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NFL targeted by Oklahoma senator for 'not-for-profit' tax status

The NFL is under fire for it's "not-for-profit" tax status. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The National Football League is under fire from Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma who issued a "Wastebrook 2012" report pointing to 100 ways the U.S. government is wasting money including loopholes that allow the league to be exempt from federal tax earnings, according to a report from Ted Barrett of CNN.com:

"Hardworking taxpayers should not be forced to provide funding to offset tax giveaways to lucrative professional sports teams and leagues," says the report.

Sen. Coburn said in his report that closing these loopholes that allow such tax breaks for the NFL would bring in an estimated $91 million for the Treasury. He said certain professional sports leagues should not be listed as trade or association groups.

But NFL spokesman Greg Aiello responded to the remarks by pointing out that while the league office is in fact listed as a "non-for-profit," each of its individual teams are taxed because they do make a profit.

Greg Aiello, a spokesman for the NFL, said the league office itself "is classified as a not-for-profit under the tax code because the league office makes no profit."

In a 2010 interview with Sports Illustrated, DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the National Football League Players Association, said that he raised the issue with over 100 reporters at a press conference before the 2011 lockout:

I asked them raise your hand if you knew the National Football League was a non-profit organization? Silence. It is. It's a 501 C 6 non-profit.

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