership, uniforms, supplies.  I have shown a profit each year.  What am I missing so Elvis doesn't consider me someone who "cares little-to-nothing about doing a first rate job.""

Bill, Iím the last guy on the planet you need to worry about what he thinks.  What you know about yourself is all that matters.

You checked off the tangible things that can be deducted.  But you didnít list the amount of time you spend doing all those things, as well as in non-mandated rule study, video review, etc.  Your time is worth something.  I once calculated that I spent well over 1,000 hours per year related to officiating (actually, closer to 1,500 hours, but letís use 1,000 as a benchmark).  Doing the math, even minimum wage would yield $7,250.  After deducting all the stuff mentioned above, thereís your profit.  Youíll make that in FBS, but you donít FCS or HS.  If your time is worth more than $7.25/hr, you may not be making a profit.
If you figure your time, Bill, it is probably a losing proposition.  But, if you are able to do everything necessary to perform at a high level, and you are able to show a profit, then thatís good.  Keep doing what you are doing.
Robert
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General Discussion / Re: Taxes and Football!
« Last post by Magician on Yesterday at 07:20:35 PM »
I'd like to get an idea of what expenses people are claiming.  I claim mileage, clinics, meals where allowed, dues and fees, a portion of my cell phone and internet, my gym membership, uniforms, supplies.  I have shown a profit each year.  What am I missing so Elvis doesn't consider me someone who "cares little-to-nothing about doing a first rate job.""
When I was just doing high school I would get to 0 profit just from mileage and dues and an occasional equipment upgrade. We often traveled 30-60 miles for games so the mileage added up quickly.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

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General Discussion / Re: Taxes and Football!
« Last post by justbill13 on Yesterday at 07:14:22 PM »
I'd like to get an idea of what expenses people are claiming.  I claim mileage, clinics, meals where allowed, dues and fees, a portion of my cell phone and internet, my gym membership, uniforms, supplies.  I have shown a profit each year.  What am I missing so Elvis doesn't consider me someone who "cares little-to-nothing about doing a first rate job.""
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General Discussion / Re: Taxes and Football!
« Last post by riffraft on Yesterday at 01:24:06 PM »

I am mainly concerned however with the tax treatment (the title of this thread), and want to better understand the fine line to walk between officiating being reportable as a business, and the implications if the IRS classifies it as a "hobby".

I have heard a few people mention the "hobby" thing, and it kind of ends there. 
What happens if the IRS makes the "hobby" determination? 
Is it reversible at some point in the future if you get to a D1/FBS/NFL level that allows organic profits from your officiating activities?



First, not showing any kind of profit for a "sustained" period of time is only one of the criteria that the IRS can look at to determine if it is a hobby.

Second, If the IRS determines it is a hobby, you can only deduct expenses up to the amount of income that you received.

Third, it is completely reversible, but if your "side income" is every declared a hobby, I would get a ruling from the IRS before I would change it to a business on my tax return.

Personally because of the other criteria that the IRS looks at that favors being a sports official as a business and not a hobby, I would not worry too much about the IRS coming in and ruling it is a hobby. Particularly if your losses are relatively small. But if you are worried about it. Every 3 or 4 years make yourself show a small profit by not claiming all your expenses. Not what I would do, but I know people who do it.

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General Discussion / Re: Taxes and Football!
« Last post by hefnerjm on Yesterday at 01:06:17 PM »
I was fortunate enough to have made FBS (D1-A) before the, essentially, requirement of spending years attending clinics became the advancement culture.  Even then, working HS, NAIA, DII, and D1-AA was not a profit-making proposition, when you take into account the number of hours spent in legitimate rule study, video review, scrimmages, plus the cost of uniforms, equipment, travel, meals, etc.  D1-A was profitable, but it wasn't a living.  That wasn't because it was just a fall activity - it wouldn't have been all that great even if it were year round (and it still isn't).  But, it is a decent supplemental income, even after expenses.  Yes, the NFL can be a good living wage - and is, for a number of those guys.

Regardless if you aspire to FBS (or NFL), or are happy working HS and/or smaller college, those that truly want to do the best job possible simply have to put in the time and effort.  Period.  And that means a lot of study time and personal preparation, at a minimum.  I can't speak for other states, but something around $100 per game for Texas HS football is hardly a profitable venture, for such dedicated folks.  Similarly, working smaller college football has higher per-game fees, but there are also even greater between-game time & effort requirements.  Still not truly profitable for those putting in the requisite time and effort.

Sadly, there are folks that care little-to-nothing about doing a first-rate job, and are only in it for the money.  Those folks may be able to show a profit, because they have little-to-no expense, either financially, or in effort.  Thankfully, they don't last long at anything other than HS football.  We'd love to get rid of them at the HS level, too, if it wasn't for the pure "numbers" needed for HS football.  But, they tend to languish in the lower levels (and complain about it).

The only thing you can do pre-FBS (or NFL) are things that will mitigate your losses.  Sharing expenses for transportation, lodging, printing hard-copy study aids, etc., where permitted, can help.  You may be able to take advantage of relatives, friends, friendly business associates, etc., for some of those same expenses.  Like any entrepreneur, be as creative as you legally and ethically can in reducing "costs," since you have little-to-no control over the fees part of the equation. 

Heck, even FBS guys (and gals) will take advantage of legal and ethical cost-cutting opportunities.  Example:  If you have a fellow staff official in a city with an institution you'll be working, and he is off that weekend, get him to chauffer y'all around, saving the cost of a rental car.  Buy him a meal and a beer.  Way less expensive than a rental car.  You'll reciprocate for him some day, somehow.  That creativity can translate to smaller college and HS officials, too.  Be creative.  Think outside the box.

But, trying to make sub-FBS football a significantly profitable activity probably ain't gonna happen.  Just cut your losses as best you can.  You can't do much about it, so just learn to live with the financial reality, and focus on the activity itself.  Make it fun.  Accept the challenge of doing it well and right, and let the fact that you are giving your best be the reward for a job well done.  Put in the time and effort.  If it is meant to be for you, you will get there (wherever that may be).

Robert

Elvis,
Great advice here, and I 100% agree with your assessment. 

My primary concern was
Just make sure that you're not reporting losses for too many years in a row.  The last thing you want is the IRS classifying this as a "Hobby"

I am passionate about what we do, and I do well enough in my day job that I really dont personally care if my officiating activities turn a profit or not.  I accept that the expenses for travel, clinics, etc will outweigh the "profit" from game fees. 

In my personal situation, I am currently a HS official and working towards small college, and my reality is that there is a significant cost outlay over several years in order to learn, grow, and develop as an official to get the opportunity to work at the next level.

I am mainly concerned however with the tax treatment (the title of this thread), and want to better understand the fine line to walk between officiating being reportable as a business, and the implications if the IRS classifies it as a "hobby".

I have heard a few people mention the "hobby" thing, and it kind of ends there. 
What happens if the IRS makes the "hobby" determination? 
Is it reversible at some point in the future if you get to a D1/FBS/NFL level that allows organic profits from your officiating activities?


On the cost-cutting front, I love the idea of thinking creatively/outside the box.
For a personal example of this, the college conference I am looking to work with is merging with another and will stretch from Mississippi to Arizona.  One thing I am preparing for is the possibility of having to fly to games.  To that end, I opened a couple of Southwest airlines credit cards and got the Companion Pass for 2018-2019.  If I happen to get picked up, and happen to get on a crew with someone else semi-locally, I would try to set them as my "Companion" and book flights to games together from the same airport.  This would effectively cut the airfare costs in half (minus the $5.60 9/11 airline fees). 

Great way to minimize the cost of travel, but still hard to net an operating profit before reaching FBS level.  As it takes a while to reach that level, is there any rule of thumb that the IRS uses before classifying as a "hobby"?   

In short, I want to know how many years the IRS will let me take an operating loss from officiating, effectively offsetting/reducing other taxable income from my day job, before getting the kibosh...even though I can honestly and ethically prove that I am making progress in the field, and growing professionally, but in more intangible ways not reflected by the bottom line.
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General Discussion / Re: American Pride....
« Last post by Ralph Damren on Yesterday at 07:22:18 AM »
The baseball POE has to do with facing down each other AFTER the anthem has been played, not player conduct DURING the anthem.

Same reason we enforce the "no-fly zone" during warmups in football.
I realize the attempt to prevent the "stare-down" is the crux of the POE, but I felt the verbiage lent support to the national anthem is a valued tradition and that coaches should be role models and are accountable for their players that represent their school and community. In Maine, as in many states, the schools or conferences can dictate the protocol of the players during the anthem.
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National Federation Discussion / Re: Rule changes are here
« Last post by Ralph Damren on Yesterday at 07:00:25 AM »
With our new rule we have 3 possibilities.....

(1) Big ole' Bubba waddles up to the line with his chin strap dangling = officials' time out - Bubba must leave for 1 play.

(2) Big ole' Bubba waddles up to line without a tail-pad = officials' time out -Bubba must leave for one play.

(3) Big ole' Bubba waddles up to the line with a razor blade taped to his belt buckle = officials' time out, head coach hit with  ^flag ^flag ^flag ^flag ^flag (5-man crew) for USC.

Unlike other levels, a team can't burn a timeout to get Bubba back in the game. Sorta' like a player losing his helmet. Case plays will help clarify.

 
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General Discussion / Re: American Pride....
« Last post by bama_stripes on Yesterday at 06:52:36 AM »
The baseball POE has to do with facing down each other AFTER the anthem has been played, not player conduct DURING the anthem.

Same reason we enforce the "no-fly zone" during warmups in football.
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National Federation Discussion / Re: Rule changes are here
« Last post by NCVAReferee on Yesterday at 05:56:17 AM »
Let me clarify, I meant to say this constitutes improperly wearing required equipment.  With that reading it would seem this rule change would not be applicable to the scenario I presented now that I think about it, but what do you think? 
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National Federation Discussion / Re: Rule changes are here
« Last post by NCVAReferee on Yesterday at 05:54:12 AM »
1-5-4, 1-5-5, 3-5-10e (NEW) 3-6-2, 9-9: Improperly equipped player shall be replaced for at least one down.

What will this mean for players with pads hanging out of jerseys or jerseys untucked?  In NC the interpretation has been that this constitutes illegal equipment. 

Also, the literal reading of this change implies that if equipment becomes illegal during the down (ie. pads pop out), then they would need to be replaced for a down?

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