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. JD

    yankees suck!

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

      Go Rays!

      July 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • JP in denver

      Tax him, he's well represented!! US needs as much as can get in order to avoid defaulting on our debt. GO SOX!!

      July 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bill Russell

    Me too, i get constipated whenever I'm in Boston. Then i vomit non-stop.
    I hate going there. It smells.

    BIll Russell, San Fran, CA.

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

      Funny, I feel that way when I go to your overpriced crap shoot of a city.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. iamacamera

    What absurdity! Everything is taxed. The TEA party is on to something!

    July 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh well

      Its called gift tax...It is put into place to stop corporations/businesses to hand out free money to themselves...while it sucks in this instance, in the long run it helps stop corruption and loopholes...Maybe some of you need to think before you comment about taxes. Morons

      July 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      @Oh Well, shut up you little weasel. If you love your taxes so much feel free to send all your money to the IRS. You can find the address online. Anything over 10 percent to the gov't is too much. I don't need a nanny state and I don't need to support little b * tchs like you!

      July 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh well

      I apologize for my previous comment.

      I am a dumb c[_]nt.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Oh well

    At least he didn't kill himself.

    July 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      When you get done jerking off to the new tax code guide you just got, do us all a favor and get a life so you can add something a with a little more depth to this conversation, instead of just calling everybody stupid.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Iowan

    I say let the Yankees pay the taxes!

    July 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cameron

    If there's ever an indication of TOO MUCH GOVERNMENT, this would be it. Astonishing really.

    July 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cameron

      "Your stupid." Really? How about you learn to spell before you start using big words like "You're" with the word stupid. You actually made my day, thank you.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. AlfredoG

    Unearned income is what it is called. You pay a dollar for a lottery ticket, you win, the IRS is there with their handout. Oh, wait. The taxes are taken out before you get your check. This is legalized theft, in my opinion, and something that needs to stop. But you can thank those 535 jerks on Capitol Hill for this. The IRS is only doing what Congress tells them to do. Oh, and something everyone should check out...Congress and several members of the Executive Branch are exempt from insider trading laws. Google it. It will light your fires. So, when one wonders why GE and Exxon don't pay much in taxes, one might want to see who made money on stocks or other such instruments on those companies.

    July 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh well

      You should be happy they do this...Cause if they don't most people are likely to blow the entire amount and then unable to pay their taxs due on the money earned....Therefore they face heavy fines and penalties...Or Jail-time. Man your dumb

      July 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • fingolfin

      Legalized theft? That makes no sense.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. scorpion

    Funny how we don't get taxed for breathing air ...

    July 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Courtjeztur

      Dude, don't give them any ideas.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh well

      Funny how stupid you are.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al

      Shush fool;, dont give them any ideas.......

      July 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. travis

    the only way it has any value is if he profits from it. if he in turn gives all the autographed gear to family and friends and gifts which he said in an interview then he isnt generating any revenew. now the box seats on the other have a value already attached to them but that is a gift from the yankees and others have said they should be paying taxes on it not him.

    July 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. don wetzbarger


    July 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Uncle Sam

    If anyone should be taxed, it should be this guy. He didn't do any work to earn all that "loot." If he would have kept the ball and sold it on Ebay, he still would have had to pay taxes on it as ordinary income. He should have just thrown it back if he didn't want to incur tax liability.

    July 12, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh well

      He is not being taxed on the ball...He did give it back...He is being taxed on all the free gifts he received...which he should.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt D

      "He should have just thrown it back if he didn't want to incur tax liability."

      *Shaking my head*

      It may be true, but that is just an absurd statement to any sports fan.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh well

      Matt D...He would not be taxed on it until he sold it. If he held on to it the rest of his life he would not be taxed on the value of it cause the value has not yet been realized. Thus why you are not taxed on securities you have not liquated.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Guest

    Tell the IRS to take its d!ck out of your @ss

    July 12, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    He better hope his local IRS auditor isn't a Red Sox fan...

    July 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jonny Ninja

    He gave a ball worth half a million dollars to the Hall of Fame. Seems to me this is a charity gift and he should get a tax break if anything. Ha, I said "tax break." As if there's any such thing with the little commie as president....

    July 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh well

      He is not being taxed on the ball...he is being taxed on the gifts he received...He would not of been taxed on the ball unless he sold it.

      Getting compensation even when it is not cash is still a form of income...How do you morons not understand this?

      July 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Gary

    I think it's a bit of a reach to consider it payment for the ball. If as a gift it isn't taxable, I think a rational person would be able to conclude it was a gift. And if we were to think about it the way the IRS thinks about purchases during a fund raiser for a non-profit, only the amount over the the value of the item purchased is tax deductible. The same should be applied here. Any amount over the value of the ball should be considered a gift. He should only be taxed on the value of the ball (if anything). As for being in the business of generosity...I think with many companies, garnering some good will is worth something too. They got their name out in the media more. Fans may see this favorably and be more inclined to go to a game. I don't think the gift is a total loss for the Yankees. They're getting something out of it too (in addition to the ball).

    July 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh well

      It is compensation for giving them the ball...It is a no brainer...If he doesn't want to be taxed. Do not accept the gifts...that simple.

      What if they gave him 1million dollars would you think he should be taxed....What if they gave Jeter a million dollars just for hitting it. Do you think that should be taxed? Of course you do...Cause you are taxed on your realized income, Whether it is Securities, Money or valuable items.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
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