The IRS Wants Its Cut Of Shipwrecked Whiskey

When most people think of shipwrecks, they generally imagine chests of gold and jewels lost for centuries. But it turns out that whiskey, if properly preserved, can also be a sunken treasure.

Two years ago, a single bottle of scotch, salvaged from the SS Politician off the Coast of Scotland, was auctioned for the unheard of price of over $15K US.

Now 280 barrels of whiskey are going to be salvaged from The Westmoreland, which sank in Lake Michigan back in 1854. If the whiskey has been preserved, it’s estimated to fetch $871M at auction.

And guess who’s already in line for their cut. That’s right. You guessed it. The Infernal Revenue Service.

Please understand that anything you find is subject to income tax. Whether you sell it or not, there is a financial gain from any found items which are subject to tax.

There are only two instances where you could find something and not have a taxable event. First would be if it’s worthless. Second would be if it was already your property and you found something that was lost.

Other than that, have a fair market appraisal done, get out your checkbook, and pour a glass of whiskey.

Let me leave you with this.

We get a lot of questions about social security. The problem is that there’s no easy way to answer them.

The first thing you should do is set up an account. It’s easy. Go to the following web address, and answer the questions. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

This will tell you exactly what your benefit will be at the various retirement ages. It will also show your employment history.

Take a solid look at your history. I’m sure it’s hard to believe, but the Social Security Administration does make mistakes. When I looked at my earnings history, they completely missed my W-2 from 2008.

The website has a way to correct errors by submitting information. Any mistakes you can correct will only add to your monthly benefit. Hopefully mine will get fixed.

Your social security benefit is based on the 35 years of your earnings career where you pay in the most. The current difference between the maximum benefit and the minimum is almost $4K per month. The maximum payroll where social security is collected rose to $160K this year.

To explain the difficulties with social security, let’s take the example of a person who pays in nothing for 35 years vs. someone who pays in at the max. A Self-Employed Individual will pay an additional $19,840 in social security taxes this year with the limit increasing annually. If they pay in the max every year for the next 35 years, they’ll receive an additional $48K annually.

If, on the other hand, they had saved that $19,840 annually for 35 years at 5% interest, they would have $1.791M saved for their retirement. At 5% interest, this would provide them with an annual retirement in excess of $89K.

That’s almost twice what they would get from Social Security.

Also, when they passed away, they would be able to give that almost $1.8M to their loved ones. If you rely on Social Security, once you pass on, the checks stop coming.

The problem is that most people don’t save that money every year. If you’re not going to save it, many times it would be better if you’d just paid the extra social security in the first place.

Go ahead and set up your account. Figure out what your monthly benefit will be. Save your money. Plan your retirement. If you have questions, please let me know.

We’re all going to get through this. Let’s get through it together.

Accounting Solutions Ltd. stands ready to complete our mission and purpose of protecting you, your family, and your business. Whether you need Employee Retention Credits, M&A Due Diligence, Payroll Services, or Accounting and Tax Work, you have but to ask. I’m here and I remain,

Sincerely yours,

Chris Amundson
Accounting Solutions Ltd.

Note that the only professional services provided by Accounting Solutions Ltd. are those specified in a written communication from our office detailing the scope of services to be rendered and the terms and conditions applicable to the engagement.