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All Posts Tagged With: "Coins and the Law"

Wikileaks Reveals State Dept Deal with Spain In Black Swan Treasure Lawsuit

For years, Odyssey Marine has been in litigation with the Spanish government over a 17 tons of gold and silver coins that Odyssey discovered from “The Black Swan”.

The 19th-century shipwreck at the heart of the dispute with Odyssey Marine Exploration is the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes — a Spanish warship sunk by the British navy southwest of Portugal in 1804 with more than 200 people on board.

The Legal Proceedings:

Odyssey announced in May 2007 it had discovered the wreck in the Atlantic and raised 500,000 silver coins and other artifacts worth an estimated US$500 million (€324 million). The coins and artifacts were brought into the United States with a valid export license and imported legally pursuant to U.S. law. Odyssey brought the artifacts under the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court by filing an Admiralty arrest action. This procedure allows any legitimate claimant with an interest in the property to make a claim.

Spain went to the U.S. federal court claiming ownership of the treasure and the case is currently set for Oral Arguments tentatively scheduled to take place during the week of February 28, 2011 at the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Additional appeals have been filed by groups who have presented documentation indicating that if Spain is correct, and the recovered cargo originated from the Mercedes, they are descendants of the owners of Mercedes’ cargo and have legitimate property rights. Those claimants have recognized Odyssey’s archaeological recovery efforts and have acknowledged Odyssey’s right to a salvage award. (more…)

ANA Urges Members to Contact Congress to Repeal New 1099 Requirements

The American Numismatic Association urges its members to contact their members of Congress and ask to repeal a law that could significantly increase the paperwork burden on dealers and increase the risk of identity theft for all collectors who buy and sell numismatic material.

Under Section 9006 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as health care reform legislation, businesses will be required to report all goods and services purchased in excess of $600 with an IRS 1099 form. As written, the law would, beginning in 2012, require all coin dealers to report on IRS form 1099 all goods and services (totaled across a taxable year) they purchase from other dealers and customers in excess of $600.

While the legislation applies to all types of businesses, an unusual burden would be placed on numismatic dealers who, unlike most businesses, buy goods and services from each other and their retail clients. In addition, dealers will be required to gather personal information on all clients who sell them goods or services in excess of $600, including name, address and social security number.

“All dealers will be disproportionately and unfairly impacted by this legislation,” said ANA Executive Director Larry Shepherd. “As a former dealer, I can see how a small-to-medium-sized dealer could easily be required to submit 1,000 or more 1099s in a typical year, at very significant cost. In addition, all collectors would be forced to give out personal information that could increase the possibility of identity theft. This section of the healthcare reform bill is a nightmare for everyone in this hobby. We need to make sure that our voices are heard.”

Shepherd cautioned that the numismatic community should understand that this is not a new tax, but rather a method by which the IRS can collect more information in hopes that more taxpayers will report taxable income. The assumption is that the new regulation would generate about $17 billion over 10 years, increasing tax revenue to cover some of the costs of health care reform.

Already, Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) has introduced HR 5141 to repeal this part of the health care reform act, and Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate, S. 3578. Both bills are titled “The Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act,” and will likely need more co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and Senate.

“The ANA urges everyone who loves this hobby to contact your representatives and urge them to sign on to HR 5141 and to contact both your senators and urge them to sign on to S. 3578,” Shepherd said.

The ANA has posted sample letters from dealers or collectors below and on its website at www.money.org.

For contact information on your members of Congress, go to www.house.gov or www.senate.gov. Anyone without a computer should contact the local office of your representative or senator, or call the U.S. Capitol at 202-224-3121. (more…)