July 12th, 2011
07:47 AM ET

Fan who caught Jeter ball could owe big taxes

Next time, just throw it back.

Accountants say the man who caught the home run ball that Derek Jeter smashed for his 3,000th hit Saturday will have to pay as much as $14,000 in taxes, New York media report.

Christian Lopez, 23, caught the ball and promptly handed it over to the Yankees without demanding any kind of payment, the Daily News reported. The Yankees rewarded him with suite seats for the rest of the season, plus a heap of autographed team memorabilia.

That's what could cost Lopez. According to The New York Times, the total value of the seats and loot could exceed $120,000. The IRS would consider that to be taxable income, several accountants told both newspapers.

However, if it were construed as a gift, it would not be taxable, Columbia University law professor Michael J. Graetz told the Times.

"The legal question of whether it is a gift or prize is whether the transferor is giving the property out of detached and disinterested generosity," Graetz said. "It's hard for me, not being a Yankee fan, to think of the Yankees as being in the business of exercising generosity to others, but there's a reasonable case to be made that these were given out of generosity."

For his part, Lopez is being just as magnanimous with the IRS as he was with Jeter.

"Worse comes to worse, I'll have to pay the taxes," he told the Daily News. "... The IRS has a job to do, so I'm not going to hold it against them, but it would be cool if they helped me out a little on this."

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Filed under: Baseball • New York • Sports
soundoff (936 Responses)
  1. Greg

    He should be taxed just for being a Yankee fan.

    July 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. timestickin

    I would have put that ball next to my other two and just walked away. and sold it on E-bay for a "boat-load of cash" Idiot............

    July 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maverick

      Then you are still paying taxes on it. The IRS would be watching that EBAY auction very closely.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brandon

    Next story: Breaking News – Uncle Sam steals Timmy's lunch money.

    July 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hightimes2007

    THE PRESS NEEDS TO STOP PUTTING EVERYONE'S NAME IN THE HEADLINES SO NO ONE KNOWS WHO DID WHAT OR CAUGHT WHAT THEN YOU WOULDN'T BE KNOWN TO THE IRS IN THE FIRST PLACE.. IRS SHOULD TAX THE PERSON WHO PUT HIS NAME IN THE NEWS JUST THINK OF ALL THE MONEY HE MADE OFF THE STORY.. IT WASN'T GIVEN TO HIM AS A GIFT

    July 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim in AR

      I think you meant to say it WAS a gift; then it is not taxable. Oh, and the silly key with the words "caps lock" . . .

      July 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DinoBob

    You are a fool, Greg. This guy is a good guy. Don;t be such a troll.

    July 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. wraith729

    Any way that the government can find a way to fleece more money from it's citizens, it will do it!

    July 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dopus

    Jeeter should pay it... He is a player of means and a genuine nice guy too. What a scam. Time to retire the tax hits.

    July 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • small gov't

      FYI, if Jeeter pays the taxes that is also a gift and the guy would have to pay taxes on that. There is nothing in this country that is not taxable according to this gov't.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Richard

    Can he pay the taxes using some of what he was given? Say, a week or two of that suite.

    July 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. fritz

    I was once a fan of these money grubbing ball players. But they went on strike against the fans over money. I forgave them the first strike and said to myself, Go forth and sin against the fans no more." But guess what? They went on strike again! Screwed the fans a second time! That was it. Under the bus for good! Since then, I see them a taking the public for a ride just to get their money so they can get rich playing their stupid and pointless game.Have fun suckers! I have better things to do.

    July 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    I bet this guy wishes he had GE's accountants.

    July 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. hightimes2007

    NEXT UP..... IRS CHARGES RECYCLE FEE FOR A HAIR CUT

    July 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. james vond

    how is it taxable if he didn't demand any payment? He simply returned something.

    July 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • hightimes2007

      GUESS THE IRS CHARGES A RESTOCK FEE

      July 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. HereWeGoAgain

    jews

    July 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. guy

    wow...what a tax system...it sucks...of course there won't be any tax problem..that's minor crap...the ball team no doubt would ensure its looked after...ddduuuhhhh. ithis article shouldn't have even been posted...ddduuuhhhhh!

    July 12, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Leigh

    Oh come on IRS. It was clearly given as a gift. Greedy SOBs, go look else where for money. I cant stand the IRS. Always picking on the little guy and never looking at the big guys. Money hungry ASSES!!!

    July 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
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