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. SF

    What is stupid about this country is the video/picture of this idiot itself...look at the headline right below the pic "Russia plane crash kills at least 6"...but NOOOOOO CNN and the media find it more informational and important to report on some idiot giving away a ball that isn't worth the leather it's wrapped in! this country's a joke

    July 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lean6

      Dude you totally missed the "can't CATCH a break in America anymore" message behind the post.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beezy

      Congratulations, you are an idiot.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mack

      CNN is on 24 hours a day. They talk about a wide variety of things. Especially when there is no more information available about a disaster, what else can they do? Just keep saying the same things over and over again?

      July 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • SF is a LOSER

      SF, you are a real POS. It's not the kids fault he caught Jeter's 3000th hit. The line below is a loop of information that gets played over and over. The fact that the message appeared during this interview is irrelevant. This country is a joke because of people like you. You call this kid and idiot when you don't even know him. Do yourself (and everyone else) a favor and never post a message online again.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • pjc145

      Then leave, I believe there is a plane leaving now to any where you would like to go.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Do you think when a plan crashes in the US, Russian news programs/newspapers are covered in headlines of "Plan crash in Buffalo, NY kills 7!" I don't think so. Have some perspective here...

      July 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Beezy

    That is insane.

    July 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lean6

    I kinda feel like throwing up....

    July 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. FU

    Fcuk everything about the IRS...

    July 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. davidp

    While I do think its a gift, even if its not and he has to pay $14,000 ,so what? I would glady pay $14,000 in tax if I received $120,000 in memorabilia and tickets, because I could just sell $14,000 worth of the tickets/memoribilia and still profit $106,000.

    July 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Netta

      You do realize you would have to pay taxes on the $106,000 in income right?

      July 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark C

      "You do realize you would have to pay taxes on the $106,000 in income right?"

      Yeah moron - as would somebody who works every day, all year long, to make the same amount of money, or less.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • davidp

      @Netta Actually you wouldn't unless you sold it over what it was initially valued at. The $106,000 is already paid off in the $14,000 he was taxed. If I pay $4000 in tax because I received a $20,000 car and then I sell the car for $20,000 (assuming no depreciation) I do not pay any tax on that $20,000 cash because there has not been any gain. I would only have to pay more tax if I sold it for $22,000

      July 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Gayle

    Just someone trying to stir up controversy. No one said that the IRS has contacted this guy at all; it is likely that they will view the seats as a gift and let the issue drop.

    July 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      exactly... this is purely hypothetical...

      July 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brian

    It's a gift. He didn't enter a lottery to win it. He didn't perform any services to earn it.

    July 12, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • DEH TOOK ER JOBS

      Its not a gift...He was compensated for turning in a ball. AKA selling it. If I find a stamp on the ground and "give" it to someone in exchange for 100,000 worth of "gifts", do you think I should pay tax on it?

      July 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • kentucky

      Technically, he gave them the ball and in return they gave him the memorabilia.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • DEH TOOK ER JOBS

      Kentucky good lucky getting a judge to buy that one...Yes your honor I gave this man a Porsche...He was just so kind as to also give me 100,000 dollars.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeremy

    The government is just getting disgusting. Things like this make me feel like it's time for a second Revolutionary War. First was against the King, this time against the tyrants of big government and big corporations who live better than kings ever did.

    July 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark C

      Oh shut up, you gaseous, bloviating imbecile.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • DEH TOOK ER JOBS

      Huh? This tax law is in place to prevent corporation tax loop holes for compensation...War Hawk much?

      July 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Pyre

    Can't even be generous in the US without paying taxes. What lesson did we learn today? In America, if you're kind to someone, you'll get screwed...wonderful

    July 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark C

      Actually we learned that you're an idiot. Why should this guy not pay taxes on his windfall when someone who works all day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year to make the same (or less) money does?

      July 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Robert

    The IRS wants your balls

    July 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John

    In Canada (greatest country in the world) gifts AND prizes are excluded from a taxpayer's income.

    So there!

    July 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • DEH TOOK ER JOBS

      Gifts are in America as well up to a certain value...This however cannot be considered a gift as he was SELLING the ball back to the Yankees/MLB. He received compensation. Seriously this guy should of donated it and MLB could of bought it from the Charity Org...All would have made out in the end! Instead he sold it. He pays tax now. End of Story.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Your only there because we protected you for so long, I did't see you paying the bill for all this military, ICBM's, Airforce, etc. What do you have one helicopter?

      July 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      We've got, like, at least twenty or something.

      And what the hell kind of suckers would we be to bone out for a huge military when we're under the protection of the biggest and most expensive military ever?
      You shnooks can foot the bill. We'll take the benefit.

      Thanks!

      July 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nuclear Threat

    the IRS needs to be abolished, fairtax.org !

    July 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • DEH TOOK ER JOBS

      That tax is not fair at all....Learn you fool!

      July 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. redsox

    yankees suck

    July 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Douglas Quaid

    Hahahahaaaaha ha! You think dis is duh real Quaid?

    It IS!

    July 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MICHAEL GRAY

    HE SHOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ANYTHING!!! THE I R S WOULD BE EXTREMELY WRONG TO TAX THAT!!!MG

    July 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • DEH TOOK ER JOBS

      Why is that? He sold it? When I sell things I pay tax. Its a dumb baseball.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
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