Thursday, July 26, 2007

Barry Bonds and the Taxable Home Run Ball

Great question posed at the WSJ's Law Blog: what are the tax consequences to the (un)lucky fan who catches Barry Bonds' record-breaking home run? The comments are a must-read.

My take? Either MLB or the team at whose park the home run is hit owns the ball (I don't believe the ownership issue was ever settled in the Red Sox/Doug Mientkiewicz dispute). By allowing fans to keep balls that leave the field of play, they are gifting those balls to the fans. Therefore, that entity pays gift tax, and the fan pays nothing. I'm not a tax attorney, so that's pure common sense and a touch of what's left of my memory of tax law classes.



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