When we think about the Super Bowl, most people probably assume that the players take home a significant paycheck, especially if they are the quarterback of the wining team. Think again.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has helped his team earn a coveted spot against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday in Santa Clara, California, but even if the team wins on the field, Newton won’t see any of the paycheck.
Whether the Panthers win or lose, California’s liberal tax rate of 13.3 percent would completely swallow up any of Newton’s earnings from the championship game, K. Sean Packard explained in a guest article for Forbes.
States tax a player based on calendar-year income. They apply a “duty day” calculation which takes the ratio of duty days within the state over total duty days for the year. That ratio is then multiplied by the player’s salary to arrive at the state’s portion of the individual’s income.
For example, in 2014, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning would have paid New Jersey a 51 percent rate on his $92,000 earned had the Broncos beaten the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 48. But the Broncos lost, and Manning was instead forced to pay a 102 percent tax to the state on his $46,000 earnings from the game.
Two years later, Cam Newton has signed a five-year, $103.8 million contract extension, and he has already earned $58,800 so far this year for week 17 of the 2015 season plus the $71,000 he received in playoff bonuses. The Panthers quarterback has a $10 million signing bonus and $13 million in base salary coming up that he will receive during the 2016 regular season.