Florida man accused of tying dog to golf cart and dragging it on the road

first_imgA 79-year-old man is now facing animal abuse charges after he tied his German Shepard to his golf cart and began dragging the dog on a road.The incident occurred in Fort Walton beach near Eglin Parkway and Highway Avenue.Witnesses say the saw the suspect, Dean Woodyatt, driving his golf cart in the road with the dog tied to it and tried to stop him. Woodyatt, however, refused to pull over even when the dog collapsed.A good Samaritan was eventually able to chase Woodyatt down, however, Woodyatt prevented anyone from helping the animal.When authorities arrived, Woodyatt tried to flee the scene but was immediately stopped and taken into custody.The dog, was taken to an animal hospital where it died from heat-related injuries.While no official charges have been filed against Woodyatt as of yet, the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society says they are looking at their options.last_img read more

Area HS coaches adapt to lack of spring sports season

first_imgSchools across the state closed in mid-March, just as tryouts and practices were about to get underway. Gradually, hopes for any kind of season flickered away as the number of infections and deaths climbed at the local, state, national and worldwide levels.On April 27, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association canceled its slate of state championships. Four days later, governor Andrew Cuomo announced that schools would stay closed for the rest of the academic year.Among the many sports that never got started was track and field, where long-time West Genesee coach Jim Vermeulen said his challenge was to see that his athletes exited the crisis with a firmer and deeper perspective on life. Whether young or old, newly-hired or long-established, high school sports coaches are accustomed to facing change, whether it’s new students on their rosters or rules changes or some other unforeseen challenge.Dealing with the loss of an entire season before a practice or game could take place falls into a whole other category.Among the many casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic was the entire 2020 spring sports season, a reflection of similar cancellations across the country of all activities having to do with schools. Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story In his “Thoughts From Three” journal for the NY MileSplit web site, Vermeulen discussed, at length, what he was sharing with the kids he coached.“The virus had created a virtual “pause” in society, and that pause has offered my athletes the chance to dampen the daily noise and to use social distances to find themselves,” said Vermeulen.“The goal is to emerge on the other side of the pandemic with stronger appreciations and less-distracted convictions. For the athletes, this uniquely stripped-down form of daily life presents the chance to appreciate what it fully means to ‘be an athlete.’”Later on in the journal, Vermeulen shared stories from some of his athletes, who talked about altered training routines and even doubts about whether they even wanted to be on the team.It concluded with the coach continuing his conversation with them all the way to the end of the school year.“At times, the pause is as important as the push,” said Vermeulen. “And since coaching is teaching, I could easily offer my distance runners a one-question final exam: Briefly describe what you’ve learned this spring about your running.”Switching to softball and baseball, where the snow had melted in mid-March and teams were set to have a rare opportunity to practice outdoors, and on the field, when the schools closed.That affected, among others, the Solvay softball Bearcats, the 2017 state Class B champions and expected to be quite strong again this season.Veteran Solvay head coach Phil Merrill was about to start his 31st season. He said he, like so many others, could not have predicted that a pandemic would wipe out an entire year’s worth of work getting ready for 2020.“‘Ive dealt with weather-related seasons or seasons with kids sick, but nothing to this extent,” said Merrill. “I personally miss being at the field hitting infield, outfield or batting practice.”Yet even as he expressed his dismay at how things turned out, Merrill kept the whole issue in perspective.Not being around the kids is making me feel my age (and) they kept me feeling young,” he said.  “I hope if things workout, that we can get back to high school sports by next season (and I) hope the kids can bounce back from this as well as our whole country, because this is far more serious than high school sports.”Up at Marcellus, where its boys golf team still has a spring schedule, head coach Joe Goss, who has led the program for 25 years, had his own set of challenges to face.“We had 16 players signed up, from Sean Colella, who made it to the state tournament the past two seasons, to kids who really are just starting to learn to play,” said Goss.“Since I know all the kids from school, I was excited to work with this group of personalities, but we will wait. This area has responded pretty well to the distancing rules so inconveniences are just that, and not devastating sorrow.In the meantime, Goss said that he kept in touch with all of his players through establishing mental drills to learning about the Mustangs’ home course, Sunset Ridge, and also learning about the rules of the game. Tags: MarcellusSolvayspring sportsWest Geneseelast_img read more

Welcome to the jungle: Syracuse tries to slow down Boyd, Clemson’s potent passing attack

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Tajh Boyd is as smooth as they come. As polished a superstar as there is in college football.But for 49 seconds on Tuesday he was rendered nearly speechless. He stumbled through his answer on the question that has dumbfounded coaches across the country for the last four years.If you were a defensive coordinator, going up against your offense, what would you do to try to stop such an explosive unit?Boyd’s response was a laundry list of stalling tactics. Four “you know’s.” Three “um’s.” Three “I mean’s.” Two “kind of’s.” He even threw in an “at the end of the day.”“Umm…that’s a good question, man,” Boyd said. “Uh, um, I’m not sure, honestly.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFrankly, Boyd had absolutely no idea how he would stop the Clemson offense.But at the end of the day, that’s the task the SU defense is up against. The quarterback has thrown for 994 yards, nine touchdowns and no interceptions through four games. Teams devise elaborate schemes to stop him, but so far this season nothing has slowed the Heisman Trophy contender down. Syracuse (2-2, 0-0 Atlantic Coast) is next in line when it faces Clemson (4-0, 2-0) at the Carrier Dome at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.Syracuse cornerback Julian Whigham called Saturday’s game — the Orange’s first-ever ACC tilt — the biggest game of the year “by far.”But if SU is to slay a goliath for the third year in a row, it will need to stop Boyd and his arsenal of wide receivers, including Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant.“He’s nice,” Whigham said about Boyd.Whigham and the rest of the Syracuse defense have a plan, though. All they need to do, Whigham said, is play their game and execute on every single play.Instead of zeroing in solely on Boyd and letting the rest of the Clemson offense run wild, SU’s approaching this game like any other and focusing on the Tigers as a whole.But when Whigham was asked if Boyd has any noticeable weaknesses, he couldn’t think of any.“He’s a good quarterback,” Whigham said, “because he doesn’t have many.”So the game plan, Whigham said, is to apply as much pressure as possible and force the quarterback who doesn’t make mistakes into enough mistakes for Syracuse to win the game. The Orange needs to “throw him off guard,” and Whigham believes that’s something SU’s personnel can do.The goal is to make the quarterback who epitomizes calmness in the pocket flustered. To get inside his head with constant, relentless pressure.Syracuse defensive backs coach Fred Reed said that the main thing the Orange has to focus on is controlling what it can control. It’s a motto that head coach Scott Shafer regularly preaches, and one that’s never been more pertinent.Reed pinpointed a 100-percent tackling success rate as a goal. He knows how explosive the Tigers’ offense is, so his team needs to slow it down as much as possible.“They’re going to get some plays down the field,” Reed said. “That’s just going to happen. We’ve just got to make sure we do a good job at minimizing those plays.”The Clemson offense has averaged 43 points per game and even dropped 38 in a win over Southeastern Conference powerhouse Georgia. In that game, Boyd and Watkins connected on a 77-yard touchdown in the first quarter. The duo teamed up again for a 64-yard touchdown strike last week in Clemson’s 56-7 bloodbath win against Wake Forest.But Watkins isn’t impressed just yet.“I can’t wait ‘til we actually get on a roll as an offense,” Watkins said.Boyd added that Clemson is “trying to leave a legacy” this season. If it’s able to do so, it will be a culmination of continued immaculate play from Boyd.He’s the crux of Clemson’s dynamic offense. From all the film Reed has watched of Boyd, one nuance of his game stands out as particularly impressive.Reed recalls Boyd throwing the ball from one hash all the way outside the numbers and “putting it on a dime.”Despite Boyd’s precision and composure, Whigham said Syracuse’s goal is to hold Clemson scoreless. That’s the goal every week, so this game is no different.Whigham looked up, grinned and chuckled.“We want to beat these fools.” Comments Published on October 4, 2013 at 3:16 am Contact Trevor: tbhass@syr.edu | @TrevorHasslast_img read more

Curren$y to perform at Gearfest

first_imgGearfest Lineup:Curren$yRippy AustinRhyon BrownDesigners:Candy & QuasarsJ.D. LuxePrecise LivingChinyereMacnificentAmbitious: IBD USC’s Black Student Assembly announced Tuesday that rapper Curren$y will headline this year’s Gearfest.Shante Scott Franklin, who performs under the stage name Curren$y, has collaborated with multiple high-profile acts including Rick Ross and Wiz Khalifa. Known mostly for his mixtapes, Curren$y released his first studio album “This Ain’t No Mixtape” in 2009, receiving positive critical feedback.The Gearfest concert and fashion show, which focuses on art and fashion, will be held jointly with Springfest for the first time this year. Gearfest will also be featuring artists Rippy Austin and Rhyon Brown, as well as designers J.D Luxe, Chinyere and others.Both events are slated to begin at 11:30 a.m. on April 6 on McCarthy Quad. Springfest headliners include Big Sean, A-Trak, Travis Barker and Mix Master Mike. Other performers include Walk the Moon, Capital Cities and Papa.All students attending the festival will be required to show their student identification. Access to the festival is free.last_img read more

Students create nonprofit to foster healthy lifestyles

first_imgTwo USC students have founded a nonprofit organization designed to help those in the USC community monitor their wellness and build healthy habits. Ignite, created by seniors Catalina and Trevor Gutiérrez, is a technology platform in which USC students  can track their fitness, share their fitness goals and achievements with friends and learn more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It includes a mobile application, an online blog, a social media presence and an online merchandise store. The core Ignite team consists of 21 members, including 10 students, the Gutierrez siblings’ father and 10 faculty advisors. The app is projected to consist of a social media platform, a metrics system accessible with tracking sensors such as Fitbit, Apple Watch and a cloud-based goal-tracking system, among other features. “Our goal is to connect USC students through Ignite to promote healthier lifestyles all around,” Catalina Gutiérrez said. “Our empirical research shows that social media can boost behavior change, and we want to use that to foster a more active student body.”Ignite is a venture formed off the backbone of the Gutiérrez siblings’ previous project, the Go Green Foundation.“After working on global preservation and sustainability with the Go Green Foundation, we decided to pivot our focus on more health-related issues,” Catalina Gutierrez said. “What we found was that only 6 percent of all adults act upon their physicians’ recommendations to maintain their health, and that is a huge crisis. That is why we decided to create Ignite, to use behavior-change science to encourage more adults to take daily action towards improving their health.” Ana-Catalina Triana, the associate program director at John Muir Health and one of the project’s advisers, said part of Ignite’s appeal is the fact that its design and content is catered specifically to millennials.“As a family physician and behaviorist, I am thrilled to participate in such groundbreaking work that has the potential to make a large-scale positive impact in the quality of life for young adults worldwide,” Triana said. Ignite’s mobile app is still in its initial phase, but will potentially be rolling out either late this year or early 2017. “We really want to make sure the app is effective and accessible before releasing it,” Trevor Gutierrez said. “But we do plan to do an early release for USC students to test out before we officially hit the market.” As for the Ignite blog, media campaign and merchandise store, the Gutierrez siblings plan to initiate these project aspects in the upcoming semester. “We plan to hold a couple of fairs in the upcoming months for students to come and test out our product,” Trevor Gutierrez said. Currently, the Gutierrez siblings are still in the midst of conducting research and will soon release a survey catered to USC students in hopes to gain a better perspective.“We want to get the USC student angle on Ignite, because really, Ignite was made for the USC student,” Catalina Gutierrez said. “That being said, we do eventually hope to make Ignite available to all young adults alike; but at the end of the day, it comes back to helping this school out and making USC proud.”last_img read more

Syracuse rallies to defeat Connecticut, 3-1, to sweep UConn Invitational

first_img Published on August 29, 2015 at 8:38 pm Contact Kevin: kjpacell@syr.edu Despite dropping the first set, Syracuse (3-0) defeated Connecticut (1-2), 3-1, in Storrs, Connecticut, to complete its three-match run at the UConn invitational this weekend.The two teams spent the entire first set without either taking clear control, as four points was the largest deficit during the set. The last chance to win the set for the Orange came when the team was up 30-29 after a kill from senior outside hitter Silvi Uattara, but the Huskies won the next three points on consecutive kills to take the 1-0 lead.Syracuse rebounded quickly, taking an early lead by winning the first two points. Freshman setter Jalissa Trotter recorded three assists in the first seven points she played in the set.The Orange never lost the lead, and went on to win 25-17.The third set featured similar strength from Syracuse, as the Orange took the lead at 2-1 and kept it from there. Senior setter Gosia Wlaszczuk was a main component to the Orange’s offensive success, as she put up nine assists in the set. Five of those assists were to Uattara, who provided seven kills.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse ultimately won the set 25-16.The match’s fourth and final frame started rough for the Orange, as it fell behind 6-2 to start the set. SU rebounded back quickly, though, with a four-point run consisting of three UConn errors and an ace from Uattara.Syracuse didn’t see its first lead of the set until 10-9, but still went on to win the set, 25-18Wlaszczuk led the Orange offense with 32 assists in the match. Her 8.00 assists per set on the day was a full assist higher than her 2014 average.Uattara’s 21 kills lead the team in that category, good for a kills per set average of 5.25 that topped her 2014 average by 1.65. She earned the tournament MVP award by totaling 45 kills and 32 digs for the weekend.Senior outside hitter Nicolette Serratore continued her return from last season’s injury by recording 10 kills of her own. Sophomore middle blocker Leah Levert blocked three balls on her own and assisting on six other blocks.The Orange will play against Auburn on Friday in Auburn, Alabama. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Win for Spurs but Liverpool & Celtic held to draws

first_imgWhile despite both sides leading into the closing stages of their games, both Liverpool and Celtic had to content themselves with opening night draws. Liverpool were held to a 1-all draw away to Bordeaux. While Celtic were twice pegged back in a 2-2 draw with Ajax.last_img

Man Utd, Chelsea Battle for Top-Four Spot

first_imgAfter both sides bungled their chances at establishing their top-four position mid-week-Chelsea drew at home to Watford, while Manchester United were beaten by City rivals, Manchester City, the Red Devils will on Sunday host the Blues as both sides struggle for Champions League qualification. While Chelsea could still book a Champions League spot if they win the UEFA Europa Cup, United’s only hope of competing in the prizest competition at club level is to book a top-four spot In what is a pivotal game in the race for the top four, Chelsea will travel to Old Trafford on Sunday for what promises to be an exciting Premier League encounter.Chelsea missed a chance to take advantage of the teams around them slipping up (Arsenal, Spurs, and Manchester United had all lost earlier that weekend) on Monday night against Burnley, with a pair of soft goals cancelling out strikes from N’Golo Kante and Gonzalo Higuain. The Blues do sit in fourth place, however, three points ahead of Manchester United – who lost to Manchester City on Wednesday in a clash with huge title race implications, but Chelsea fans watched  keenly as Pep Guardiola’s outfit pegged back the chasing United.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are in a bad way, however, after a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Everton led to the questioning of many players, and the usually meek Norwegian tactician came out and openly said some of his players wouldn’t be part of his plans going forward.In the reverse fixture back in October, it was an enthralling encounter, with Ross Barkley’s 96th minute goal rescuing a point for the Blues. Then United manager Jose Mourinho was also involved a touchline bust-up after a member of the Chelsea coaching staff celebrated a bit too close to the ‘Special One’.The teams also met in the FA Cup fifth round at Stamford Bridge, where goals from United midfielders Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba sank Chelsea.All eyes will be on Maurizio Sarri’s team selection, and particularly which striker he opts to start at the top of his formation. Gonzalo Higuain bagged his first goal since March 3 against Burnley, but the red-hot Olivier Giroud has four goals in his last five starts. The Italian’s decision may go a long way to determining which of these clubs would  play Champions League football next season.Chelsea however have the safety net of Champions League qualification should they win the Europa League, where the face Eintracht Frankfurt in the semifinals.After their visit to Manchester, Sarri’s men host Watford and visit Leicester in their final two league games, both of whom are involved in the race for seventh and potential Europa League football next season.Despite a dreadful run of seven defeats in nine games, capped by another derby lesson at the hands of City, United remain in the hunt for a top-four finish.However, Solskjaer must summon a response when Chelsea visit Old Trafford on Sunday if the Norwegian is to dismiss growing doubts that his superiors jumped the gun in handing him the job on a permanent basis last month.Meanwhile, Arsenal suffered shocking back-to-back defeats to Crystal Palace and Wolves at the worst time to fall back outside the top four.Unai Emery’s men have won just six of their 17 Premier League away games and face two more difficult road trips to Leicester and Burnley either side of Brighton’s visit to the Emirates.However, like Chelsea, Arsenal could end up relying on the Europa League as a route into the Champions League as they face Emery’s old club Valencia in the last four.Tottenham Hotspurs on the other hand could still seal their place in the Champions League next season by winning the competition as they face Ajax in the last four.However, Mauricio Pochettino’s men are on course to seal a fourth straight season of Champions League football as they sit third, four points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal.Tottenham have won all four games since moving into the club’s new stadium and appear to have the easiest run-in of the top four contenders as they host West Ham and Everton either side of a trip to Bournemouth.Despite being level on points with Chelsea with a game more to play, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes third-place Spurs are guaranteed a place in the top four, but  feels that Sunday’s clash between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford is critical to deciding the other top-four spot.“If Chelsea would have got those extra two points there would have been a huge deficit, certainly for Manchester United being five points behind (in that scenario),” Carragher told Sky Sports.“I still think Spurs are there. I look at that now and a lot is riding on United versus Chelsea.“If Man United come out of this week with four points it’s great for them. The vital game is the one against United for Chelsea. I keep changing my mind on who will get in but not on Spurs.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Woman is mastermind behind Jamaican extortion racket

first_imgPolice in Jamaica have arrested a woman who is reportedly the mastermind behind a massive extortion racket that spread across seven parishes in that Caribbean nation.The woman was arrested on Sunday, just days after two men had been nabbed in connection with an extortion letter that had been sent to several businesses in seven Jamaican parishes demanding exorbitant payment for protection. The men were collared in the central Jamaican town of Mandeville and 15 of the letters seized, police reported.A third man, Biko March, has been named as a persons of interest in the probe and has been urged by Police to turn himself in.The criminals threatened to kill business owners, their families and staff members if they did not comply with the extortion demands. Demands were made of large businesses to cough up J$100,000 monthly, while smaller businesses were ordered to fork out J$80,000 monthly in order to continue doing business without hassle.“If this is a Company Branch/Franchise and the branch that receives this letter is non-compliant then the managers and workers will be harmed randomly one by one. If this is a shop where multiple people conduct business in then each person will compile what is supposed to be paid and hand it over or individuals who operate business here will be killed and your business demolished. One person will be contacted to hand over the money,” the letter stated.“Please note carefully; whenever you are contacted by phone, nothing but excellent communication is required, do not cut off the phone or stay on the line and say nothing or you will be killed and your business demolished. Zero tolerance will be taken towards late payment and avoiding payments resulting in whatever action/actions that is deemed fit to teach you the importance of compliance and punctuality,” the letter also stated.The extortionists also threatened to kill operators and their staff if they contacted the police and promised gruesome deaths to the relatives of non-compliant business owners.  In addition the hoodlums promised maximum security to the business operators who complied with their demands.The extortionists also advised business operators that the only way to avoid payment was to close their businesses.“Do not complain about business being slow and you are not making enough money to pay your dues, if business is slow simply close it down and get out because if you continue to exist without paying your dues you will be at harmful risk,” the letter stated.The police have urged business operators to stand their ground and refuse to give in to the demands of the criminals as they widen their investigation into the matter.last_img read more

Esports tax law: A look at tax considerations for professional gamers

first_imgAway from the glitz and glamour of competing on stage in front of thousands with millions more at home watching on in awe, there’s several pertinent issues that need to be addressed in the background. One of these, clearly, is tax consequences. With organisations such as Fnatic potentially operating out of London but having teams in the States, Malaysia and Germany the tax issues both at a corporate level and an individual level can be incredibly complex. Justin M. Jacobson, Esq and Jason Feingertz, Esq have contributed a guest piece touching on the tax considerations for professional gamers competing across the world. Justin M. Jacobson is a member of the Bar of the State of New York, Vice-President at The Jacobson Firm, P.C. and Esports Player Agent & Counsel at the Agency for Professional Esports (APE). He advises entertainers, professional athletes and video-gamers and fashion designers on all aspects of marketing, business and intellectual property and contract law matters. He also handles player contract and sponsorship negotiations on behalf of esports gamers and managers.Jason Feingertz is a member of the Bar of the State of New York and an associate at Reed Smith LLP. He advises clients on all aspects of state and local tax and has experience with residency planning and audit defence. Feingertz has a unique perspective on the sports industry having represented both sports franchises and players.The esports revolution continues as professional video-gaming continues to expand throughout the globe.  As with most professions, professional video game participants, sometimes referred to as a “gamer,” are subject to taxes in every country, state and, sometimes, the city that they “work” in.  Professional gamers must be aware of the tax implications of their earnings, including how their tournament winnings, player salaries, streaming monies and sponsorship funds are typically taxed.How player’s income is taxedLike all taxpayers, professional gamers, who are residents of the United States, must pay federal income tax to the IRS on their worldwide income. While this concept may seem straightforward, there are still many gamers that fail to adequately pay the correct amount of personal income tax. The failure to pay this tax can cause serious problems for an individual, ranging from penalties and interest to potential imprisonment for the most egregious cases.The Jock TaxOne often overlooked aspect of tax planning for professional athletes is their state tax liability. In most cases, athletes must pay personal income tax to their state of residence on their worldwide income. This includes income derived from their playing contracts, as well as endorsement and sponsorship deals. In states where they do not reside, athletes increasingly find themselves subject to aggressive enforcement of “Jock Taxes,” which look to tax athletes on income “earned” in non-resident states.For example, New York imposes a non-resident income tax on visiting professional athletes who have earned income within the state.  N.Y. Tax Law § 631(c). New York taxes visiting players’ salaries, which is apportioned among the states based upon the percentage of total “duty days” an athlete spends within New York.  20 NYCRR 132.22. A duty day is typically defined as any day an athlete does some form of work for their employer such as a media appearance, team practice, tournament or a game. Then, the apportioned income is multiplied by the states’ individual income tax rates.“There are still many gamers that fail to adequately pay the correct amount of personal income tax”We will now explore a few main income streams for gamers and how the earnings may be taxed. While some question whether taxes really affect decision-making by athletes, the following examples should show how important it is for an gamer to have a tax advisor or other competent professional guiding them through all contract and taxable business decisions.Tournament WinningsAs discussed above, a professional video gamer may be subject to tax obligations in all of the states and countries that they earn income from. These tax payment obligations also extend to any and all of the gamer’s tournament winnings. Generally, the location of a specific tournament dictates which tax laws are applicable to a particular tournament prize pool.Currently, in the United States, the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) requires any individual who earns over six hundred ($600.00) dollars to receive a “1099-Misc” form detailing the income received. Similar provisions would be applicable to a gamer’s tournament winnings, especially those earning over $600. A standard esports tournament prize pool winning usually trumps this amount. In particular, the location of the competition plays a central role in determining the applicable tax rate for tournament winnings. For example, the 2014 Dota 2 “The International” was located in the U.S. and boasted a $10.9 million prize pool. Therefore, the players that won a portion of this prize pool, even those who were not U.S. residents, were subject to United States federal income tax on these winnings.“A professional video gamer may be subject to tax obligations in all of the states and countries that they earn income from”Additionally, each tournament organiser typically enacts its own payment and tax restrictions for the disbursement of prize monies.For instance, the prize money earned from Dreamhack requires that any “private individual will receive [this prize] money as salary, [ . . .] according to Swedish Tax Law,” which requires the organiser to first “deduct both a general payroll tax and employment tax from the won prize amount, before the money is paid out to [an] individual.” (Paragraph II – Payout Policy)  Another example is P.G.L.’s “Open – Bucharest” and “Legends of the Rift.” These competitions mandate that all “private individuals […] receive the prize money in their own bank account, out of which a 16% tax will automatically be deducted, in accordance with Article 77 of the Romanian Fiscal Code” and that “no tax will be deducted if the prize value is lower than 600 RON, in accordance with Article 77 of the Romanian Fiscal Code.” It is therefore prudent for a gamer to review and understand each tournament’s prize pool disbursement policies and how these winnings are taxed prior to competing. Team SalaryIn addition to a gamer’s tournament winnings, most professional players are signed to exclusive player contracts with major esports organisations or professional teams. Some of these esports organisations include “Cloud 9,” “Immortals,” “Fnatic,” and “Optic Gaming.” These organisations typically pay the player a weekly or monthly salary. The salary ranges from several thousand a month or more, depending on the caliber of the player and the gaming being played.  For instance, one of the largest yearly salaries, $150,000, was just agreed upon by “NRG Esports” for professional Overwatch player, Jay “sinatraa” Won.  “If the gamer is classified as an independent contractor in the player contract, then the individual is responsible for paying any and all applicable taxes to the appropriate governing body.”Whether a gamer is classified as an “independent contractor” or “employee” determines which party is responsible for paying any associated taxes, including but not limited to any unemployment or federal and state withholding taxes. In the U.S., especially in California, a gamer is typically considered an “employee” of the employer (the esports organisation), which imposes a myriad of withholding obligations on the employer.  Most major player contracts include language obligating the team to withhold federal and state taxes from the player’s salary.  However, in other instances, the pro-gamer may be classified as an “independent contractor.” If the gamer is classified as an independent contractor in the player contract, then the individual is responsible for paying any and all applicable taxes to the appropriate governing body.Additionally, some countries, including Finland, have begun providing specific tax benefits and “write-offs” to professional video game competitors. This is similar to the write-offs provided for other talent, such as musicians and professional football and basketball players.Streaming MoniesAnother important and potentially extremely lucrative stream of income to many professional gamers and “streamers” alike is the monies earned from live streaming content on various video streaming platforms. Some of the top video streaming platforms include Twitch, YouTube and Facebook Live. Streaming has become one of the largest and most consistent avenues of income for gamers, including some “streamers” making several thousand a month and some of the largest ones generating several million a year. The funds earned from streaming are taxed similarly to the revenues earned from a gamer’s participation in a tournament. This means that Twitch (owned by Amazon) and YouTube (owned by Google) prepare a “1099” form to document the money earned by users of its platforms. Each platform has its own requirements and tax information that should be reviewed prior to earning funds from these services. This includes all of the funds earned through advertisements embedded in the stream as well as the amount the streamer earns from “donations” or “tips” provided by stream viewers. While these payments may be characterised as “donations” to the consuming public, that does not reflect their true tax characteristics. “Donations” qualify as ordinary taxable income and the recipient cannot claim these “donations” as tax deductions.It is important to note that a streamer is sometimes able to deduct certain business expenses. While every taxpayer must consider their own facts and circumstances, gamers may have the ability to take a deduction for business expenses such as the cost of the equipment to record and stream the content, marketing or promotional services used to promote their streaming channel (i.e. Facebook-paid “boosts” or Twitter advertisements), video recording or editing software used to create the final stream as well as any costs associated with data storage or broadcasting of the stream, such as Internet costs.  Sponsorship/EndorsementIn addition to a gamer’s tournament winnings, most professional gamers have both organisational and personal sponsorship and endorsement arrangements. These deals may include monthly payments, yearly fees and/or “trade in kind” provided to the gamer in exchange for a set of listed “deliverables” or requirements. Any sponsorship money received by a gamer is taxed as income similar to the other player’s streams of income. In addition, a company could also provide a player with free equipment or other related fringe benefits, such as free mileage as part of an endorsement deal with an airline.  Similar to any other type of income, fringe benefits are also taxed based on the fair market value (FMV) of the benefit. For example, if a gamer received free air miles, they will be taxed on the FMV of those miles. Therefore, it is prudent that a player is aware that any “free” or promotional goods they receive from a brand will be subject to appropriate income taxes in addition to the funds earned from the sponsorship deal. While each gamer will have their own unique level of leverage to use in each negotiation, they should explore every possible opportunity while discussing the terms of a contract with a team or potential sponsor.If a player fails to properly file or misfiles their personal income taxes, they may be subject to a tax investigation, called an “audit.” While the specifics of an “audit” are outside the scope of this article, a gamer needs to be aware and be careful about what they may say in any response to a governing body, if and when the player replies to this type of inquiry. However, as with most important business matters related to a gamer’s career, it is advisable to obtain a qualified professional’s assistance in this matter as anything the player responds will be used as a statement of fact in the matter.It is apparent that while negotiating the terms of their next gaming contract, professional gamers should utilise the advice of their tax advisor or other professionals to determine the best way to structure the various forms of compensation they receive. Ultimately, the most important financial consideration for a gamer is their net, after-tax income. To the extent any contract can be negotiated to increase its after-tax compensation, a player should evaluate all their options.This article is not intended as legal or business advice, as an attorney or other professional specialising in the field should be consulted.last_img read more