Thursday, February 19, 2009

Kickball's Tax Problem

WaPo recently did a piece on how more employers and state governments are challenging the unemployment claims of the people let go. The HowardExplore blog has another take on that trend. Apparently, the state says a local umpires organization should pay unemployment taxes. HoCo State Del. Allan Kittleman is sponsoring a bill exempting recreational sports officials from coverage under Maryland’s Unemployment Insurance Law.

The problems for the Howard County Officials, which officiates for four organizations, including Howard County Recreation and Parks softball and kickball games, began in November, when one referee lost his full-time job and filed for unemployment, according to state officials.

The unemployment form listed Howard County Officials Inc. as one of the referee’s employers, causing auditors to delve into the group’s books, which led to a state demand for $15,700 in unpaid unemployment taxes.

“We have about $3,000 in our account,” said Richard McCauley, the organization’s vice president. “If we have to pay this, we will have to dissolve.”

McCauley said the umpires in his organization have always considered themselves independent contractors, not employees of the group. He said individual umpires are free to accept or decline any game and are paid on a game-by-game basis.

“No one has ever been fired from umpiring; anyone is free to perform the job, provided they take a training course,” he said.

There's one fact that seems to bear further reporting: They have paid umpires at kickball games?

1 comment:

Kickballer said...

It may seem funny to have paid umps officiate kickball, but the "sport" (such as it is) is just as competitive as any other. I've seen numerous potentially bad situations -- as sometimes happens in competitions -- that could have turned really ugly without the oversight of a true authority figure. Also, teams pay $400 to play a season -- that money has to be used for something.