NHLPA preparing to sue state of Tennessee over 'playing tax'

Aaron Ward, TSN Hockey Analyst

11/1/2013 11:05:30 PM

The NHL Players' Association is seeking permission to sue the state of Tennessee on behalf of its membership and get reimbursed for a special tax that players must pay each time they play a game in Nashville.
Since the 2009-2010 season, the state has taxed NHL players $2,500 - with an annual cap of $7,500 - under a 'Professional Privilege Tax' each time they were on their club's playing roster for a game in Nashville.
The Players' Association believes this is unfair and possibly unconstitutional, saying a player making the league minimum would in fact lose money playing there and would be better off financially by not playing.
The reimbursement would only apply to those players who paid the tax prior to the new collective bargaining agreement. Under the current CBA, it was negotiated that the National Hockey League would reimburse players for their Tennessee tax payments, starting with the 2012-13 season.
The NHLPA - with support from the league -  is also attempting to get the tax law changed and has been lobbying in Tennessee for the state legislature to repeal the 'Professional Privilege Tax' outright.
If the law is repealed, the NHL would no longer be obligated to reimburse the tax.
As it stands, the NHLPA is preparing to legally challenge the tax itself because any repeal would not be retroactive and the players would then have to file a refund request for payments made between 2009 and 2012. The deadline for filing reimbursement claims for taxes paid to the state during the 2009-2010 season is Dec. 31.