No good deed goes unpunished (by the IRS).
Last Saturday, Derek Jeter accomplished another milestone in his Hall-of-Fame career when he cracked his 3000th hit as he launched a home run into the left field seats at Yankee Stadium. 23-yr-old Christian Lopez was in the stands and ended up with the historic baseball. Mr. Lopez then did what a very small percentage of fans would do: he offered the ball to Derek Jeter -- for free.
Lopez and Jeter posed for photos after the game and the Yankees announced that they were very appreciative of the young man's actions and were rewarding his generosity with four tickets premium seats to last Sunday's game, plus four seats to every remaining home game, in a luxury box. He also received a basket of signed memorabilia from Jeter and the Yankees.
But the shadow of the IRS is looming.
According some estimates, Mr. Lopez (who claims to have $100,000 in student loans) received in excess of $50,000 in goods from the Yankees and he should expect a tax bill as high as $15,000.
The New York Daily News caught up with Christian and asked him about the potential tax bill hanging over his head. His answer was considerably more gracious than one might expect from a native New Yorker:
"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."
(It might also be cool if Jeter "helped out a little on this." All he had to do was sign a few baseballs and jerseys.)
The potential tax implications do raise additional questions:
Does Derek Jeter face any taxes for receiving a gift (the baseball) worth upwards of $400,000?
Why doesn't the IRS go after all celebs who regularly are seen in front row and sideline seats at sporting events? They enjoy free seats, just like Mr. Lopez will be doing, to the tune of thousands of dollars per game. (The Blaze addressed this subject back in April.)