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Are you ready for some tax-deductible football fines?

It looks like case closed on the New England Patriots' illegal videotaping of the New York Jets' defensive coaches signals in the teams' Sept. 9 season opener. The Patriots won 38-14.

Pats Coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 and the Patriots $250,000. The team also will lose a 2008 first-round draft choice if it makes the playoffs; if it misses the playoffs, the draft costs will be its 2008 second- and third-round choices.

But we still have an important matter hanging out there. Specifically, can Belichick deduct his fine on his next tax return?

Paul Caron, aka TaxProf and a lifelong Boston sports fan, raised the issue after the fine was announced. It sparked quite a conversation among his tax-teaching peers. You can read these legal tax eagles' thoughts and reasons for their positions here, here and here.

The consensus is "yes," it's an ordinary and necessary cost to conduct -- or, in Belichick's case, misconduct -- the business of NFL coaching.

I found the whole line of discussion quite interesting and not just for tax reasons.

Cowboys_helmet_2 I'm a lifelong Cowboys fan -- that's right, still America's team, baby! -- so I'm hoping the pro-deduction tax professors are correct and T.O. can write off his $7,500 fine for using the football as a "prop" when he made fun of the Belichick situation following a touchdown in the 'Boys' 37-20 victory over the Dolphins.

Yes, it's true. I support tax breaks for disgustingly rich, annoying arrogant folks ... as long as they play, and play well, on my favorite sports teams!


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