ST. PAUL (AP) -- Minnesota rakes in big money when visiting athletes come to town to play the Minnesota Twins, the Vikings and the Timberwolves.
Minnesota is among more than two dozen states and cities that collect taxes on the wages of nonresident athletes and uses the money to help pay for schools, roads and welfare.
For example, when Alex Rodriguez, the highest paid player in the major leagues, is in Minnesota with the Texas Rangers for a three-game series at the Metrodome, he'll pay $31,000 in Minnesota income taxes.
The Cleveland Indians play 10 games at the Metrodome this year, more than any other team. The Minnesota tax hit Juan Gonzalez will be $39,000. Add another $34,000 from Jim Thome.
The players' taxes were computed by the St. Paul Pioneer Press because the state does not make tax returns public. They are approximations, since they don't take into account the players' additional income, deductions or filing status.
In comparison, the average Minnesota taxpayer paid $2,300 in state income taxes in 1999, based on an average reported income of $47,700, said Dick Gebhart, director of tax research at the Minnesota Revenue Department.
A Minnesotan, to have a tax bill of $31,000, would be making about $485,000 a year, Gebhart estimated.
The tax laws aren't specifically aimed at professional athletes. Any nonresident who earns $7,200 or more while in Minnesota are required to file a state tax return.
The nonresidents then can claim a deduction in their home states for taxes paid in Minnesota and elsewhere.
"It's not uncommon for players to file in upwards of a dozen states," said Harley Duncan, executive director of the Federation of Tax Administrators, based in Washington, D.C.
The Twins have estimated that all visiting and home players will pay about $4.9 million in Minnesota income taxes this year.
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