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The Verizon salesman from Highland Mills, N.Y., gave the ball back to Jeter, whom he called an "icon," and the Yankees lavished a slew of prizes, including luxury box seats for every remaining home game this season and post-season and some signed memorabilia.
Now the IRS wants a piece. The prizes Lopez received are estimated to be worth more than $32,000 -- and, like game show contestants, Lopez may have to pay taxes on the gifts and prizes because the IRS considers them income.
Some estimate the IRS will put Lopez on the hook for anywhere between $5,000 and $13,000, reports the
Mr. Murphy, who is 21, told the AP, “I’m upset by the decision I had to make…I wanted to keep it. I’m young. I don’t have the bank account. … It would have cost me a lot more to keep it.”
Christian Lopez, 23, caught the ball and promptly handed it over to the Yankees without demanding any kind of payment, the Daily News reported. The Yankees rewarded him with suite seats for the rest of the season, plus a heap of autographed team memorabilia.
That's what could cost Lopez. According to The New York Times, the total value of the seats and loot could exceed $120,000. The IRS would consider that to be taxable income, several accountants told both newspapers.
However, if it were construed as a gift, it would not be taxable, Columbia University law professor Michael J. Graetz told the Times.