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Thread: What are the federal laws in USA regarding finding a buried coin cache?

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  1. #1

    May 2017
    1 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    What are the federal laws in USA regarding finding a buried coin cache?

    I will not hold anyone liable for anything if their answer isn't in complete alignment with the current federal laws and regulations, I just want some perspective.

    Say I get permission to dig on someone's property and I find a buried cache. Say I signed a written agreement with the landowner prior to finding the treasure detailing that we both get 50/50. What must I do then with the treasure? Am i to contact the I.R.S.? What else should I do to declare my finding? How much are they going to take? Say I find $1,000,000 in gold coins, and I split it with the landowner 50/50, So I get $500,000, how much should I expect big brother to be taking away? Say this finding is not in California, so exclude that state and their laws from your answer.

    Thank you in advance for any answers you may have for me!
    Honest Samuel likes this.

  2. #2

    Sep 2015
    2846 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Best advice, contact a great tax lawyer. Good hunting and good luck.

  3. #3
    Jun 2015
    Boone, NC
    Garrett Ace 250, Garrett ProPointer
    390 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    You owe nothing until you decide to sell.

  4. #4
    Charter Member
    Dec 2007
    Whites Goldmaster GMT, GMII,Whites Sierra Super Trac, Ace250, Teknetics Gamma 6000, Whites Pinpointer,Garrett Pro Pointer II
    883 times
    Metal Detecting
    Until you convert the treasure into US dollars, I think you are clear of liability. Or if you trade it for something of value.
    Honest Samuel and PirateLabs like this.

  5. #5
    Charter Member
    Dec 2007
    Whites Goldmaster GMT, GMII,Whites Sierra Super Trac, Ace250, Teknetics Gamma 6000, Whites Pinpointer,Garrett Pro Pointer II
    883 times
    Metal Detecting
    And capital gains tax is 28%. So about one third goes to Uncle Sam.

  6. #6
    Jul 2013
    OC, Calif
    Whites Surf PI & Whites DFX
    632 times
    Beach and Shallow Water Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    OR do the 'right' thing and keep your mouth shut and if you decide to sell, do it a little at a time. Do NOT call the news station to brag about your finds.
    As far as the Govt knows, this has been in your family for generations. Why give them 28% ?

  7. #7
    Feb 2010
    926 times
    Didn't the IRS force the people that found the bucket of gold coins in CA. to sell them? Put a value on the coins and forced them to pay the tax anyway. If I ever find a cache it'll be one coin at a time. Good luck.

  8. #8
    Jan 2010
    DFW Texas
    Minelab E-TRAC, Garrett ProPointer, Lesche Digger
    2339 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Loose lips sink ships.

  9. #9
    Charter Member
    Nov 2012
    XP Deus, Tesoro Cibola
    15608 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (6)
    You just get a lawyer in your state to give you good legal advice. And pay him for it. Of course the chance of finding a million worth of anything these days is like having a bus sized meteor land safely in your front lawn....today.

  10. #10
    Mar 2014
    Traveling US to work
    Current Whites DFX Past Garret GTI 2500 and others Prospecting Minelab GPZ 7000 Past SD 2100 GP 3000 (retired)
    1567 times
    Metal Detecting
    If you really have to talk to someone about a million dollar find talk to a tax attorney first. Large finds may be considered treasure troves and state/federal rules for your area would need to be known. Federal will want their cut of what they think its worth automatically as the find will be considered income even if you have not sold anything. A good example of this came to light a few years ago when a fan caught a baseball that had set a record for a player. Its worth, according to the IRS, was a million dollars and the fan was immediately contacted for the capital tax on the ball. Needless to say it was sold shortly after to settle the bill.
    As far as your written contract with the property owner it will stand that you must honor it and taxes would be shared accordingly.
    eyemustdigtreasure likes this.
    Everyone Believes they have gold buried in the back yard... small wonder so few ever look for it.

  11. #11
    We Build, We Fight!

    Aug 2007
    Santa Cruz, CA.
    ML Sov GT; Whites MXT & Surf PI Pro
    772 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Is this a hypothetical situation or is there more to your first post here?!?
    SeabeeRon Santa Cruz,CA.

  12. #12
    Director-Search & Recovery Team of Oakland County.

    Aug 2005
    In Michigan now.
    Excal 1000, Excal II, Sovereign GT, CZ-20, Tiger Shark, Tejon, GTI 1500, Surfmaster Pulse, CZ6a, DFX, AT PRO, Fisher 1235, Surf PI Pro, 1280-X, many more because I enjoy learning them. New Garrett Ca
    3965 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Till someone see's you with the loot, why do you feel you gotta tell Uncle Sam anything? KEEP YOUR PIE HOLE SHUT. Geez, some guys.
    (C) Sandman, 2005. All Rights Reserved.

  13. #13

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
    9015 times
    Banner Finds (4)
    Great topic. Enjoyed reading the answers thus far.

    Per the answers that have a variation on "ask a tax lawyer": As a business owner: I can tell you for A FACT that you will often-time be given the "safe" or "book" answer to your "pressing question" . That's not to say it's not a GREAT (or real or true or whatever) answer. But is it the realistic answer ? It's like asking someone "can I spit on sidewalks?" What answer do you want to hear ?

    If your question is about tax obligation, and a few of the answers thus far: A common misconception is that you only pay taxes at time of sale. Or only have income based on face value (ie.: a $10 gold piece is $10 , despite being worth $10k numismatically). If you care to read and weep: read up on the folks that found the cache in CA (while walking their dog, just eyeballed). Evidentally they were supposed to pay taxes on the value EVEN IF NOT SOLD YET, in the year they found it.

    And I know you said to disclude CA as the state. But if you wanted to rattle enough chains of bored tax lawyers in other states, you might end up with the same "safe" answer to your "pressing" question.

    As for seabee-Ron's input: yes: do shed more light. Did you find something ?
    Last edited by Tom_in_CA; May 18, 2017 at 03:16 PM.
    sprailroad, dsdigger, T.C. and 1 others like this.
    Metal detecting is my one worldy vice!

  14. #14

    Sep 2015
    2846 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I am outrage over # 6, & # 7. Do not cheat IRS and therefore the good people of our country.

  15. #15
    Feb 2005
    MI USA
    Deus XP, AT Pro, Racer 2, Ace 400
    2281 times
    Metal Detecting
    I would not be seeking legal advice on a random forum.

    Me, I would honor any agreement I made as far as 50/50, and no one else but the other 50 and me would have a need to know.


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