Deee-Fence!

2/10/2016

Football fans who enjoyed Super Bowl 50 all know that, while offense may sell tickets, it's the defense that wins championships. The Carolina Panthers learned that lesson the hard way this past Sunday night, when they lost to the underdog Denver Broncos with a final score of 24-10. The Broncos scored just one offensive touchdown on their way to winning the Lombardi Trophy, and gained only 194 yards in total offense – the lowest for any winning Super Bowl team. But, ultimately, defense is what ruled the game with linebacker Von Miller leading Denver's defense to victory.  

While Miller may have been this year’s MVP, there's one competitor that every NFL player fears even more than a strip-sacking linebacker – and that's the one who wears the number 1040 on his jersey. The league minimum salary is $450,000 this year, which is enough to push even the most inexperienced rookie into the top 39.6% federal income tax bracket. Pile on 3.8% for Medicare and state and local taxes, plus whatever state and local "jock taxes" owed for road games, and it all adds up to a serious financial concussion.  

Fortunately for the Super Bowl-losing Panthers, their punter, Brad Nortman, and long snapper, J.J. Jansen, are there to help. Nortman majored in accounting at Wisconsin, recently passed the CPA exam, and is currently pursuing a master's degree in finance at Indiana University. Jansen also has a passion for numbers, having graduated magna cum laude with an accounting degree from Notre Dame in 2007. "I would say J.J. and I are the go-to corner for tax questions, investing questions, and personal finance questions," Nortman told FOXSports.com. "Any guys that want to know about it know where to go to."  

How important can those questions be? Well, let’s take a look at a more recent piece of tax news coming to us from the same northern California Bay that just hosted the big game.  

Oakland Raiders owner, Al Davis, and his partners have been battling the IRS for years over a number of tax assessments. In 2005, Davis and his wife finally entered into a settlement, which required the IRS to make "computational adjustments" to determine the effect on each partner's income. That settlement gave Davis and his partners 60 days to review the determined calculations. However, by the time the IRS sent Davis the final numbers, in which they called for an additional $2.5 million in tax due, the statute of limitations was about to expire. So the IRS issued the final assessments after just one week, rather than the 60 days the agreement promised.  

In 2011, Davis suited up in court to invalidate that assessment. Unfortunately for Davis, Judge Andrew Hurwitz ended up blitzing his claim. IRS closing agreements are contracts, the judge said, and the default remedy for breach of contract is damages. But, while the IRS did violate the contract by letting the play clock run down, Davis could have challenged the accuracy of the IRS calculations, filed an administrative claim for a refund, or sought reimbursement for the IRS's breach. "Instead, he threw a Hail Mary and sought a full refund. That pass falls incomplete," said the judge.