A frenzy of applause went around the sports world to Derek Jeter on Friday after he hit a home run off of David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays in the Yankees win. He became the second player ever to hit a home run for their three-thousandth hit, behind Wade Boggs, who hit his when he was with the Tampa Bay Rays in 1999.
The fan who caught the prized ball is Christian Lopez, a 23-year old phone salesman from Highland Mills, New York. Lopez decided that after he caught the ball, instead of keeping it, he would give it back to Derek Jeter, whom he called an "icon." If he decided to sell the ball at auction, it could have gotten between $250,000 and $300,000.
The Yankees awarded Lopez for his generosity with a boatload of prizes, including luxury box seats for each remaining home game of the Yankees 2011 season (and post-season, if they make it), and some signed Yankees memorabilia.
This is where the IRS comes in. The prizes that the Yankees awarded Lopez are estimated to be worth over $32,000. Just like game-show contestants, Lopez may have to pay taxes on the gifts/prizes because the IRS considers them income. Lopez may have to pay the IRS between $5,000 and $13,000 in taxes. He has said he would pay the IRS if they came knocking at his door, because he would never relinquish the seats he got. He also said the IRS has a job to do, so he won't get in their way. Oddly enough, he is a government major, and would have his family and friends help him pay the taxes.
The IRS just wants to tax anyone who receives something valuable. The seats he got were a gift from the Yankees which he didn't have to pay anything for. Now, he has to pay the government for those seats. The government just wants to make an extra buck off of people like him. Although it is like he won the lottery, these prizes weren't government-issued. The government wants to have control over stuff like this. They should just keep their hands out of people's business and stick to issuing lottery tickets and taxing people who win the lottery.
The government should also keep their hands out of taxing money people receive for winning a game show. That money is well earned for these people who somehow manage to get through a long waiting process, and get onto a game show they like. That money is not income; income is money people get paid by their employers for working for them.
Should we abolish the IRS? Your opinions are welcomed.
(Credit to NBC New York for their interesting piece on Mr. Lopez)