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Golfer Goosen, tax guinea pig

Professional golfer Retief Goosen, fresh off a Tax Court case in which he received a split decision on how Uncle Sam taxes his U.S. earnings, wants to make sure everyone knows that he's in good standing with the IRS.

Follow-up friday icon The tax case was never a matter of tax avoidance, Goosen told Golf Digest/Golf World magazine. Rather, the PGA and European tours champion agreed to be the tax guinea pig so that international professional athletes and entertainers know exactly what U.S. tax officials expect.

"Now that the judge has given us a guideline, a new law, how to file, we can go to each every one of my sponsor companies and see how they distribute it, and under which section does my tax fall," said Goosen. "It might be in my favor, it might not be in my favor. But now the papers [might stop writing that] I don't pay my taxes. I've always paid my taxes." 

The murky area of how to tax the various types of endorsement income earned by non-U.S. residents was supposed to be tested last year by tennis star Roger Federer. The Swiss tennis pro, however, backed out to avoid the media distraction during the U.S. tennis open.

It sounds like all the global athletes who now have some tax clarity owe Goosen a big thank you for being a tax guinea pig.

"I went up and did it for a week of bloody hell," Goosen told the golf publication. "Its no fun sitting in front of a judge, and she's screaming down everybody's throat. It's nerve-wracking. You feel like a criminal, but you're not."

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