Taxes to Eat Half of Couple's $10M Gold Find

Calif. find will be taxed at the highest rate

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 28, 2014 1:42 AM CST

(Newser) – The $10 million stash of gold coins a couple in California found while walking their dog is a big bonanza for Uncle Sam, tax experts say. Most of the money they make from selling the coins will be taxed at the highest level, meaning state and federal taxes will eat up almost half of what the coins the couple discovered on their property are worth, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

The couple could try to argue that the find should be taxed as a capital gain, but it would be a tough case to win, and legal proceedings would make their names public, potentially bringing a flood of treasure-hunters to their property, an accountant says. "They are going to pay the ordinary income tax and be happy with it," he predicts. Treasure troves have long been considered taxable income, including in a famous 1964 case where a couple who found $5,000 in a used piano they bought for $15 came to the attention of the IRS, Forbes notes.

Some of 1,427 Gold-Rush era US gold coins are displayed at Professional Coin Grading Service in Santa Ana, Calif.
Some of 1,427 Gold-Rush era US gold coins are displayed at Professional Coin Grading Service in Santa Ana, Calif.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
This image provided by the Saddle Ridge Hoard discoverers via Kagin's, Inc., shows one of the six decaying metal canisters filled with 1800s-era US gold coins unearthed in California.
This image provided by the Saddle Ridge Hoard discoverers via Kagin's, Inc., shows one of the six decaying metal canisters filled with 1800s-era US gold coins unearthed in California.   (AP Photo/Saddle Ridge Hoard discoverers via Kagin's, Inc.)
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