Capital Gains and Losses
Questions and comments about tax rules for buying and selling stocks, mutual funds, real estate and other assets.
Is this income?
Posted by: Les Grans, August 20, 2016 01:37PM
I found a hundred-dollar bill on the sidewalk yesterday. Is this taxable income?

Re: Is this income?
Posted by: Adner, August 21, 2016 07:55AM
I think any Testogen [] found money is taxable.

Re: Is this income?
Posted by: triad, August 22, 2016 04:37PM
Absolutely. Common quiz question in beginner tax classes.

It's listed as "treasure trove" in IRS publication 525.

Found property. 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.

Re: Is this income?
Posted by: Sven, August 22, 2016 06:37PM
So after finding a lost Eurasian Pallas's cat (being very rare they can cost up to $2,500) you dutifully post pics of kitty on telephone poles all over the area. Alas, nobody calls. The cat is now yours, and you absolutely, positively will not be able to part with the dear, sweet thing. Please Google "Pallas's cat" or "manul" should you doubt me.

And don't forget to report the $2,500 the cat's worth to the IRS on your tax return.

Finders may eventually turn out to be keepers, in the legal sense of the word, but quite often finders don't "own" what they found until time passes.

Re: Is this income?
Posted by: caesark, August 23, 2016 02:02PM
Since the hundred dollar bill belongs to someone else who lost it, you must deliver it to the State Treasurer where it will be classifed as "lost and found". After 7 years of being unclaimed, it will be released to the State Treasury coffers.

Re: Is this income?
Posted by: Les Grans, August 23, 2016 07:10PM
Are you sayin' I don't get to keep the C-note?

But if I do keep it, it's taxable income?

Re: Is this income?
Posted by: Benn, February 4, 2017 09:10PM
It depends on your state laws regarding found property. For example, in New York state a person who finds lost property of the value of $20 or more, not knowing the owner, must deposit it at a police station within ten days of finding it. After a lengthy process and depending on the type of property, the finder has the right to receive it in the absence of a valid owner. (N.Y. Pers. Prop. Law, Sec. 252, et seq.) At that point it becomes income to the finder.

Re: Is this income?
Posted by: Drewremedy, February 5, 2017 01:24PM
Not entirely's income in the year possession becomes undisputed ....and for some "found" items the issue of ownership could drag out for decades .....I doubt it for $100 bill.....but perhaps for a "found " art treasure ....

Re: Is this income?
Posted by: Benn, February 5, 2017 05:16PM
To explain further, when an article is turned in to the police in NY state, it will be returned it to the finder only at the conclusion of a "lengthy process" as described by the referenced statute, and only if the true original owner cannot be determined. When, and if, the found property is returned to the finder, the finder's possession becomes undisputed, and it becomes taxable at that point.

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