Study: Oilers, Flames players have lowest taxes

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The two NHL teams in Alberta might not be able to woo free agents with promises of a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup.

But promises of saving money on taxes?

Yep, they can at least do that.

According to a new study (PDF) by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and Americans for Tax Reform, the “Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers tied for the lowest jurisdictional tax rate at 38.5%,” while the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators were “close behind at 40.5%.”

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The Montreal Canadiens, meanwhile, were the most expensive team to play for in 2014, based on the tax rate players pay in Quebec (54.0%), while the Los Angeles Kings were the most expensive American team to play for (53.0%).

Two years ago, the four teams in Florida, Texas and Tennessee, where there is no state tax, were tied for the lowest tax rates in the NHL. According to the study, they can blame President Obama for no longer being able to say that:

The expiry of the Bush tax cuts raised the tax rate on income over $400,000 from 35% to 39.6%. For a player making the NHL’s minimum salary it doesn’t make much of a difference but on a multimillion- dollar salary the difference is huge. A player making $550,000 would pay an addition $6,619 in tax, however a player making the maximum salary of $12.8 million pays an extra $533,319.

In 2013, the United States also introduced a 0.9% Medicare surtax on income over $200,000. That means that income up to $200,000 is taxed at 1.45% and income over $200,000 is taxed at 2.35%. That raises the taxes of a player making $550,000 by $11,125 and increased taxes of a player making $12.8 million by $280,200. In total, 2013 saw an increase of $17,744 on the lowest paid NHL players and of $813,519 on the maximum salary of an NHL player.

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