For every feel-good moment, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Newton said that ... you could look it up. Or, you could just observe the case of Christian Lopez.
Lopez is the New York Yankees’ fan who caught the home run that was Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit Saturday. He could have held the ball for a ransom and not a lot of people would have blamed him. Instead, he gave it to Jeter, asking only for a couple of baseballs and bats in return. The Yankees responded with season tickets, merchandise and a meeting with Jeter.
Enter the only people who could possibly make the Yankees look like the good guys: the Internal Revenue Service. Lopez is going to have to pay some taxes on these gifts. That’s how it works with these things. (You know, death and taxes.)
According to the New York Times, it’s uncertain just how much the items are worth, but four tickets to the 32 remaining home games (after Sunday) have a combined face value of $44,800 to $73,600. Steven Bandini, a tax partner at the accounting firm Zapken & Loeb, told the Times that if the items were valued modestly at $50,000, they would probably carry a tax burden of about $14,000. Lopez also received three bats, three balls and two jerseys, all signed by Jeter. (Total value of those estimated at $6,500.)
That’s a steep tax bill for a cellphone salesman who has six-figure college loans to pay off.
“Worse comes to worse, I'll have to pay the taxes,” he told the New York Daily News on Monday. “I'm not going to return the seats. I have a lot of family and friends who will help me out if need be.
“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.”
Know what? It would be even cooler if Derek Jeter helped him out a little on this.