“Teams rarely have it close to right,” said K. Sean Packard, tax director at OFS Wealth in McLean, Va.
Even after accountants make sense of athlete clients’ taxes, their work is often not finished. Pro athletes are audited frequently, most likely because they claim unusual deductions, like payments to personal trainers and masseuses, said Brad Gastineau, tax manager at Gatto, Pope & Walwick in San Diego.
For an all-star accountant able to handle the pressure of keeping world-class athletes tax-compliant, the trophy is steady business.
“I had one client who was so pleased that he invited me to dinner with a bunch of his teammates, and I got some new business that way,” said Halpern, who handles taxes for 30 to 40 athletes each year. “I ended up with like nine Patriots.”