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Dec. 17, 2022
tedchmura
Men's 55
4 posts
Moving from Volunteer Umpires to Paid Umpires in our recreational yet competitive Senior Softball League
Greetings!

We're a 208 Player/Member League with guys aged 50 to 92. We've always used our own Players to Ump (who volunteer on nights they don't have games) but many of the guys want us to move to using paid umpires.

As a Board Member entrusted with looking after the integrity of the league, I have concerns about the method that is being proposed to pay the Umpires.

I assume some of you might not be too eager to jump in and comment on this topic, but I'm hoping some of you will !!

Can you offer any advice to a league looking to make this change?

Have you ever heard of leagues getting "in trouble" for failure to issue the appropriate tax form to the Umps at the end of the year?

Thank you in advance!

Ted
Dec. 17, 2022
DaveDowell
Men's 70
4097 posts
Ted, this one is really simple ... SSUSA requires a completed and signed IRS Form W9 from each umpire prior to that umpire receiving their first compensation payment each year from us ... We file Form's 1099-MISC annually with the IRS for all individuals who receive $600 or more from us in a calendar year ... The answer to your last question is YES ... The tax case files are full of stories, none of them favorable to the paying entity, when those earnmings are not reported or under-reported ... Please go to the IRS website (IRS.gov) and search for "About Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income" for the complete source of information on this ...

A minor problem we have each year involves certain umpires who beleive that if they file a W9 with us that contains an intentionally wrong or completely fictitious SSN, they will somehow avoid having that income being reported ... There will be a few very surprised umpires this year as we address that issue through backup withholding and filing through fraud prevention IRS offices ...

Good luck!

Dec. 18, 2022
B.J.
1060 posts
ted, we used to have a 6 team league that I umpired games for here in the villages .. it was a 1 man system that only played once a week and the home team was responsible for paying the umpire and it was considered a gift .. not sure if it was legal but it was a local league of all players from our div 1 rec. league
Dec. 18, 2022
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1426 posts
Dave, this is more for you than anyone else especially because you understand taxes and know the park here that starts these trends. So what they are doing here is to charge the players the umpire fees. Then before the game, the managers have to go to the office to collect their fee to pay the umpires. So the park gets out of the tax business, and the umpires are basically being paid cash. As an umpire I do not like it and rarely do those games. I do not like having to chase both coaches down to get money before can start a game (I could list all of the side issues). Also I may be one of the few that actually runs mine as a business with reporting and expenses. I do NOT recommend this as a way to pay umpires but know that you would appreciate this.
Dec. 19, 2022
DaveDowell
Men's 70
4097 posts
B.J. and Nancy ... Those of us who make (or made) part of our career work in the area of tax compliance have heard it all, and "all" includes the "gift" misnomer and the "cash moving around the complex" approach to hiding reportable/taxable income ...

In the scheme B.J. described, the approach is NOT a gift, because a gift is something of value (cash) given without an expectation of receiving anything in return ... There's an expectation that the recipient umpire a game in exchange for the cash ... Cash for umpiring is reportable gross income ... In Nancy's example, that scheme [1] allows the facility operator to duck the $600 reporting threshold compliance obligation and [2] facilitates potential tax evasion by the umpires ...

And there is going to be a big loophole closing in a couple of weeks ... The IRS will, effective January 1, 2023, be requiring all payments in excess of $600 annually through PayPal/Venmo and similar online or app-based money transfer techniques to be reported by the funding service/app ... This involuntary change is going to be interesting to watch as it affects those currently not meeting their reporting obligations ...

Dec. 19, 2022
B.J.
1060 posts
Dave, I totally agree with you and when I umpired for neighboring city rec leagues a few nights a week all paperwork work was filled out and taxes were deducted... I'm talking about a 6 team league of about 80 guys who are friends and neighbors who played 1 day a week here in the villages... we weren't concerned about the IRS.. and to this day I know of 1 smaller league of lower division players who still just hand the umpire their fee
Dec. 19, 2022
stick8
1981 posts
Practically all venues i umpire in are cash on the barrel. League teams pay us cash per game. For tournaments i umpire the director pays us cash when we are finished for the tournament. I suppose some use Venmo or pay pal. But itís all tax free.
But if you ump or officiate for a city, school, sports type of organization or another entity you can earn up to $600 per calendar year tax free. You earn over $600 you have to submit a w9 form as part of your earned income on your tax returns.
Dec. 19, 2022
tedchmura
Men's 55
4 posts
Dave - BIG THANKS to you for the speedy and comprehensive response !!

And I'm happy to see/read the other points of view on this.

Happy Holidays everyone!

​Ted Chmura III - Treasurer & Registrar
Western Mass Relics Senior Softball League, Inc.
www.WesternMassRelics.org
Dec. 21, 2022
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1426 posts
Dave, thank you. I know given your background that you give the legally correct answers. I also know that you "appreciate" the situations here. You know that my area of expertise is definitely in another field.

Stick8, there really is no such thing as tax free money. I will tell you what my accountant says and would value Dave's input as well. The IRS only knows about money that get a 1099 or W-2 for. So you have to file on those. Other money such as cash is considered taxable, but a person makes the choice if they do not file it. If the IRS finds out about it somehow, then there is no argument with them that is tax free. I go with my accountant's advice in what I do on my business of softball and do file all of my expenses. Lots of umpires get into trouble because they do not do what they need to with the money earned umpiring and can tell lots of stories about that of others' situations. Just take good care of you in the situation, and be careful in categorizing some payments as tax free.

Merry Christmas to all from the smallest but maybe loudest umpire.
Dec. 21, 2022
DaveDowell
Men's 70
4097 posts
Nancy ... Just to clarify (and ensure complete coverage of my own back side!) ... ALL INCOME RECEIVED FOR UMPIRE SERVICES is taxable income in the eyes of the U.S. Treasury and its enforcement arm known as the Internal Revenue Service ... As a matter of convenience, payors are required to only report aggregate annual payments to individuals that are $600 or more, but that threshold number is not the Mason-Dixon line between taxable and non-taxable ... Failing to report ANY amount is technically tax evasion, regardless of the lessened likelihood of discovery ...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Dec. 21, 2022
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1426 posts
Dave, thank you, much better than me trying to paraphrase what my accountant said. I know that you know this field most likely better than anyone else on this board given your background. Basically nobody rides for free when it comes to getting paid. Appreciate you.
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