This Masters tax hack funds tournament week — and could save you big

Tom Kim and Scottie Scheffler hold money at the Masters

The real cost of Masters week is different for almost everyone involved, thanks to a loophole in the U.S. tax code.

Darren Riehl/GOLF

AUGUSTA, Ga. — The big business in Augusta this week is the Masters, but the bigger business is housing.

For 51 weeks a year, the area surrounding Augusta National is suburbia. Well-adorned homes dot quiet streets lined with pines. A delicate Southern latitude floats in the air. But during Masters week, the circus comes to town.

People arrive by the thousands, and from everywhere. Private Jets clog the runway at the Augusta Regional Airport like sedans at a Walmart on Black Friday. Rental cars some two hours away at Atlanta Hartsfield, the busiest airport in the world, are mostly sold out. Local restaurants double, and sometimes even triple, their staff and food inventory. And the homeowners? Well, they get the hell out of Dodge.

But don’t worry, they won’t be leaving their houses empty. Not with the biggest tournament in golf coming to town — and certainly not with the area’s hotels struggling under the weight of crowds much larger than they can service. The homeowners are the critical pieces of what, for one week, might very well be the most lucrative short-term housing market in the entire world: The Masters. And with school out for spring break, they intend to cash in.

The story of home rentals in Augusta National dates back decades, at least as early as the late 1960s, when CBS’s transition to color TV helped fuel a sudden — and dramatic — interest in the tournament known as the Masters Invitational. Suddenly, fans the world over wanted to journey into town on the second week of April to see Augusta National for themselves. Demand quickly outpaced supply, and an opportunity emerged for homeowners looking to make a quick buck. If you left town for the week and rented your home, you could charge enough money to cover your April mortgage payment. In 1970, the Augusta Chamber of Commerce formalized the process by creating the Masters Housing Bureau to help homeowners and renters navigate the logistics of renting their homes for Masters week. Augusta National quickly sanctioned the organization, and the two have worked in concert to help house the Masters ever since.

But, even with an above-board renters organization and no shortage of customers, there was still one prominent issue: Taxes. Each year, filing was a headache for renters in the Augusta area thanks to ambiguity in the U.S. tax code over part-time businesses. In simple terms, the people of Augusta wanted to pocket the cash from their weeklong rental, while the IRS thought they owed taxes on the profits earned on a business venture.

The problem, it seemed, was that the people of Augusta were not full-time renters. In fact, they weren’t even part-time renters. They rented their house for one week a year, and one week only.

After a legal and lobbying battle that spanned several years, the homeowners of Augusta won. In 1976, the U.S. tax code released Section 280A — a provision that allows homeowners to rent their property for 10 days or fewer each year without paying taxes on the profits earned. Given the nature of the rule and the way it so obviously entwined with the growth of the Masters tournament, CPAs quickly coined a nickname for the new provision: The Augusta Rule.

Decades later, the advent of online rental services like Airbnb and Vrbo sent the rental market in Augusta exploding once more. In 2024, tournament week has left the quiet streets of Augusta awash in yellow Masters flags — a sign to visitors and locals alike that the home is being rented to Masters visitors. During his annual press conference on Tuesday, even Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley referred to the housing crunch in town, revealing plans for a “three-level, state-of-the-art facility designed to anticipate every need for players, their families, and support team” that some have speculated could include a hotel for players.

Still, even without players among the prospective renter pool, the rental market in Augusta is plenty helpful. In total, some 1,062 Airbnb and accommodations were listed near Augusta, Ga. for the days of tournament week, an analysis from found. The average cost of an Airbnb in the area for the four days of the Masters, per that same analysis? Some $3,420 — though the average price of weeklong rentals is much higher, with many selling for well above $10,000.

That’s a very pretty penny for the homeowners of Augusta, Ga. And perhaps just as important: it’s tax-free.

It’s all thanks to the “Augusta Rule,” and if you find yourself in the path of a golf tournament or other weeklong event in need of housing rentals, you can take advantage of it, too.

Happy hunting!

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at