Author Topic: Taxes and Football!  (Read 3776 times)

Offline carol1995

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #25 on: February 05, 2018, 01:11:16 PM »
To my understanding, when claiming a %'age of your home "office space" was the newest rage, perhaps year +/- 2005, the IRA was a bit lax.  But now a days the IRS has become much more strict with this - especially with a 'part time' gig like our officiating.

Part time???  This is a year-round thing for me.  ;D 

I know what you mean.  I haven't been audited yet, but I claim a profit each year (and taxes eat me alive).  Plus, right now, my home office is so small (it's really just a closet), the IRS probably isn't going to audit me over a few dollars. 

Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #26 on: February 05, 2018, 04:45:13 PM »
Everythingís deductible until the audit. My motto
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No tax or IRS expert here, but that seems a bit dangerous, considering the interest and penalties that can be added to the tax owed.  Not to mention the fact that you may be on their "watch list" forever after that.

Not 'judging' Mr. Bolt, because, IMHO, none of us should be put in a position to have deal with such complicated systems.  A simple tax system, graduated from 0% to 10%, with no deductions/credits/loopholes/shelters, etc., and our tax returns become: I made X (including my officiating income, earned interest, etc.), I paid Y.  No need for an accountant or a tax attorney.  No need for an IRS Hot Line.  No need for thousands of IRS agents (still need a few to chase down those that don't report their full income).  No need to spend hundreds of millions of tax dollars per year (according to my congressman's office) to compose and print the IRS tax publications.

Uh? Oh?  Wha....  I guess I dozed off there and was dreaming.  Yes, I'm a dreamer, too.

Robert


 

Online Etref

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #27 on: February 05, 2018, 04:50:57 PM »
Part time???  This is a year-round thing for me.  ;D 

I know what you mean.  I haven't been audited yet, but I claim a profit each year (and taxes eat me alive).  Plus, right now, my home office is so small (it's really just a closet), the IRS probably isn't going to audit me over a few dollars. 

It is for most even at the high school level.

Clinics, crew meetings, off season training, spring games, etc

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Offline carol1995

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #28 on: February 06, 2018, 08:37:50 AM »
It is for most even at the high school level.

Yep...that 3 months of work turns into 12 months of work. 

Offline stevegarbs

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2018, 02:40:43 PM »
Heard a presentation from a fellow official who works multiple sports- he probably is officiating 300+ days per year (he is retired from other full time work)- he passed along the advice that under reporting income is a misdemeanor; failing to report income is a felony.


Your mileage may vary. People can and do lose money. Read the prospectus carefully.


I have reported every penny I have earned from officiating for all 25 years of my career.

Offline TxSkyBolt

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Taxes and Football!
« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2018, 08:17:56 PM »
No tax or IRS expert here, but that seems a bit dangerous, considering the interest and penalties that can be added to the tax owed.  Not to mention the fact that you may be on their "watch list" forever after that.

Not 'judging' Mr. Bolt, because, IMHO, none of us should be put in a position to have deal with such complicated systems.  A simple tax system, graduated from 0% to 10%, with no deductions/credits/loopholes/shelters, etc., and our tax returns become: I made X (including my officiating income, earned interest, etc.), I paid Y.  No need for an accountant or a tax attorney.  No need for an IRS Hot Line.  No need for thousands of IRS agents (still need a few to chase down those that don't report their full income).  No need to spend hundreds of millions of tax dollars per year (according to my congressman's office) to compose and print the IRS tax publications.

Uh? Oh?  Wha....  I guess I dozed off there and was dreaming.  Yes, I'm a dreamer, too.

Robert


 
https://youtu.be/wbUEJ05BqLU


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Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #31 on: February 10, 2018, 08:36:30 PM »
https://youtu.be/wbUEJ05BqLU
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Sadly, not always.  One of my many personal flaws.
My fear is that others might take this seriously, and get in a bind with the IRS.  And that is nothing to joke or kid about.

Robert

Offline refbuz

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #32 on: February 14, 2018, 10:42:23 AM »
Filing taxes are like speeding.  It all comes down to how comfortable you with the deductions you are claiming. 

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"

Offline hefnerjm

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #33 on: February 14, 2018, 12:51:41 PM »
Filing taxes are like speeding.  It all comes down to how comfortable you with the deductions you are claiming. 

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"

Any advice on how to make an actual net profit at this while trying to advance to the next level???  There is no way to offset the costs of doing business plus even 1 camp/clinic unless you just claim all of the income without claiming all your expenses.
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Offline justbill13

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #34 on: February 14, 2018, 04:52:55 PM »
I have always shown a net profit.  This past year (2017-just finished them) is the smallest profit I have made as I have tried to make it to the next level.  I went to 3 college clinics plus 1 high school, worked several spring games for no pay, etc.

Offline refbuz

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #35 on: February 15, 2018, 11:08:16 AM »
Any advice on how to make an actual net profit at this while trying to advance to the next level???  There is no way to offset the costs of doing business plus even 1 camp/clinic unless you just claim all of the income without claiming all your expenses.

"Next Level" being HS to NCAA or D2/3 to FCS? 

You can lose $, you just can lose it too often.  The honest answer to your question is the only way you're going to show a profit on paper, is to eat some of your annual expenses when you go to a clinic.  You may not take 100% of your miles for the year, you may not use all your meals, how you handle the write offs is up to you.  The reality is that making a flat fee of $300 or less just isn't enough to cover 100% of the expenses we incur.  If you decide to go to one of the big clinics, you may be working the coming season for free. 

Provided that it doesn't bump you up a bracket, showing an extra $100/$200 on your schedule C shouldn't significantly impact your tax return either way.  I would make it a point to have a real-life conversation with someone who is familiar with the tax code though before you actually file though.  You may have other personal write offs that are completely unrelated to FB and have a bigger impact to your bottom line than what you are "giving up" to show a profit for FB.

Hope that this helps 




Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #36 on: February 15, 2018, 01:23:00 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

Offline hefnerjm

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #37 on: February 21, 2018, 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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Offline riffraft

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2018, 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.


Offline justbill13

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #39 on: February 21, 2018, 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.""

Offline Magician

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #40 on: February 21, 2018, 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.

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Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #41 on: February 21, 2018, 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

Offline justbill13

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2018, 11:38:57 AM »
I don't calculate my time when doing taxes because that is a whole other issue and raises all kinds of complications.  If people are taking that into account when talking about turning a profit or not, that is a different conversation.  When strictly talking about profit/loss for tax purposes, the credit side is the income and the debit side is your expenses.  I still struggle how people don't show a profit in tax terms.  Magician posted that they often traveled 30-60 miles for games.  I had 3 Varsity HS games last year where we traveled over 100 miles.  I recently moved and my HS travel will be considerably less this year, so I expect to turn a bigger profit.

Our time is worth something, yes, and I haven't calculated how many hours is devoted to officiating but I would think I ma near your 1000-1500 figure.

But, we don't get paid by the hour.  We get paid by the game/event. 

Offline hefnerjm

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #43 on: February 22, 2018, 12:51:31 PM »
Bill,

For tax purposes, I dont have any monetary calculation on time.  But here is my breakdown:
income (game fees, mileage payments):
I typically clear somewhere in the neighborhood of $1500-$2000 per year across 25-40 JV/Varsity games each season (football is my only sport...certainly some people work 2-3x that many games in a season by hitting the pop warner circuit pretty hard). 

Expenses
Last year my mileage was lower than normal b/c the last month of my season, my wife was expecting our 3rd child and she didnt let me travel to some of the country games I am used to doing...I still traveled 1628 miles (down from 2k last year).
According to TurboTax, that gives me an $871 "standard mileage deduction". 

With that plus only 1 camp fee ($700) and related travel (flight+rental car+hotel), I am already in negative territory for the year.  And that is without meals, replacement uniforms, anything related to home office (cell phone, internet, etc),.

Summary
When all is said and done this year, I think I ended up with almost double my income in expenses.  This is nice in the short term b/c it offsets taxable income from my day job...but as was discussed earlier, I dont see that as a good long term solution without getting the hobby hammer from the IRS.

I just don't see how it is possible to work HS ball and truly have a net profit come tax time unless your HS association does WAY better on the income side than we do down here in Texas, or you are way better at controlling expenses than I am.
Coach: "I've been doing this 30 years!  I know the rules!"
Ref: "Are you married coach?"
Coach (suddenly offguard): "umm...yeah, why?"
Ref: "I've been married 30 years and my wife says there is still room for improvement"
Coach: "<silence>"

Offline justbill13

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #44 on: February 22, 2018, 02:17:33 PM »
Bill,

For tax purposes, I dont have any monetary calculation on time.  But here is my breakdown:
income (game fees, mileage payments):
I typically clear somewhere in the neighborhood of $1500-$2000 per year across 25-40 JV/Varsity games each season (football is my only sport...certainly some people work 2-3x that many games in a season by hitting the pop warner circuit pretty hard). 

Expenses
Last year my mileage was lower than normal b/c the last month of my season, my wife was expecting our 3rd child and she didnt let me travel to some of the country games I am used to doing...I still traveled 1628 miles (down from 2k last year).
According to TurboTax, that gives me an $871 "standard mileage deduction". 

With that plus only 1 camp fee ($700) and related travel (flight+rental car+hotel), I am already in negative territory for the year.  And that is without meals, replacement uniforms, anything related to home office (cell phone, internet, etc),.

Summary
When all is said and done this year, I think I ended up with almost double my income in expenses.  This is nice in the short term b/c it offsets taxable income from my day job...but as was discussed earlier, I dont see that as a good long term solution without getting the hobby hammer from the IRS.

I just don't see how it is possible to work HS ball and truly have a net profit come tax time unless your HS association does WAY better on the income side than we do down here in Texas, or you are way better at controlling expenses than I am.

That makes some sense.  The camp fees and related travel expenses are a lot higher than what I see.  I went to 4 camps last year- 3 college (2 for the HAAC and 1 for the MIAA) and 1 for HS (Sioux Empire).  My camps fees for all 4 were less than $700.  Plus, I drove to each one, so no airfare.

Digging in my own tax data for this year (because as I said-I was struggling to see how people don't make a profit), I see that I posted a loss when looking at football only (I do multiple sports).   I posted a very small profit on HS only (like enough for a meal) but a loss for Varsity.  So, it looks like my other sports and my lower level football subsidizes Varsity HS and College football.  Since I am dropping the other sports for this year and will do less lower level, I am projecting a loss for this year.

Offline clearwall

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #45 on: April 16, 2018, 02:01:34 PM »
You should always be paying taxes regardless if you get a 1099 or not.  P_S

You can claim deductions for uniforms, association fees, test supplies, etc.

I would say don't bother with receipts. Honestly, the IRS is not going to audit your $1.5k/year side gig. That said, any side business that has a high proportion of expenses to income is suspicious in their eyes.

You only make $1500 a year doing this? Man, y'all are underpaid in Chicago bro.I make $1500 just with my HS JV schedule. $85 per game makes it only about 17-18 games to hit that mark. With 4 or 5 double headers thats about 10-15 dates. Then I add about 120, 130 for varsity games times 14 is another $1700. I feel bad for you, my friend.

Offline ChicagoZebra

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #46 on: April 16, 2018, 04:23:25 PM »
You only make $1500 a year doing this? Man, y'all are underpaid in Chicago bro.I make $1500 just with my HS JV schedule. $85 per game makes it only about 17-18 games to hit that mark. With 4 or 5 double headers thats about 10-15 dates. Then I add about 120, 130 for varsity games times 14 is another $1700. I feel bad for you, my friend.

Where do you work? That is indeed much more than we get here. But, as we always say, it is not about the money.  :sTiR:

Varsity around here pays about $75. JV around $55. I only work Friday/Saturdays to keep my home life sane so limited to about 2 games per week (and there are not that many varsity games on Saturdays). Regular season is only 9 weeks long.

Offline clearwall

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Re: Taxes and Football!
« Reply #47 on: April 17, 2018, 05:55:12 PM »
Where do you work? That is indeed much more than we get here. But, as we always say, it is not about the money.  :sTiR:

Varsity around here pays about $75. JV around $55. I only work Friday/Saturdays to keep my home life sane so limited to about 2 games per week (and there are not that many varsity games on Saturdays). Regular season is only 9 weeks long.

Dallas.