Pennsylvania Appeals Court Rules “Jock Tax” Is Unconstitutional

January 12, 2024

Stephen W. Kidder and Ryan P. McManus successfully represented the Major League Baseball Players Association, National Hockey League Players Association and National Football League Players Association in a lawsuit challenging Pittsburgh’s income tax on professional athletes.

On January 10, 2024, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court upheld a lower court decision and ruled that the Pittsburgh Sports Facility Usage Fee charged to visiting professional baseball, football and hockey players violated the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Uniformity Clause.

Kidder and McManus argued that Pittsburgh’s 3% tax on visiting professional athletes was unconstitutional because residents were not subject to the same tax. The Court agreed, finding the City failed to justify its case for subjecting residents and nonresidents to different tax burdens.

Hemenway & Barnes has successfully challenged the constitutionality of similar taxes in Cleveland, Illinois and Tennessee. Kidder has represented the players’ associations for the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, and the National Hockey League for more than 30 years in similar litigation.

The Hemenway & Barnes team included: Stephen W. Kidder, Ryan P. McManus, Kevin Ellis, Michael Porter and Jennifer Miller.

Read the Decision: Nat’l Hockey League Players Ass’n v. City of Pittsburgh, Pa. Commw. Ct., No. 1150 CD 2022, 1/10/24.

Steve Kidder has been widely quoted in the press regarding the lawsuit, including the following articles:

Stephen W. Kidder

Stephen W. Kidder concentrates his practice in the areas of taxation and professional fiduciary services.