Justice for Tom Brady?
July 31, 2015
I admit, I ever have been a fan of Boston teams. I wouldn't even lay claim to being a sports enthusiast. But Boston teams can just rot - Bruins, Pats, Red Sox - rub me the wrong way. So, to hear that the NFL commissioner upheld his 4-game suspension and fined the Pats a $1 million, actually brightened my day. The notion that Kraft was wrong to trust the NFL or that Brady did nothing wrong all seems misplaced to me.
Our concept of fairness stems out of the criminal justice system of innocent until proven guilty. It seems to me that both Kraft and Brady are trying to say that a crime wasn't commited so to impose a harsh penalty is unfair. But the problem with their case is that NFL collective bargaining agreement empowers the commissioner for being the arbitor of fairness and justice. They might try and pursue a legal course of action, but it is highly doubtful for a court of law to intercede in an otherwise binding collective bargaining agreement.
There are many places in life where we abide by rules above and beyond what is criminal. The NFL has its share of rules both in the playbook and that of the collective bargaining agreement which indicates acceptable behavior both on and off the field.
Why do I bring this up? Well, tax rules kind of fall into the same boat. I just don't hear that "taxes are fair." Most folks think they are not. In fact, technically speaking, tax deductions are a matter of legistlative grace where the burden of proof falls on the taxpayer. This means a taxpayer, under a compliance audit, has to demonstrate that they are entitled to a deduction. The IRS does not have to prove anything. In an audit, you are guilty until proven innocent. And so long as we are not in a criminal tax investigation, this is how it goes.
So to Tom Brady - you can whine all you want about what you think is fair. The rulebook that governs your game says what you did was wrong. Get comfy in September while your team plays without you. And for the rest of us, know that taxes - as you've long guessed - aren't fair either. So keep good records so that you demonstrate your case should you ever need to do so.