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HMRC internal manual

Capital Gains Manual

Gains: disposal of found objects: not treasure: agreement between landowner/finder

CG77603 contains an example of a form of agreement prepared by a metal detecting club to be used by the owner of a metal detector who wishes to search for objects and a landowner on whose land he or she wishes to search.

This is a contract which transfers a percentage interest in anything which is found, and which would otherwise belong to the landowner, to the finder. The date of disposal of that interest is the date of the contract, TCGA92/S28 (1), see CG14250+.

The consideration given by the finder is expressed in the agreement as `undertaking to devote his time and equipment in a search of the premises’. So the interest in the object has been disposed of in consideration for services to be rendered by the finder. TCGA92/S17 (1)(b) applies and the percentage share in the object is deemed to be transferred to the finder at the market value of that share at the date of the agreement.

Thus there may be two disposals by the landowner. The first, under the agreement, is a disposal of a percentage share in the object. The second, when the object is sold, is of the remaining percentage share. The finder will make a disposal of the part share to which they are entitled under the agreement when the object is sold. An example to illustrate this is at CG77640.

Other forms of agreement may be entered into between a landowner and a person wishing to search for objects on their land. In particular instances the legal effect of the agreement may not be free from doubt. You should seek to follow the guidance at CG77520.