Being Punished for Good Intentions

There are times when good intentions go awry and somebody is harmed or their property is damaged. In such cases I understand that the person doing the harm should have to pay reparations to the person they harmed but I see no reason why a person with good intentions that harmed nobody should be punished. Sadly the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) doesn’t see it that way and are looking to nail a man who was basically being nice:

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.

Mr. Lopez seems like a nice guy. He caught a baseball that is likely worth a lot of money to collectors and returned it to the team while asking for no payment in return. The team, being good hearted people whose livelihood is based on having happy fans, decided to reward Mr. Lopez for his nice act by giving him a lot of free stuff. Well the IRS sees all that free stuff as taxable income and are chomping at the bit to rend money from Mr. Lopez in the form of income tax:

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.

Assholes. I also dislike how the author of this article refers to the stuff given to Mr. Lopez as loot. Loot implies that the goods were ill gotten. What the IRS are trying to get is loot as they’re trying to use force to steal money from Mr. Lopez. What Mr. Lopez received were goods given voluntarily by the team for an act that he did charitably.

This could end up in a court battle as items rules as gifts are non-taxable and what the team gave Mr. Lopez could be considered nothing but a gift (as he demanded no payment for returning the ball I don’t see how the team giving Mr. Lopez something could be anything else but a gift). Of course it will cost Mr. Lopez money to pay or fight the taxes so his only available option may to be refuse the gifts given to him. Isn’t it great when the government swoops in to punish those who do an act of charity? As they say, no good deed goes unpunished.

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