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. Yanks Suucukk

    Oh please, should have kept the ball and gotten out of debt. Let no good deed go unpunished! GO SOX!!!

    July 12, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • TWAL

      Nowhere does it say the man is in debt..You should learn how to read and comprehend what is written rather than just insert your own story under a picture and headline.

      July 12, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • tommytommy

      Only a Sux fan would react like such a smuck.

      July 12, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • abc123

      TWAL, Actually, he has mentioned in interviews that he owes over $100,000 in student loans, though it does not say it in this particular article. So don't be so quick to call people idiots. It just may be you who ends up being wrong.

      July 12, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • wesdoggg

      This article doesn't mention it but he is from school loans.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      The Sox aka The new Yankees, go CM Punk!

      July 12, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dirty Joe

    It's all Obama's fault!

    (Right, Tea Partiers?)

    July 12, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • TWAL


      July 12, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • RunForTheHills

      Yes, it is, actually. If Obama hadn't spent us into bankruptcy, the IRS wouldn't have to dig so deep to find money to pay Obama's corporate cronies. The fact of the matter is that Obama is the worst President in American history, and has spent us virtually into bankruptcy, and now the IRS has to go after guys who catch $8 baseballs and send them bills for $14,000 for accepting gifts with no tangible value whatsoever.

      So, yes, it is Obama's fault.

      July 12, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • sports are not politics

      come on lets just be fans and not bring politics into sports (even if i was amused by this)

      @runforthehills-if you cant remember i'll remind you of the fact that under clinton we had a surplus and bush spent us 6 feet under debt, not obama, why dont YOU try to dig us out of this mess in 4 years AND deal with two wars left by your predecessor among a host of other things every president has to deal with hm?

      -A Diehard cubs fan to the end

      July 12, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Julia

      Of course, EVERYTHING is Obama's fault. But after reading one of his bargaining chips is to stop all future COLA increases to those getting SS, I hate ALL OF THEM!

      July 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • andrew

      RunForTheHills, I would just like to say you are really quite dumb and are making my head hurt. Please don't say stupid things like that in the future, it's hard for us normal people to handle such stupidity.

      July 13, 2011 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. jeshm

    Before you start trashing the IRS (and there are many good reasons to do so), take a moment to actually read the story and see that CNN is only restating what a couple of accounts and a tax professor (who are in no way affiliated with the IRS) think might possibly happen if the actual IRS were to, at some point in the future, audit this guy's tax return, see that he received all this free stuff and then determine that its a prize, not a gift. If all of that happened, then, he might have to pay taxes on it.

    Even the law prof who hates the Yankees didn't think that was likely.

    July 12, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Nick

    Lets see if the guy who catches the next history making ball accepts all the "gererous" gifts.......! Even with all his tax troubles now, this still beats what happened to the poor guy at the Rangers game who caught a ball!

    July 12, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kathy60

    It will be construed as a gift. What I tend to get upset about is whenever someone gets a bonus or wins the lottery, 40 percent is taken off the top for taxes. For example, I received a $1,000 bonus and netted $590 and this is on top of any normal income tax. And the rich are complaining about doing away with tax loopholes for themselves. Unbelievable.

    July 12, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • rik

      I hear ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

      July 12, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  6. Hyperactive

    What a newsworthy piece you idiots. Got nothing else to cover?

    July 12, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Kathy60

      You would rather hear about the Casey Anthony case??????

      July 12, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • SMS

      Then why are you reading it, let alone commenting on it....couldn't tell what it was about from the headline?

      July 12, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  7. Anthony Quatroni

    Just another great example of how screwed up this country is. Our government could make a joyous thing into a nightmare in a millisecond. My wife owed the IRS money from when she didn't have a job, and one morning she woke to find $700 taken directly out of her bank account with no court proceeding, hearing, NOTHING. Only in America, the Land of Greed, could the government steal from your bank account without any questions asked. Rotten people, just rotten.

    July 12, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. d

    So why doesn't Jeter just give the guy a "$14,000" gift? DOOOOOO EEEEEET Jeter. Prove to us pro athletes are not all tools.

    July 12, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • leslie w

      but then, wouldn't he have to pay taxes on Jeter's 14g's? I guess that would be an actual gift....lol, nevermind.

      July 12, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  9. cartmanrulz

    Maybe everyone will wake up and see that our Gov't could care less about any of us (unless your rich) fuk the USA gov't. they get what they deserve. We are not free, they poision us with crap and you people have no clue. All the viruses are gov't made so they can make money of the health care system. Wake up people time to do something about it.

    July 12, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Kathy60

      Get yourself a pointy aluminum hat to keep those nasty alians from infiltrating what is left of your brain.

      July 12, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • From the 'Believe Anyting' file

      I agree, not only is cartmanrulz a conspiracy theorists, he probably lives in his mommy's basement.

      July 12, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • So leave then!

      If you hate the US so much then get the FUK out!!!!!!!!!!!! We don't want to you here anyway!!!

      July 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Will

    This is another reason I would have demanded a cash payment. If the Yankees can afford to pay Alex Rodriquez $50,000 per at bat, they could afford to give an average joe the same amount of money for returning an extremely important ball in the franchise's history.

    July 12, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    The ball could have struck him in the head resulting in brain damage. In that case he would have only owed 75 bucks for an ambulance's flashing lights, plus tax.

    July 12, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. From the 'Believe Anyting' file

    I love the comments from the people who believe everything they read.

    the 'Accountants' state the person COULD BE liable for taxes but it clearly reads that if it is considered a "gift", the person would owe no taxes. He will owe no taxes because it will be argued it was a gift.

    Stop reading into these things, stop slamming the Government, please people, stop making yourselves look stupid.

    July 12, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • From the 'Believe Anyting' file

      Cartman, don't you just love how your messages get deleted?
      Maybe you should read the headline:
      "Big tax hit for fan who caught Jeter ball?"
      Notice the question mark? you were fooled into believing the fan would be taxed.
      and then read what I wrote. He will not get taxed as it is a gift.

      July 12, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. Canadian Man

    That's the problem with America, They screw you every which way they can. In Canada, if you win 10 millions at the lottery, you get 10 millions. The only taxable part is the interests you make on the 10 millions, but the prize is yours, they only see the interest as income.

    July 12, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • From the 'Believe Anyting' file

      Canadian Man, you want to talk about taxes? How many different taxes do you have on purchases?

      July 12, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Gabe

      in my province (quebec) we have 2 on everything. One is federal tax and one is provincial tax that is calculated on the base price + fed tax.
      for every dollar I have to pay it costs me $1.145

      July 12, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Canadian Man

      Still, when I go to the hospital, I don't get a bill, no matter what they have done, you'll never get a bill. Health care costs a lot and it makes sense that we'll pay more tax on the backend but it's better than a 100 000$ bill after a routine operation.

      July 12, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Julia

      Thanks to our Canadian neighbors for weighing in. I am so fed up with the way things have been going here, I've told my daughter over and over: if I were younger I'd move to Canada, (despite the fact that I HATE SNOW). But now they wouldn't want me: age 57 and now disabled. Too bad I wasn't thinking straight in my younger years.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canadian Man

      I'm sure Survivor winners would love to actually get a million and noy 636 000$ although it's still a lot of money, they should give then 1.5 million so they actually get a million, it's almost false advertisement.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • ya that makes a lot of sense!

      Ya, I would love to pay more in taxes on everthing else so just in case I need surgury (which I have not) it will be paid for...that is a joke! I have a 70 year old father who has never had any major surgury why should he pay for 70 years for something he does not need??? Goooood logic Canada!

      July 12, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |

    Taxation with out representation was our fore fathers call to arms and freedom.. We the people need a new battle call to over throw is all lawyer and snake-oil government that destroyed our COUNTRY & FREEDOMS to line the pockets they have. Time for a call to arms! ( When a government of the people by the no longer represents the peoples wish it is the peoples duty to rise up and take it back ) The Declaration of Independents.......

    July 12, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • From the 'Believe Anyting' file

      You first! lol

      July 12, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • abc123

      Except for the fact that the tax laws were created by government officials that were elected by the people. So in this case it is taxation with representation.

      July 12, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • RUKidding?

      Go ahead and try your overthrow exercise and see how fast you get labeled a terrorist, an extremist, a right-wing nut job. You'd be disposed of very quickly.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • iwearglasses

      i would have to agree with absolutemarine ( Fellow brother) on this one. To the fact that how can it be taxation with representation when all the politician do is lie to us.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Just a thought

    This kind of thing is EXACTLY why we killed Red Coats.

    July 12, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • From the 'Believe Anyting' file

      you might want to research before posting such a stupid response.

      July 12, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
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