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. BlackDynamite

    Only our crooked government would construe that as income
    Only in America

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

      It's the New York Times saying that it's possible that the IRS could tax him. As far as the article goes, the IRS hasn't sent him a tax bill for this. This comes up everytime someone hits a milestone homerun and it's never been reported that the IRS has actually taxed the recepient.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. but wait

    IRS will probably tax him for getting help to pay for the taxes imposed by the IRS

    July 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. David

    Leave it to the IRS, Congress and the lawyers to screw-up everything. Why can't they just leave well enough alone. What gets me is that exempt themselves from all these so called laws. Hipocrates!

    July 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chris Burns

    I wonder why there are militias in this country. Hmmm...

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

    jeter should pay it

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

      Then he would owe taxes on the money Jeter gave to him to pay the taxes.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. hightimes2007

    time to sell all the gifts you got on ebay since you already paid tax on them... then resell them make some money keep a couple tickets ...see a couple games

    July 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rae

    This is a prime example of too much government invasion. He shouldn't have to pay one dime in taxes for the gift or to me what he won at the game. If it was me, I'd give it back and not take the gifts. I wouldn't pay Uncle Sam an extra dime for that. I already pay my taxes that's taken out of my checks!!

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

      Your dumb...don't be mad when you boss gives his VP son a tax free 200,000 dollar car for showing up to work one day just to call you a fatty.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      hey "oh well" what are you talking about? When you call someone else dumb, you should probably make sure you don't sound dumb yourself. Try using proper wording and spelling. That usually helps. Also, your logic isn't very clear.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. obama

    Keep the friggin' ball then.

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

    400+ responses and 95% of them are morons who do not understand simple tax laws and why they are instilled...it is no wonder why Americans are Corporate slaves.

    July 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Any loss of human space exploration :-{

    I suggest a new house of legislators whose single duty is to repeal laws. Let legislators pass laws only with a two-thirds majority . . . while the repealers are able to cancel any law through a mere one-third minority. Preposterous? Think about it. If a bill is so poor that it cannot command two-thirds of your consents, is it not likely that it would make a poor law? And if a law is disliked by as many as one-third is it not likely that you would be better off without it?

    July 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      How about you pick up a high school history book and read about the Articles of Confederation? The Articles required a similar kind of super majority and it almost ruined the country.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. anonymous

    Don't care for a game that is not known or played anywhere else in the world ( except canada ).. the game has no significance what so ever

    July 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      are you stupid? Baseball is played in more countries than just two countries.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arglebargle

      No games do in reality. They need to bring an added edge to sports where players' lives are on the line. Now THAT would be worth watching.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ah C'mon already

    Sounds like the IRS agents want a seat in the suite.

    July 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Barry


    July 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lacoaster


    July 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. hightimes2007


    July 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
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