Videos by OutKick
The PGA Tour has long been a tax-exempt business under section 501(c)(6) of the U.S. Tax Code, but with its recently announced plans to merge with the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) is on a mission to remove the Tour’s tax exemption.
Wyden, the Senate Finance Committee Chairman, has officially introduced two new bills that would not only revoke the PGA Tour’s tax exemption status but also deem the Saudi PIF ineligible for any lucrative tax break that typically applies to sovereign wealth funds.
Sen. Wyden made it clear that it is the Tour’s new-found ties with Saudi Arabia that has sprung him into action.
“Most of America’s big pro sports leagues gave up their tax exemptions voluntarily when their revenues climbed into the stratosphere, and they hadn’t even shamed themselves with Saudi blood money,” Wyden said.
“An organization that betrays its own word and agrees to become a profit generator for Saudi Arabia’s brutal regime has disqualified itself for a tax exemption,” Wyden said. “Many of the biggest sovereign wealth funds out there belong to countries that do not have our interests at heart, and there’s no good reason for hardworking American taxpayers to have to subsidize their huge profits.”
The NFL and MLB gave up their tax exemption status in 2015 and 2007, respectively. This leaves the PGA Tour as the largest sports organization still with a tax-exempt status based on total revenue.
Wyden’s first bill, The Sports League Tax-Exempt Status Limitation Act, would modify the 501(c)(6) designation in the tax code to exclude sports organizations with assets exceeding $500 million.
The second bill, The Ending Tax Breaks for Massive Sovereign Wealth Funds Act, targets sovereign wealth funds and would deny that benefit to funds belonging to countries that have more than $100 billion invested globally.
Sen. Wyden being the man behind these two new bills comes as no surprise as he opened an investigation into the PGA Tour-PIF deal in June shortly after plans were announced by both sides.