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Will Baseball Fan Have to Pay Up for Returning Jeter's 3,000th Hit Ball?

Jeffrey Hamilton/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When Christian Lopez returned the home run ball that represented Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit last Saturday, the New York Yankees showered Lopez with tickets and autographed memorabilia as a sign of the team's appreciation.

But come Tax Day 2012, the 23-year-old baseball fan may see those gifts as a burden if he gets stuck with a bill from the Internal Revenue Service.

Tax experts told The New York Times that Lopez would have to declare as income everything the Yankees gave him for the historic ball.  This includes free tickets for the remainder of the 2011 regular season, as well as for any postseason games; and three bats, three baseballs and two jerseys all autographed by Jeter.

The tickets alone are estimated to be worth between $44,800 and $73,600, according to the Yankees' website.

If the gifts were valued at just $50,000, Lopez would be forced to pay about $14,000 in taxes, a tax expert told the newspaper.

The IRS declined to speculate whether Uncle Sam would come after the baseball fan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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