Friday, August 10, 2007

Thanks Alot, Barry

So, you're in San Fran en route to Australia with some time to burn, you buy a $13 cheap seat from a scalper, and end up making history in the process. You'd think Matt Murphy, the lucky cat who grabbed Barry Bonds record setting 756th homerun ball would be headed to DisneyLand. Not so fast.

Try a visit to his accountant instead.

As soon as 21-year-old Matt Murphy snagged the valuable piece of sports history Tuesday night, his souvenir became taxable income in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service, according to experts.

"It's an expensive catch," said John Barrie, a tax lawyer with Bryan Cave LLP in New York who grew up watching the Giants play at Candlestick Park. "Once he took possession of the ball and it was his ball, it was income to him based on its value as of yesterday,"

That would instantly put Murphy, a college student from Queens, in the highest tax bracket for individual income, where he would face a tax rate of about 35 percent, or about $210,000 on a $600,000 ball.

Even if he does not sell the ball, Murphy would still owe the taxes based on a reasonable estimate of its value, according to Barrie. Capital gains taxes also could be levied in the future as the ball gains value, he said.

On the other hand, he said, if the ongoing federal investigation into steroid abuse among professional athletes takes a criminal turn for Bonds, the ball's value could go down -- which would likely allow Murphy to claim a loss.
Now ain't that bout a "B"? The guy lucks into grabbing a piece of history (and probably got his ass kicked in the process), then the Gubb'ment sticks him with a tax bill? What part of the game is that?

Worse of all, if Barry Bonds is found guilty of roid'in' up, the ball could be worth zilch, yet dude would still have to pay the IRS for just possessing it. And some experts are saying that the ball that will actually be the most valuable is Barry's final HR ball evar, since the record is in a sense being re-set each time he goes yard from here on out.

Poor Matt Murphy. Thanks to the IRS for stealing the fun out of everything.

Mets fan could face big tax bill on Bonds' home run ball [SportingNews]

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