Pro athletes absolutely can deduct fines they pay

Tampa Bay Storm President Derrick Brooks told Boomer & Carton this morning that NFL fines go into a charity that aims to help former players that have fallen on tough times. (The Players Association and the league have agreed to donate fine money through the NFL Foundation to the NFL Player Care Foundation and the Gene Upshaw Players Association's Players Assistance Trust.) He added that the offending player cannot deduct the money from the fine that goes to the charity.

True, but...they can deduct the fine itself.

“I am often asked if player fines are deductible,” said CPA Robert A. Raiola. “For example a fine for speeding is not deductible but a fine for being late to practice is deductible because it violates team policy, but not public law.” Many people believe fines are deductible because some leagues, including the NFL, donate this money to charity. “That’s a common misconception. Whether the fines are donated or not, they are deductible to the athletes,” said Raiola.

Raiola is head of the Sports & Entertainment Group for the New Jersey-based accounting firm of Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC.

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