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. DEH TOOK ER JOBS

    The amount of morons in America is amazing....Please vote for Romney/Bachmann and get this country over with.

    July 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • debbie

      Deh- the problem is they DON'T teach this stuff in any grade – so be nice and educate rather than calling everyone stupid. It takes special people like us to understand the tax system – remember most people just fill in the blanks on a 1040 via a computer program or HR Block. Be nice. and teach

      July 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yanks23

      It wasn't a prize that he won – it was a gift..

      July 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Canadian Man

    Why don't they bring the young men home and stop spending money on wars and give all the tax breaks to the conglomerates and investements firms instead of trying to screw someone who caught a baseball out of 14 000$

    July 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • DEH TOOK ER JOBS

      Why are you so stupid? The Yankees just gave my neighbor free front row tickets cause she has huge breasts...Should she be taxed for this? Of course! Why? It has realizable value and she earned said value. Oh boy Tax 101. They teach this in 6th grade.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • debbie

      Deh- the problem is they DON'T teach this stuff in any grade – so be nice and educate rather than calling everyone stupid. It takes special people like us to understand the tax system – remember most people just fill in the blanks on a 1040 via a computer program or HR Block. Be nice. and teach

      July 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DEH TOOK ER JOBS

    Later morons learn some tax laws. An try and wrap your pea-sized brains around basic concepts of earned income.

    July 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • dude

      bitter much?

      July 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. I want da gold!

    I hope Jeter covers the taxes. The Yankees organization has done enough with the tickets and memorabilia. Game shows don't pay your taxes on the car you win, Yankees have no obligation to do so either. Their gesture was enough. Time for Jeter to cough up some thank you bucks from his own deep pockets.

    July 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • TB

      Jeter/Yanks can't pay the taxes, because that would be yet another payment to be counted as income.

      I don't see why they can't have the ball appraised (for the amount the guy would've gotten at auction if he'd kept it) and treat that value as what he "paid" for the suite. I bet they could get appraisals that "coincidentally" come really close to the $120,000 they say the suite is worth.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Russ Germain

    wow, only in the stupid idiotic USA would they make a guy pay taxes for something he was given as a sign of kindness!

    USA you're morons

    July 12, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bcn

    One thing is clear: Mr. Lopez is a class act.

    July 12, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Wade Willis

    The best part of this article are the comments where DEH TOOK ER JOBS is calling people stupid. And how he uses poor grammar to do so. Throwing out phrases like "would of" and "your stupid" using the grammar and spelling skills of a six year old while trying to defend the IRS. Good job buddy. Keep showing your fine education in defense of the of the IRS.

    July 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Anchorite

    The moronic part is that anyone would pay $120,000 for a baseball, no matter who hit it or how many points it scored on that play. If you have that kind of money send your kids to a good college, or grand kids, or adopt some kids and send them.

    July 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Swizza

      Who paid that much for it?

      July 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. stephensB

    No good and kind deed shall go unpunished !!!
    $14,000.00 in taxes to the IRS , ....... hmmmmm , hey , that's $14000.00 more than G.E. or Exxon paid !!!!!
    What's wrong with this picture ??????

    July 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • DEH TOOK ER JOBS

      Your dumb

      July 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. debbie

    Since the ball never went on the market there is no way to determine it's value. So he can't take a loss between what the ball might have brought him vs what the Yankees gave him in exchange for it. However, I'm certain the Yankees understand the tax laws and know that they can gross up the gift and pay the taxes for this fan. Before we all start getting crazy here let's assume that someone at the Yankees knows what they are doing – and if they choose to not gross it up and this guy has to pay the taxes then it sounds like he's ok with that so stop slamming on this. Next story.....

    July 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • mtjfb28

      The ball had value the second it was a hit, things don't need to be offered for sale to have value for tax purposed, the value just needs to be assessed, just like your house.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • DEH TOOK ER JOBS

      Congrats on being smart debbie! You are literally 1 in a million.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • DEH TOOK ER JOBS

      Mtf...This cannot be assessed in the manner you are speaking because it is a one of a kind item...unlike a house...You are very wrong. This would need to be put up for sale/auction in order to determine a reasonable value of it.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • mtjfb28

      But the value can still be assigned, and he can still take a loss. That is what the courts are for, If the IRS wants to pursue this which they won't, the fact is, any accountant or tax attorney will tell the IRS to screw themselves and let them sue for the taxes, then in court you call expert witnesses to value the ball and find out the at IRS probable owes this guy money because of the deducible hes would be allowed on the loss.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • DEH TOOK ER JOBS

      MTF I doubt he would win a court date as you cannot assess a value to this ball. He was given no offers and it is one of kind...Right now it is valued at $140,000 because that is what he was compensated for it. Only way you can come close to this is to gather some data on other balls of similar significance and the value that they sold for...Still that will be hard to prove. But your right he can always go to court. I do not think he would win. But I thought O.J. was guilty.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bob

    If was a Red Sox fan, the IRS would be paid already

    July 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Go Yanks

      Red Sox fans won't get chance for 3,000 hit player. Maybe in 90 something years.... Losers.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. KT

    I don't think he should have to pay taxes. He didn't enter a contest, there were no rules or regulations he was at a game and happened to catch a ball. It's not his fault that he was offered free tickets and memorabilia. If that's the way the government want to play, I would decline everything so they get what they deserve....nothing.

    July 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • DEH TOOK ER JOBS

      KT while that is actually an intelligent argument...It can be said that he had knowledge he was being compensated for the act of selling the ball to the yankees...it is not giving if he receives compensation.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canadian Man

      DEH TOOK ER JOBS, what the hell do you know about intelligent arguments?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. OldGoat

    I would have kept the ball. The IRS can't tax you on possessing it.

    July 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ballson Chinn

    Why is this man handling Jeter's balls?

    July 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Gerard

    He should teach a class on civics and civil behavior

    July 12, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • DEH TOOK ER JOBS

      It is not like he gave it to charity...He gave it back to a billion dollar organization and was compensated well for it. Gimme a break.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
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