The Potential Tax Perils Of Catching A Historic Baseball

If you’re a dreamer who totes a baseball glove to a ballgame and seeks bleacher seats in hopes of catching a home run ball, you may want to consider the tax implications of your whimsy. The man who chased down the home run ball that was Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit — and gave it back to Jeter — may face financial peril because of the windfall of swag the Yankees showered upon him. The IRS may consider the free season tickets and signed merchandise the team gave the man to be taxable income.

According to a tax expert quoted by The New York Times, the IRS could have classified the ball he caught in several different ways, but the loot from the team can be more easily defined as income. The tickets and memorabilia could be conservatively valued at $50,000, leaving the fan on the hook for $14,000 in taxes. If the fan can convince the IRS that the items were gifts, he may not have to pay taxes on the stuff.

The IRS wouldn’t comment for the story, and the Yankees were coy about whether they’d help defray the fan’s potential tax liability.

Returning Jeter’s Big Hit: No Good Deed Goes Untaxed (Perhaps) [The New York Times]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.