Missing the Net: The Law and Economics of Alberta's NHL Players Tax


  • Donald J.S. Brean
  • Aldo Forgione




The Province of Alberta has introduced a tax on the income of all NHL players earned in every game played in Alberta. The Alberta government intends to forward the revenues from the tax to the ownership groups of the Province's two NHL teams - the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames. Reaction to the tax has been harsh. Criticism ranges from Oilers allegations of interference with collective bargaining rights to discriminatory treatment of high profile taxpayers in violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The NHL Players Tax is designed to take advantage of the practical application of international foreign tax credit and treaty rules to effectively transfer tax revenues from foreign coffers to the Alberta Treasury. After exploring the stated rationale and incidence of the tax, the authors conclude that Alberta's NHL Players Tax is likely to fail to achieve its objectives. Moreover, the tax represents aggressive extension of the province's tax authority with no public benefit.