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Pay to Play: Nebraska Little League Tax


The Nebraska Department of Revenue has been revisiting their legislative definitions. In a recent draft ruling released in November, “Commissioner Doug Ewald has sparked a major outcry by ruling that kiddie volleyball, summer softball and a host of other youth and adult recreational activities should be subject to a sales tax,” according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Currently, sales tax has been applied to “…such things as Husker football tickets, movies and rounds of golf.” But the clarification of the law would extend the application of sales tax to activities that have previously not been subject to sales tax—at least on the surface. According to Ewald, nothing has changed in the law, it’s just the application and clarification of how “…recreational activities should be treated under existing law.”

This, as you can guess, is not going over so well with parents who have one or more children in sports activities such as softball and soccer. However, hockey teams have been paying sales tax all along for use of skating rinks. The law would modify the responsibility of who is supposed to collect the sales tax for hockey games by having players “…pay taxes on the portion of league fees that cover the cost of games,” but they would not have to pay for practice time on the ice. Currently, they pay taxes on both with the ice skating rink owner collecting and remitting.

Abbie Cornett, of Omaha, is not only Senator and chairwoman of the Legislature’s Revenue Committee, but the mother of active twins. She has “…vowed to seek changes during the upcoming legislative session.” The local YMCA programs and the Senator both feel that these taxes will damage youth programs and the youth who need them.

With the flood of response, Ewald has determined that he won’t make the final ruling in January, as expected. Instead, he will delay it and work with state legislators to come to an agreeable solution.


Avalara Author
Susan McLain
Avalara Author Susan McLain
Susan McLain began her career as a technical writer in technology industries such as satellite networking and medical devices. Her skills encompass technical and marketing writing, usability engineering, verification and validation testing and protocol writing, requirements development, business analysis, technical illustration/graphic design and marketing. She has owned her own business providing service to small to medium sized business and in other positions, she has been in project management, documentation and marketing. She is currently the content specialist for Avalara helping to “make sales tax less taxing.”