New tax bill may affect athletic departments

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Starting next year, every American will be impacted by the biggest overhaul of the nation's tax code in over three decades.

President Trump signed the Republican tax bill into law on Friday.

Among those paying particularly close attention - athletics departments.

Those good seats at the KFC Yum Center for a UofL basketball game require a $2,500 donation. Under the current law, the alumni donor can deduct 80% of that cost.

But with the new law, that's over. Any contributions linked to the right to purchase season tickets will no longer be considered charitable donations.

The bill means a big change for donors, and likely for their revenue. Alumni donations cover a large chunk of most college athletic budgets, especially the expenses for sports other than football and men's basketball.

In the 2015-16 fiscal year, more than $30 million in contributions were made to UofL athletics.

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Athletics departments at schools like the University of Louisville are wondering what this will mean for their donor pool.

Interim UofL Athletics Director Vince Tyra is hoping people are more passionate about the players than their pocketbooks.

"It's hard to calculate what the ramifications are going to be right now," Vince Tyra said.

UofL is also looking at a loss of donors due to the recent controversies surrounding its basketball program. The university has sent letters to donors informing them of the change to the tax law.

"Most of these donors are supporters. When I say supporters, they are supporters of the program. They care about the kids and wins and losses as much as they do tax deduction," Tyra said.

Blue CPA Advisors say One option is to make the contribution before the end of the year, when the new law kicks in, instead of in May.

"Unfortunately, just an individual situation. If they have the means to do so, and if appropriate to do so at this point," Blue CPA Advisor Mike Wade said.

"This is something that impacts a lot of people in our community whether you are a UK fan or U of L fan," Wade said. "It's something that's going to impact anyone that's a season ticket holder."

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