Couple Who Discovered Gold Coins Might Owe IRS Big Bucks

Here’s the downside to discovering $10 million in gold coins in your backyard: You may owe the tax man as much as half your haul.

There is “no question” that the Northern California couple who discovered the 1,427 historic coins while walking their dog owes taxes on their find, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

The newspaper quotes an IRS document that says: “If you find and keep property that does not belong to you that has been lost or abandoned (treasure-trove), it is taxable to you at its fair market value in the first year it is your undisputed possession.”

In addition, the newspaper reported, given the sizable haul, the couple will likely be taxed at the top state and federal tax rate. Which means they might owe as much as $5 million by this April 15, since the six treasure-containing tins were found last year.

This could be a problem for the anonymous couple—since the coins have yet to be sold. Tiburon, Calif.–based coin dealer Kagin, which is handling their sale, has said it plans to sell them via Amazon Collectibles and to private collectors.

Meanwhile, many speculate about where the coins may have come from, with Mashable suggesting the coins might have been stolen from the U.S. Mint more than a century ago. According to the site, in 1900, San Francisco Mint chief clerk Walter Dimmick was convicted for stealing some $30,000 in coins, which have never been recovered. 

Then the site added: “Until, perhaps, now.”

JCK News Director