Tulsa is proud and very excited to have the U.S. Open in town this year. And as KOTV's Rick Wells tells us, the folks who figure income taxes at the Oklahoma Tax Commission are excited too.
America's top professional athletes make a lot of money. Texas Ranger shortstop Alex Rodriguez, for example, is baseball's highest paid player with a $252-million ten-year contract. Because he plays, or earns his living, in states other than Texas during the season, if the state has an income tax A-Rod pays. For example he'll pay California more than $300,000 in state income tax this year, $41,000 in Maryland, $35,000 in Ohio. That's the pro-rated share of his salary earned playing baseball games in those states.
So Rick Wells was thinking, the U.S. Open is out at Southern Hills this week; Oklahoma has a personal income tax. Do the players who win money in the Open have to pay Oklahoma tax? The answer is yes. According to Paula Ross, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Tax Commission, if they make the money here, they pay taxes here. Here are some details: The top prize at this year's Open is $900,000, at Oklahoma's top rate of 6.75 percent that's a hefty rebate to the state of $60,750. The total prize money for the tournament is $5-million, and the tax bill on all that money comes to a possible $337,500. The Tax Commission says not all players will pay at the top rate, but all with winnings will pay something. So while you are complimenting a nice putt or a great shot, you probably ought to throw in a great big, thanks!
Rick Wells says the final Oklahoma income tax rate for each player would differ based on filing status and other circumstances. The Income tax money that's generated will go to the state's general fund and the education revolving fund.