The “greatest buried treasure ever unearthed in the United States” is about to be hit by the tax collector.
According to Kathleen Pender, a columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle, the couple who found in cans buried on their property more than 1,400 rare gold coins worth more than $10 million will probably owe close to half of that sum in federal and state income tax, whether or not they sell the coins.
She quoted a 2013 tax guide in which the IRS stated: “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 in your undisputed possession.”
That means the couple, who found the gold-coin treasure on their own property, may owe tax on the estimated value of the coins by this April 15, Pender quoted Leo Martinez, law professor at UC Hastings College of the Law, as saying in her article. The couple apparently found the coins in February of 2013.
Most of the money will be subject to the top federal tax rate of 39.6%, which starts at $450,000 in joint taxable income, the article said. In California, where the coins were found, the top state rate on joint income over roughly $1 million is 13.3%, and taxpayers generally get a federal deduction for state income tax paid, which reduces their effective federal rate.
That puts the total amount going to state and federal tax at about 47%, the article said.
Um…39.6% + 13.3% = 52.9%. Of course, my simple calculation doesn’t take into account the marginal rates that are actually paid. A portion of the proceeds will be taxed at lower rates, so feel free to assume that the article writer is right and the couple will only get to keep 53%. Getting taxed whether or not they sell the coins is retarded. If they don’t sell the coins, they haven’t received any income or benefit from them. Yet they still ‘owe’ a tax to the Feds.
Why in the hell does the government deserve anything from the discovery of these coins? After all, the government didn’t do anything to earn them, hide them, or find them. The federal tax code is an unfunny joke, and should be scrapped in its entirety. No more income tax, period. No more capital gains taxes either. If Congress was really interested in jump starting the economy, they would do this in a heartbeat.
And a 13.3% state income tax rate? Are you effing kidding me? Why in the hell are people still living in California? Do they enjoy earthquakes, mudslides, smog, and traffic congestion that much?