Tuesday, July 12, 2011
As I previously blogged, a Yankees fan recently caught and returned the baseball he caught while attending a New York Yankee's baseball game. The ball, estimated at $250,000, was Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit.
The situation mirrors that contemplated by the IRS during a statement it made in 1998 regarding the tax consequences of catching and returning a record breaking baseball. The IRS decided to set the record straight in response to press speculation on whether lucky fans who caught history making baseballs, (e.g., one hit by Chicago’s Sammy Sosa or the 62nd home run ball hit by McGwire) would have to pay gift taxes on the highly valuable sports memorabilia. The IRS stated that baseball fans would not be struck by gift tax laws for catching and immediately returning a historic and valuable baseball.
See Bill Dedman, Baseball; Fan Snaring No. 62 Faces Big Tax Bite, The New York Times, Sept. 7, 1998; Lucky baseball fan won’t git hit with gift tax law, CBS, Sept. 9, 1998.