Blog Entry

Giving back Jeter's ball may prove tax liability

Posted on: July 12, 2011 1:56 pm
By Matt Snyder

And now we present to you, today's version of "no good deed goes unpunished."

Remember Christian Lopez? He was the fan who caught Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit, which was also a home run. He gave the ball back to Jeter without any monetary demands -- and he could have easily made a windfall had he put the ball up for sale. For example, Barry Bonds' 715th home run ball went for over $200,000. But when Yankees president Randy Levine asked what Lopez wanted for the Jeter ball, Lopez replied: "How about a couple signed balls, some jerseys and bats." (New York Times)

That's it. Obviously, Jeter and the Yankees granted Lopez's request. Lopez even told reporters he owed more than $100,000 in student loans, but felt the ball belonged to Jeter. Of course, Lopez is now likely going to have to pay some pretty hefty taxes on the gifts the Yankees have given him.

Via NYTimes online:
The Yankees gave Mr. Lopez four Champions Suite tickets for their remaining home games and any postseason games, along with three bats, three balls and two jerseys, all signed by Jeter. For Sunday’s game the team gave him four front-row Legends seats, which sell for up to $1,358.90 each.
With so many home games remaining at those lofty prices, it is estimated that the value of Lopez's coup could be over $50,000, which means he'd owe $14,000 in taxes. If it is determined the Yankees gave these items as an act of generosity -- instead of an exchange of goods -- Lopez wouldn't owe a dime. So it's up to the IRS.

Who would have thought, when Lopez caught the ball and did the kind thing, he may have incurred a $14,000 tax liability.

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Since: Mar 21, 2010
Posted on: July 12, 2011 9:37 pm

Giving back Jeter's ball may prove tax liability

He said it in the article.  They exchanged one ball for one ball fair trade, no gains, no taxes.  Then out of generosity gave him a little bit more.  Therefore no taxes again.  I'm sure the Yankee accountants have accounted for this tax scenario.

Winggin I am glad that you are one of the few people that read that article from the New York 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,” Professor 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.”

Christian Lopez transferred that ball to the Yankees organization without any interest whatsoever in Yankees tickets. There is plenty video proof immediately after the game of him making statements to this effect and I am sure that even baseball fans who work at the  Internal Revenue Service saw this. He wanted to meet Derek Jeter and get an autograph from him. That was it.

As far as the Yankees organization goes they make gifts of stadium seats all the time in the interest of good business, and charitable purposes like all Major League Baseball organizations do with zero disputes from the Internal Revenue Service. The Yankees will treat their transfer of the seats as a gift and that will be the end of this matter.

Since: Jul 9, 2011
Posted on: July 12, 2011 9:37 pm

Giving back Jeter's ball may prove tax liability

That's crazy.  Of course, the media didn't do Lopez any favor by detailing the exchange online for the country (and IRS) to see.  Hopefully, they can just turn a blind eye and left it all go. 

Since: Jan 19, 2008
Posted on: July 12, 2011 8:58 pm

Giving back Jeter's ball may prove tax liability

Only in America can a person get punished (taxed) for doing something good and walk free after killing a child. This country is falling apart. No wonder why it's in such bad shape. The people and lawmakers of this nation can't distinguish between what's right and what's wrong anymore. Very sad.

Since: Dec 25, 2006
Posted on: July 12, 2011 8:21 pm

Giving back Jeter's ball may prove tax liability

what comes aroung goes around.

Those are lyrics from a RATT song.

It's ... "What goes around comes around".

Hahaha ... not bustin balls ... just playin

Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: July 12, 2011 8:05 pm

Giving back Jeter's ball may prove tax liability

Just out of curiousity, wasn't he the first Yankee to get 3000 hits.  How great would it have been if the Yankees kept the ball for their own purpose.  How would that be for payback to Jeter for milking every million he can out of them.  Yankees can put the ball on display, and just label it the first 3000 hit ball in Yankee history and not even put Jeters name on it.  Oh the irony of what comes aroung goes around.

Since: Mar 14, 2010
Posted on: July 12, 2011 7:25 pm

Giving back Jeter's ball may prove tax liability

it may be a 14K tax burden, but at an estimated 300K value I would have taken the 286K profit.

Since: Dec 25, 2006
Posted on: July 12, 2011 7:06 pm

Giving back Jeter's ball may prove tax liability

The baseball was purchased by some entity which means is is owned by that same entity.
(Either the home or visiting team ... can't recall right now).

How does ownership of the ball change hands simply because a fan caught it?

I ask the same question when Doug Mientkiewicz caught the final out that won the Red Sox the 2004 World Series. How did ownership of the ball transfer to him simply because it was thrown to him?

If you and I are playing 1 on 1 with my basketball, I pass it to you so you can take it out ... would you run home with the ball claiming that it's your's since I threw it to you?

It's my opinion that whoever owns the ball at the start of the game, owns it until they formally relinquish ownership of it.
NOT when a fan catches it or a player decides to keep it.

Since: Jun 17, 2008
Posted on: July 12, 2011 6:55 pm

Giving back Jeter's ball may prove tax liability

Do "the right" thing and get screwed.  That is what our government is teaching all of us more and more.  Don't worry boys and girls the day of reckoning is on the horizon!

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: July 12, 2011 6:42 pm

Giving back Jeter's ball may prove tax liability

I heard on the radio here in boston that the yankees are going to pay the taxes on the items he got in return

Since: Jan 31, 2009
Posted on: July 12, 2011 6:11 pm

Giving back Jeter's ball may prove tax liability

Jeter should give him his All-Star bonus.  Should cover the taxes and make DJ look like even more of a hero.

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