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  • IRS Could Foul-Up Yankee Fan's Good Deed with Big League Tax Bill

    Baseball is unforgiving for the generous. A pitcher serves up a meaty pitch, and the batter hits a home run, never giving credit to the man who threw the ball. A starry-eyed fan gives a trophy to a legend, and now he’s about to get hit with a tax burden.

    The story begins with New York Yankee Derek Jeter, who on Saturday night became the 28th player in baseball history to achieve 3,000 hits. It was a memorable night, too, for 23-year-old Christian Lopez, the Yankee fan who grabbed the ball, along with much-deserved gratitude. Unfortunately, it’s a dream that could be ruined by the Internal Revenue Service, as The New York Times reports.

    Rather than keep the souvenir for himself (which could be worth six figures), Lopez graciously gave it to Jeter and took home some pretty great gifts as a result: four Champions Suite tickets for the team’s remaining home games and any postseason games, three bats, three balls, and two jerseys—all signed by Jeter—not to mention four front-row seats for last Sunday’s game, too. All told, it’s a gift valued upwards of $75,000 or more.

    Enter the IRS. Tax attorneys tell the Times that Lopez could owe big:

    In such gratitude begins tax liability, said Paul Caron, a tax professor at the University of Cincinnati law school and author of Tax Prof Blog.

    He recalled a 2004 incident in which Oprah Winfrey gave 276 cars to the audience of her show, who were surprised to discover they incurred tax obligations of around $7,000 . . .

    Steven Bandini, a tax partner at the accounting firm Zapken & Loeb, said that if the items were valued modestly at $50,000, they would probably carry a tax burden of about $14,000.

    The IRS won’t speculate on Lopez’s tax liabilities, but it looks like there’s a good chance Lopez could face some liabilities, just as if he’d won the lotto or the Yankees handed him a check. Taxes are everywhere, and unfortunately, this episode shows that you can get hit with a big bill even for catching a home run ball.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    23 Responses to IRS Could Foul-Up Yankee Fan's Good Deed with Big League Tax Bill

    1. Bobbie says:

      how come we haven't heard from any acts of the IRS busting tax fraud in the (Obama) government sector?
      How pathetic of the government to be that desperate to fulfill their greed and ideology. Just a total contrast to the will of the people. To America! Obama's only reason for tax increases, more control.

    2. Brian_Darling says:

      I am ok with tax increases on Yankee fans.

    3. 475Linebaugh says:

      I'm sure they'll tax Jeter as well for the six-figure baseball.

    4. JohnJacobJHS says:

      Ironically, if none of the media outlets hadn't made such a big deal about it like this, I'll bet he wouldn't have claimed the earnings on his income, and the IRS never would've known. Manufacturing their own things to be outraged about!
      I listened to an interview from him saying he's gotten in touch with "certain people" and he's found ways to dodge most of it that he doesn't want to talk about.
      Of course, he could always just sell one or two of those things, which would probably cover all the taxes.

    5. 1derlys says:

      It's all too unfortunate for winners that do the right thing get it in the "end". Under $600 and he wouldn't have had to pay a cent. Hopefully he will be able to sell some of his gratitude gifts so he can pay his debt to Uncle Sam that seems to always have a hand out waiting for his share of the rewards. Too Bad!

    6. debbies21 says:

      And Obama wants to hire 1500 more IRS agents to enforce obamacare. What a world. They want every penny they can squeeze out of you. When is enough enough. There should be a flat tax of 15% for everyone and a 3% sales tax. No deductions, no exemptions nothin. This is what I made less 15% this is what I pay

    7. jeff says:

      IRS= scum of the earth

    8. Jimbeaux says:

      He traded an item of value for equal items of value. A good accountant can handle this exchange of real property in a way this lessens the pain. Now why don't the families of politicians receive IRS bills for FREE air fare, hotels, food and more as they travel the globe? i.e. Nancy Pelosi takes her family to Europe on taxpayer owned aircraft . . . . According to previous documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the former Speaker’s military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over one two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol. For example, purchases for one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, DC, through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008, included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Baileys Irish Cream, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewar’s scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniel’s whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.

    9. Bill says:

      Simple he just claims a six figure loss on the ball he just "sold" to jeter for say 2 cents

    10. Greg says:

      Pass the Fair Tax legislation and this all goes away. No more IRS. "Gifts" will no longer be taxable. I imagine some day when I give my car to my son, the IRS will want a piece of him.

    11. jim says:

      Actually wouldnt that be declared as a "gift" and he could declare an actual loss?

    12. Brian says:

      Why does everyone think this is an "Obama thing". The article also mentions the same thing happening to the car winners on Oprah's show from 2004…squarely in the middle of the Bush years!

    13. Tim Az says:

      It’s simple Brian. Under Obama the IRS has grown excessively to the point that they can now attend ball games and chase down fans that catch baseballs and have them signed afterwards. The IRS wouldn’t have had enough employees to troll for every penny they can confiscate otherwise. Had enough yet?

    14. Jon says:

      The kid that caught the ball wasn't smart. he should have claimed that the catch caused him pain in the hand arm and shoulder then he could claim tax exempt status and applied for Social Security Disability and be set for life.

    15. Paul says:

      Will Obama pay taxes on all the jerseys and gifts that he received
      From sport teams?

    16. Robert Yerxa says:

      The New York Yankees attorneys can surely find a way to make the ball a loss and the suites and items given as a gift to vastly minimize the tax burden on Christian Lopez.. The balls value is much higher than the gifts he recieved, so it should be a net loss on his 2011 taxes. Since this article stated that it was a statement from tax attorneys and that the IRS wouldn't speculate on the issue at this time, it most likely will be a much less tax burden than the news fearmongers are trying to spread. Thank you Christian Lopez for giving Jeter his landmark baseball which was the right thing to do.

    17. Larry White says:

      The IRS… Bureaucrats with GUNS!
      As a Recovering CFP, I advise Mr. Lopez to call a CPA (not a tax attorney) and have them call the IRS and tell them (the IRS) to read their Federal Tax Code – all 80,000 pages – and call back next year…..
      AFTER Congress Passes H.R. 25 and S.13, The FairTax Bill.*

      *Which also requires Repeal of the 16th Amendment to Our Constitution!

    18. Tony's Take says:

      Here is where everybody is getting it wrong.. The baseball is worth a whopping $4 without a signature. Wooo Hooo! The young man ever owned it with a signature so take that out of the equation.

    19. Hal says:

      I suspect there will be additional NY state, and maybe city taxes as well.
      The 28% figure assumes a lot regarding his filing status and other taxable income, so the total liability could be significantly higher.

    20. Tim Guyse says:

      Reason number 1001 we need the Fair Tax. His tax liability would have been a big fat zero because with the Fair Tax does we wouldn't pay taxes on what we make. Only on what we spend.

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