Golfer Phil Mickelson Teed Off Over Taxes

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Professor Len Burman of Syracuse University, a tax expert and Forbes contributor, questions whether Mickelson could really be paying 63 percent.

"My first reaction is that Phil should talk to his accountant," wrote Burman yesterday on Forbes' website. Mickelson's tax rate, argues Burman, has to be lower than 60 percent. Allowing for the phase-out of itemized deductions, and including a new 0.9 percent surtax enacted to help finance Obama Care, Burman figures a gross rate for Mickelson of 57.9 percent. After, however, allowing for other deductions, including 1.45 percent of payroll taxes, Burman says the golfer's net tax bite should be about 52 percent of marginal earnings, state and federal tax combined.

In his apology, Mickelson says he loves what he does; that he appreciates the game of golf; and that he remains motivated to compete and win championships. But, he says, like many another American, he is struggling to understand "the new tax laws."

He is receiving advice, he says, from people trying to help him make intelligent and informed decisions. "I certainly don't have a definitive plan at this time, but like everyone else I want to make decisions that are best for my future and my family."

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