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Professional athletes are among our nation’s highest-paid employees and, as such, a huge chunk of their income is plowed into the government via the IRS. In fact, federal taxes owed by professional baseball, football, and basketball players will exceed $3 billion in 2013, according to tax experts who specialize in representing athletes. And, like every other U.S. taxpayer, their bill is due today. That’s $3 billion of the $2.5 trillion paid in federal taxes by all Americans, contributed by a select but paltry work force of about 3,000. On average, every MLB, NFL and NBA player pays $1 million in federal taxes. The Fields of Green

According to data bases compiled by USA Today, players in these three major leagues alone earned nearly $9 billion in 2013. Most of that income is taxed at the highest rate of 39.6 percent, and for the first time a surcharge of .9 percent was added to the previous 1.45 percent Medicare tax employees pay on income that exceeds $250,000 to help pay for Obamacare. Even though the overall federal tax burden of nearly 42 percent for these athletes is reduced by deductions, experts say most can only claim enough in agent fees, mortgage interest, dependents and charitable donations to whittle the bill down less than 10 percent. So assuming deductions reduce the overall tax burden to 33 percent, the amount paid in federal taxes on $9 billion of earnings is still $3 billion. “You definitely look at the bottom-line [tax] figure and you go, ‘Jeesh, that’s a lot of money,’ said Colorado Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer, who is in the last year of a three-year, $31.5 million contract. “Then you look at the net income and you go, ‘Jeesh, that’s a lot of money too.’’’ The Fields of Green

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