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SENDING OUT AN IRS: ATHLETIC DIRECTORS SEEK DONOR DEDUCTION
Published June 17, 1999
A attorney for a group of "major collegiate" Athletic Directors wrote the IRS this week "seeking to resolve a battle that could have a big impact on college and university athletic programs," according to Tom Herman of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Caplin & Drysdale attorney Catherine Livingston, who represents the American Council on Education, said that at issue is "whether a taxpayer who gives money to an athletic program" can deduct the donation as a "charitable contribution" if the donor receives "priority rights to buy or lease skybox seats" in return. Verner Liipfert attorney Philip Hochberg, who represents the Div. I-A Athletic Directors Association, said that an '88 law "allows 80% of such contributions to be deductible." But an IRS agent "argued that this provision doesn't apply when the donor gets skybox seating, rather than general admission." Hochberg said "millions of dollars" of fund- raising "would be in serious trouble if the IRS were to deny the 80% charitable contribution deduction to donors who get priority for skybox seating." Herman writes that the IRS "hasn't yet replied" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/16).