Anderson to have tax status hearing O's outfielder owes $485,000, state says

February 28, 1997|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

A formal hearing will be held to decide the merits of the state of Maryland's claim that Orioles outfielder Brady Anderson owes $485,133 in back taxes and interest.

The state originally filed a lien against Anderson in Baltimore City Circuit Court when he did not respond to repeated mailed notices. However, the notices were sent to an old address and Anderson did not get them.

The miscommunication was cleared up and the lien was lifted, so now the validity of the case will be decided at a hearing. A date has not been set.

Anderson, who has been with the Orioles since 1988, resides in the downtown Harbor Court Condominiums during the season but spends his winters on the West Coast.

"They are trying to say I'm a resident, and I'm not," Anderson said. "I'm not a resident not that I would be opposed to being a Maryland resident, I'm just not.

"I assume I'm allowed to have a residency in whatever state I want to. I've never owned a home in Baltimore. I own a home in Nevada where I choose to live. If they are going to go after me, they are going to go after everybody who plays for the Orioles and lives outside of Maryland."

According to the files, Anderson owes a total of $485,000 -- about $163,000 is owed for 1993, about $191,000 is owed for 1994 and about $130,500 is owed for 1995. No penalties have been assesed.

Helene Cohen, the controller ofthe Beverly Hills Sports Council (which represents Anderson), said its clients have won cases like this before and is optimistic it will do the same for Anderson.

"In baseball, all the states are fighting over who's a resident of which state," Cohen said. "It's very complicated. Each state has a different law. We don't necessarily agree with it.

"He doesn't owe anything as a resident. Brady pays a lot of money on his income from home games, so the issue is whether he's a resident of Maryland."

By law, Assistant State Comptroller Marvin A. Bond could not talk about the specifics of Anderson's case, but said in most cases liens are filed against a person's home, business or salary. It is not unusual for individuals to appeal liens, Bond said.

"The task before the hearing officer is to decide first of all, is there money due to the state, and if so, how much?" Bond said. "Then, if [the person facing the lien] agrees this is due and this is the amount due, how are they going to pay it? If they don't agree, they can go to tax court to fight it."

If Anderson were to lose his appeal and still refuse to pay, the state could begin seizing property.

Bond said athletes and entertainers who are often on the road are subject to a certain area of state taxation law. They pay taxes based on the number of days they spent in their "home" city, and the number they spent out of town.

"The other issue a lot of sports people with longer seasons face is they may indeed have a home in the 'home' city," Bond said, while speaking only in generalities and not about this particular case. "It may or may not be their permanent home. That's another issue that has to be decided oftentimes."

Cohen said the Major League Baseball Players Association also is involved in the case. A union spokesman confirmed its lawyers are looking into the case, but would not comment further on the matter.

Anderson, 33, earned more than $10.5 million from the Orioles from 1993 to 1995. He will make $4 million this season from a club option, but is eligible for free agency after the season.

The two-time All-Star became the first Oriole in history to hit 50 home runs last year and set career highs in most offensive categories.

The Orioles offered him a two-year deal worth $8 million a few months ago, which Anderson rejected. The sides have talked little since, although the fan favorite maintains he would like to finish his career in Baltimore. The Orioles have a policy of not negotiating contracts during the season.

Pub Date: 2/28/97

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