Cost James Harrison Pays To Maintain His Body Will Lead To Tax Deductions

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

James Harrison is just another example why athletes live on another world from the rest of us.

There are times when professional athletes disassociate themselves from the mainstream population of America. Well, besides having athletic talent, more money than you, mental toughness and an infinite determination to "make it." And since their bodies are to them what a plane to a pilot, a racecar to a driver, players have to take care of themselves in ways that normal people wouldn't realize.

Take James Harrison for example; newest linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals. During his press conference this week, Harrison told local reporters that he spends half-a-million on maintenance of his body.

"My body is what helps me to make money," Harrison said. "Whatever there is that I need to do to try and make myself better or get myself healthy, I’m going to do it. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that I spend anywhere between $400,000-$600,000 on body work, as far as taking care of my body, year-in and year-out." breaks it further down.

When you consider that Harrison earned over $9,000,000 in 2012 as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, his body work bills constitute a whopping 5.5% of his total compensation. To put that in perspective, if you earn $100,000 annually, you would have to plunk down $5,500 a year over at Madam Camae’s Filipino Palace to keep pace with Harrison.

Fortunately for Harrison, these costs actually constitute various breaks, especially in Cincinnati.

Section 162(a) allows a deduction for the ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred in carrying on a trade or business, including the trade or business of being an employee. Treasury Regulation Section 1.67-1T(a)(1)(i) further provides that an employee may deduct as an "other miscellaneous deduction" certain unreimbursed employee expenses. The regulations go on to provide as examples of deductible employee expenses costs incurred for transportation, lodging, meals, continuing education, union dues, professional uniforms, and job hunting costs if not reimbursed by the employer.

Thus, if an employee’s ordinary and necessary business expenses exceed the amounts received from his employer as advances or reimbursements, the employee is entitled to a deduction for such excess, if adequately substantiated. Unfortunately, Section 67 limits the benefit of the deduction, providing that unreimbursed employee expenses, as well as other miscellaneous itemized deductions, are only deductible to the extent they exceed 2% of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI).

Just another reason that professional athletes live in a different world than us.

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