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."

Post by:
Filed under: Baseball • New York • Sports
soundoff (936 Responses)
  1. carol

    It was a gift – that's a no brainer. He hadn't entered into a contest to win a prize. Good Mercy. A gift to show kindness to someone who did a nice deed

    July 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aloisae

      A gift (above the annual exclusion amount and barring very specific exceptions) is also subject to tax. The difference being that if it is a gift, it is taxed to the giver not the recipient.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rick 7809

    It is part of Obama's plan to reduce the debt.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Crazy W8

    He should claim a HUGE loss on his tax return for the VALUABLE ball he returned to offset the SMALL memorabilia gifts received from the team. I'd say the ball is now worth $1 million or so to a collector. So, $1 million minus $120,000 equals a HUGE loss. Seems fair to me.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Nothing personal, but that ball is worth nowhere near a million. Probably a quarter of that. Maybe a third at best.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aloisae

      If he did that, he would first have to report the income from the receipt of the ball (which you are valuing at $1 million). That would be the worst case scenario for him tax wise and highly unlikely.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Big O

    this is non sense.... this is America now a days... hell with this people we need to get our lazy butts into action.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jenjjj

    What happened to "We the people"

    July 12, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. shawn

    This is nothing more then a store dug up by ant-tax people to show how wronged the common man is.

    There will be no tax for simply catching the ball. Possibly when he sells it for $100K there could be capital gains on top of the sales tax.

    The average man is not going to be affected by any tax increases proposed by the democrats...so quite worrying. Taxes being proposed would still be lowest in history and only affect the most affluent and corporations...which data shows does not affect business growth or hiring...only rich peoples dividends on options. You know making more money for rich people.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Genius

      Wow, shawn. You have all the answers.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Welcome NewRepublican

    Pay up chump. Democrats should be demanding this newly affluent person pay their unfare share.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • b. Slider

      no, actually they are demanding, like man of us, that you shut your ignorant mouth and stop posting. Maybe you need to spend some quality time with ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER to help you see everything in the proper perspective there sparky.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alexander

      You are straight up nothing but a fool

      July 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. david, USN RET (SS)

    Let no good deed go unpunished.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jay

    It's ashame how every idiot can turn every post to an anti-Obama comment.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. b. Slider

    I'm glad they never found out about the gifts some fans got from ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER after they helped him out late one night!!!

    July 12, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. anobody

    Go away IRS. Besides I once heard someone who "claimed" to be in the know say that there actually is no law that states a citizen MUST pay income tax. I never did my own research I just assumed there was a law and always pay my taxes. I figured the guy was a kook. Lately the way the Feds are mismanaging our money all over the place I would like to know if there is actually a law that requires U.S. citizens to pay income tax.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Andurill

    Someone needs to put a leash on the IRS to keep them from doing stupid stuff like this.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chuck Steak

    The IRS would lose a great deal of the public's good will and respect if they were to tax that fan. If, however, the Yankees ever dispose of the ball for cash, THEY should be taxed fully!

    July 12, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JJ

    Welcome to a world led by liberals.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      fail loser.....

      July 12, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mike

    The IRS is fuc%^&, our government is fu%^&, and our country is fuc%^& because of it.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36