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Miller High Life offers to pay Christian Lopez’s tax bill

Jul 13, 2011, 11:39 AM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Getty Images

We passed along word yesterday that Christian “I caught Jeter’s 3000th” Lopez will probably have to pay a five-figure tax bill on all of the merch the Yankees gave him in exchange for the home run ball.  But don’t worry, Christian! Darren Rovell of CNBC reports that help is on the way!

Miller High Life, which recently had a campaign to make its beer the official beer of fans, has offered to cover the bill—which could be more than $10,000—for Lopez, who said he has about $100,000 in student loan debt as well.

Now listen to me closely, Christian: take the cash if it’s being offered. Do not settle for $10K worth of the Champagne of Beers. For two reasons, really. One because, like, it’s Miller High Life. But two, because you’d then have to pay tax on the beer.  Although, he may have to pay tax on the cash too. Though eventually, with people paying each subsequent tax bill, I suppose he could pare it down significantly.  It’s probably worth noting right now that I got my lowest law school grade in tax class.

Maybe he can just avoid taxes altogether, however. My friend Ethan had a great idea in that regard.  From his email to me yesterday in which we talked about the tax implications:

If he had a really ballsy tax lawyer, he could argue that the purchase of his seat for that specific place and date was a shrewd investment of $99.95, which resulted in the capital gain of XXX when it could have been a dead loss, meaning that he should be taxed at cap gains rates, not normal income, approximately halving his tax bill.

Tax-hawks: would this fly?  I’d try it!

  1. foreverchipper10 - Jul 13, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    Ah High Life. Glad to hear someone stepping up to do this for the guy. I hope they do another Super Bowl ad that is 1 second of that guy just saying “High Life”….I loved that.

  2. The Common Man - Jul 13, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    Although, if I remember correctly, his girlfriend bought the tickets as a birthday present, meaning that the underlying investment was a gift as well. Not sure how that would affect our boy’s bill, but it’s worth noting that the investment wasn’t his to begin with.

  3. halladaysbiceps - Jul 13, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    Actually, I’m suprised that a company like Subway didn’t hire this guy, ala Jared, have him made their new spokesman after a year of eating Subway and shedding the pounds. He would have been a perfect candidate.

    • Vincent - Jul 13, 2011 at 12:36 PM

      Irrelavent and mean.

      • halladaysbiceps - Jul 13, 2011 at 12:48 PM

        Vince, why is that mean? Clearly, Mr. Lopez can stand to lose some weight, just like Jared did when he teamed up with Subway. My statement was part business opportunity for Subway/part joke.

        I certainly don’t think my comment was mean.

      • trevorb06 - Jul 13, 2011 at 1:21 PM

        I’m actually on cepts side here. There is a different between cold humor and light humor. Joking about somebody being chubby is lighter humor. Same with joking that Craig is bald and has no place on the same screen as tiffany. :-)

      • bigdicktater - Jul 13, 2011 at 8:39 PM

        trevor, that’s a capital “T” for Tiffany. Don’t make that mistake again unless you’re a black, black belt in internet karate.
        However, you are correct about Craig being unworthy of sharing the screen with her.

  4. aaronmoreno - Jul 13, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    As for that tax argument, would it work for a lottery ticket, since they seem like the same thing.

  5. phukyouk - Jul 13, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    High Life?

    Mastercard should sponser this first

    “tickets to a Yankees Home Game – $100”
    “Beer, hotdog and Popcorn – $45”
    “catching Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit – $50,000”
    “paying Luxury tax on the Gifts instead of being able to pay off your loans – PRICELESS”

  6. minnesconsin - Jul 13, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    craig, easy on the high life barb! i prefer my beer hoppy as hell (brookyln brewery’s east india pale ale is the current swill of choice), but when i’m reduced to buying watery/domestic, high life is the only such beer with any taste at all.

    • pbannard - Jul 13, 2011 at 1:26 PM

      Ah, but having taste is by no means the same thing as tasting good. In the exceptionally rare circumstances (my beer pong days are far behind me) that I drink such swill, I would rather it be as tasteless as possible.

    • fquaye149 - Jul 13, 2011 at 3:36 PM

      Was that a Pavement reference?

  7. deathmonkey41 - Jul 13, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    Miller High Life is awful, but I’d let them pay my tax bills if they were willing.

  8. mikeyct - Jul 13, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    Some of the early reports I heard was that he tried to give the ball back for nothing and the Yankees gave him this merchandise anyways as a gift. IF this is the case, that the Yankees were so amazed by his generosity that they gave him the tickets and gear as a gift, then the DONOR pays taxes on the gift, meaning the Yankees. And CL will get off free of charge.,,id=108139,00.html

  9. trevorb06 - Jul 13, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    Craig, I’m no tax except. Tax classes weren’t my forte in accounting but if I’m not mistaken that COULD work as gift/investment isn’t very specific in its definition. Therefore he could make the arguement that the ticket was an investment and really hope he doesn’t get audited and if he gets audited that he has a lax auditor. It’d be worth a try.

  10. Jonny 5 - Jul 13, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    If he has to drink Miller high life for more than a month it’s definitely not worth it.

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 13, 2011 at 12:45 PM

      Jonny, I think he has constitutional protections against that sort of thing.

      • Jonny 5 - Jul 13, 2011 at 1:14 PM

        let’s hope, for his sake.

      • trevorb06 - Jul 13, 2011 at 1:22 PM

        At least it wasn’t PBR doing this under condition that he only drinks PBR.

  11. buckybadger - Jul 13, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    Jeter should have given this guy a one time gift [which would not be taxable] of 100K or 200K. Jeter gets his ball and for what he makes it would be no hit to his pocket book. Sure he can’t use it as a tax right off but if Jeter is going be this classy guy it would have been a small gesture. For make it right off and Lopez has to pay the taxes but this guy will end more in debt for being the good guy. Nice guys finish last.

  12. genericcommenter - Jul 13, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    My first thought was: Wouldn’t the 10 grand also be taxable? But then I thought some more: Can’t individuals make non-taxable gifts of up to $13,000 per person from each person per tax year? and then the gift taxes, if applicable as supposed to fall on the person making the gift, AFAIK.

    For example, if I wanted to give this guy money, I believe my wife and I ( as 2 individuals) could gift him 26 grand with no tax consequences for anyone. I don’t know how it works for companies giving stuff, though. I’m sure Miller has enough tax/legal brainpower at its disposal.

    • buckybadger - Jul 13, 2011 at 3:56 PM

      You are correct about the per year thing. You are also allowed to give a one time gift to someone up to 1million without it being taxable as long as that money had been taxed. Which is why I saying that Jeter could have given him a one time gift [its not like he is going to ever talk to this guy again] and it would have been over with.

      There might be some laws against a company or corporation giving an individual these gifts but than again there was that law that just passed to treat corporations as individuals. Don’t know all the details there.

  13. Chipmaker - Jul 13, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    If the Miller check was to be presented by the bald delivery guy character with the “Miller High Life is de blue collar beer what all is too good for all y’all white collar types” attitude, I’d be tempted to turn it down. I loathe that ad campaign. (The actor might be a cool guy, but the character, yecch.)

    (I’d take the money, sure, but first I’d be tempted to decline.)

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