As the saying goes, "No good deed goes unpunished." Unfortunately, Yankees fan Christian Lopez will have to learn this the hard way.
After catching Derek Jeter's historic 3,000th hit at Saturday's Yankee game, Lopez graciously returned the ball to Jeter stating that "He earned it." For his kind gesture, the Yankees rewarded him with luxury box tickets for the rest of the season, signed baseballs, jerseys, and bats from Jeter and four premium front-row seats to Sunday's game.
However, Lopez might have been better off if he had just kept the ball. According to the New York Daily News, Lopez will have to pay thousands of dollars in taxes for the gifts the Yankees gave to him.
"There's different ways the I.R.S. could try to characterize a ball caught by a fan in the stands," said Andrew D. Appleby, a tax associate familiar with the tax implications of souvenir baseballs. "But when the Yankees give him all those things, it's much more clear-cut that he owes taxes on what they give him."
Lopez didn't seem too upset about the news.
"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."
According to estimates by memorabilia enthusiasts, Jeter's ball could have sold for $250,000.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times