“Detroit finds a way to collect more income tax from pro athletes playing here,” reads the headline from Detroit Headline Sports addressing the city’s new formula for collecting additional income taxes from professional athletes and others. Much is being made of the Motor City’s March 1, 2017, codification of the ordinance that increases the amount of income subject to the city’s income tax. The new formula, which takes the number of days that a player is in the city for game-related activities – “city days” – divided into a roster of “duty days,” now accounts for practice and travel days, not just the days on which games are played.
The article points out that while such jock taxes are widely used to generate extra revenue, some players will see a hefty increase, especially when the Detroit Pistons basketball team relocates to the new Little Caesars Arena, downtown. For example, Andre Drummond, the highest-paid Detroit Piston, who is projected to earn $23.8 million next season, would pay about $158,500 in Detroit city income taxes annually. Baseball player Miguel Cabrera, currently the first baseman for the Detroit Tigers, would pay an estimated city income tax of $152,899 each year.