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Thursday, May 08, 2014
Involuntary Conversion tax benefit for Donald Sterling? Think again

Some media commentaries have suggested that Donald Sterling, if forced to sell the Clippers, would be able to avoid taxes under federal tax law which permits taxpayers to avoid capital gain taxes for "involuntary conversions."  In a new article for, I interview CPA and sports tax expert Robert Raiola, who explains why those commentaries are likely wrong.  Here's an excerpt:
"First," Raiola stressed, "the IRS could argue that the sale was pursuant to bylaws and provisions which Sterling agreed to play by, rather rules being forced on Sterling."

Articles 13 and 14 of the NBA's constitution detail an intricate procedure for owners to terminate the interest of another owner in a team. Sterling and other owners agreed to this procedure. Interestingly, the termination of Sterling's interest in the Clippers would not technically constitute a sale of the franchise. Instead, the NBA and the office of commissioner Adam Silver take control of Sterling's interest. This means the league would essentially run the Clippers, much like it ran the New Orleans Hornets after purchasing the team from George Shinn in 2010. The league would then have the choice of selling the Clippers at a price Silver deems "reasonable and appropriate." From this lens, the sale of the Clippers would not be "involuntary": Sterling would have voluntarily given his blessing to a procedure later used to oust him. Sterling (and perhaps the NBA) would be subject to capital gain taxes in this scenario. 
To read the rest, click here.


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