Hillenmeyer, 'Convenience of the Employer,' and the Taxation of Nonresidents' Incomes

28 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2015

See all articles by Edward A. Zelinsky

Edward A. Zelinsky

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Date Written: August 22, 2015

Abstract

In Hillenmeyer v. Cleveland Board of Review, Ohio’s Supreme Court unanimously declared that Cleveland’s municipal income tax violated the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution by taxing a nonresident athlete under the “games-played” method rather than the “duty-days” method. According to the Ohio court, the games-played approach overtaxed Mr. Hillenmeyer by allocating to Cleveland Mr. Hillenmeyer’s compensation from the Chicago Bears using the percentage of the Bears’ games played in Cleveland. By this approach, Cleveland taxed Mr. Hillenmeyer extraterritorially, reaching income he earned from services he performed for the Bears outside of Cleveland’s borders. Due Process, the Ohio court concluded, requires Cleveland to avoid such extraterritorial taxation by allocating income based on all of Mr. Hillenmeyer’s days worked for the Bears including days devoted to practice sessions and promotional activity.

The Supreme Court of the Buckeye State correctly construed the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution and thereby created a conflict with the interpretation of that clause advanced by New York’s highest tribunal, the Court of Appeals, in its Zelinsky and Huckaby decisions. As a matter of constitutional law and tax policy, a nonresident’s income should be taxed in the state and city where it is earned. The Hillenmeyer court got this principle right. New York’s courts did not.

Keywords: "jock taxation," nonresident income taxation, Due Process, extraterritorial taxation, "convenience of the employer," Hillenmeyer, games-played method, duty-days method, Chicago Bears

Suggested Citation

Zelinsky, Edward A., Hillenmeyer, 'Convenience of the Employer,' and the Taxation of Nonresidents' Incomes (August 22, 2015). Cleveland State Law Review, 2016 Forthcoming, Cardozo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 459, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2649457

Edward A. Zelinsky (Contact Author)

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ( email )

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