Do You Get Taxed on Buying Gold?

Do You Get Taxed on Buying Gold?

You might think buying gold is a simple, tax-free process, but there's more to it than meets the eye.

The IRS has rules about taxing physical gold that could affect your profits. You won't face immediate taxes when you buy, but selling can trigger capital gains tax. To gain a better knowledge of the possible tax implications of buying, we will discuss the following:

  • Understanding Gold Taxation Basics
  • Reporting Requirements for Gold Sale
  • Determining the Cost Basis
  • Practical Example and Offsetting Options
  • Scrutinizing Capital Gains on Gold
  • Different Types of Gold Investments
  • Gold IRAs
  • Tax Planning for Gold Investors
  • Advantages of a 1031 Exchange

Your investment duration and the form of gold you buy can also affect your tax rate. Navigating gold investment taxation can be complex, but this guide will help.

Bear in mind, tax laws can change, so consulting a tax professional is a smart move.

Understanding Gold Taxation Basics

Understanding Gold Taxation Basics

Understanding the basics of gold taxation can help you navigate the potentially complex financial landscape surrounding your gold investments. When you invest in physical gold, such as coins or bullion, the IRS classifies it as a collectible for tax purposes. This means that when you sell your gold holdings, you're potentially liable for capital gains tax, which can be as high as 28%.

It's also important to know that the length of time you hold your gold investment can impact your tax liabilities. If you sell gold within a year of purchase, any profit is considered a short-term capital gain and is taxed at your regular income tax rate. But if you hold onto your gold for more than a year before selling, any profit is considered a long-term capital gain, and it's taxed at a maximum rate of 28%, regardless of your regular income tax bracket.

When you do sell your gold, you'll need to report the sale on Schedule D of Form 1040. Certain types of gold transactions require the submission of Form 1099-B at the time of sale. However, not all gold sales require this. For example, sales of American Gold Eagle coins don't need a Form 1099-B filing.

Reporting Requirements for Gold Sale

When you sell your gold, you're required to report the transaction to the IRS on certain forms. This regulation applies whether you're selling gold bullion, coins, or jewelry. However, the specific reporting requirements can vary depending on the nature of your gold sale.

The IRS classifies gold as a collectible, and if you've held your gold for over a year before selling, you're subject to long-term capital gains tax. The rate is equal to your marginal tax rate, but it's capped at a maximum of 28%. If you're in a higher tax bracket, you'll still only pay 28% on your gold sale.

Reporting your gold sale involves filling out Schedule D of Form 1040. This form is where you report capital gains and losses. You'll need to indicate the sale price of your gold and your cost basis, which is the original purchase price plus any associated costs.

In certain instances, you'll need to submit Form 1099-B to the IRS. This form is applicable if you're selling specific U.S. coins or a large quantity of gold bars. However, sales of American Gold Eagle coins don't require a 1099-B.

Determining the Cost Basis

In determining your cost basis for gold investments, it's crucial to remember that it's not just the purchase price you initially paid. The cost basis is the original value of an asset for tax purposes, usually the purchase price, adjusted for stock splits, dividends, and return of capital distributions. This value is used to determine the capital gain, which is equal to the difference between the asset's cost basis and the current market value.

Typically, your cost basis in a gold investment is the amount you paid for the gold, including any fees or commissions. It's essential to keep records of these transactions as they'll be necessary when calculating the potential gain or loss upon selling the asset.

Let's say, for instance, you bought an ounce of gold for $1,500. Subsequently, you incurred a $50 fee. That means your cost basis for this investment would be $1,550. If you later sold the gold for $1,600, you'd have a taxable gain of $50.

However, things can get a bit complicated when you receive the gold as a gift or inheritance. In these cases, the cost basis is either the fair market value of the gold at the time of the gift or the fair market value at the date of the deceased's death, respectively.

Practical Example and Offsetting Options

Let's put this into perspective with a practical example, shall we? Imagine you've purchased 10 ounces of gold at $1,500 per ounce. Your total cost basis, the amount you invested, is $15,000. A couple of years later, the price of gold increases and you decide to sell your gold for $1,700 per ounce. This gives you total proceeds of $17,000. Your capital gain, the profit you made, is $2,000.

In this scenario, the IRS would classify your gold as a collectible, and it would be subject to a maximum long-term capital gains tax of 28%. This means you'd owe up to $560 (28% of $2,000) in taxes on your gold sale.

However, you also have some options to offset these capital gains. If you have capital losses from other collectibles, you can use these to reduce your taxable capital gains. For instance, if you sold a piece of artwork at a loss of $500, you'd only be taxed on $1,500 of your gold sale profit ($2,000 minus $500).

Further, if your total capital losses exceed your capital gains for the year, you can carry the loss forward to future years to offset future capital gains. You can also consider gifting or bequeathing your gold, as these transfers may have different tax implications.

It's important to consult with a tax professional when dealing with these matters, as tax laws can be complex and vary depending on your circumstances.

Scrutinizing Capital Gains on Gold

As you delve into the world of gold investments, it's important to understand how capital gains tax can impact your profits. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) classifies gold as a collectible, and when you sell, you'll likely face capital gains taxes.

  1. Short-term vs Long-term Capital Gains: If you sell gold within a year of buying, it's considered a short-term gain, taxed at your ordinary income rate. But if you hold onto your gold for more than a year before selling, it's a long-term gain. The tax rate is 0%, 15%, or 20%, depending on your income. However, for gold, the maximum long-term capital gains tax rate is capped at 28%.
  2. Calculating Capital Gains: You determine capital gains by subtracting the price you paid for the gold (your 'cost basis') from the sale price. If you've made a profit, you owe capital gains tax on that amount.
  3. Reporting Capital Gains: You report capital gains from selling gold on Schedule D of your tax return. If you don't report your gains, you could face penalties.
Different Types of Gold Investments

Different Types of Gold Investments

When you're considering gold investments, you should know that they aren't all created equal. There are several types, each with its distinct features and tax implications.

Physical gold, like coins and bars, is the most traditional form of investment. However, this type of investment is considered a collectible by the IRS and can be taxed up to a maximum rate of 28%. Gold jewelry and artifacts also fall under this category.

Gold Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) allow you to invest in gold without physically owning it. These funds are designed to track the price of gold, offering a more liquid and convenient way to invest. Tax treatments for these kinds of investments follow standard capital gains rates.

Gold mining stocks are another option. When you buy shares in a gold mining company, you're betting on the company's ability to produce and sell gold profitably. These stocks are subject to the regular capital gains tax rates.

Then, there are gold futures and options, financial contracts that allow you to buy or sell gold at a set price in the future. These are treated as 60% long-term and 40% short-term capital gains, irrespective of the holding period.

Lastly, gold certificates represent ownership in gold bullion and are treated similarly to physical gold for tax purposes.

Gold IRAs

There are also many tax advantages to investing a gold IRA. To start, if you are considering investing in gold and precious metals, you are already gaining a tremendous tax advantage by protecting your wealth from the relentless, invisible tax called, inflation.  This is an instant win right out of the gate.

Self-directed gold IRAs are a means of owning gold either through a current account rollover or the establishment of a new account. However, there are specific gold IRA tax rules that are easily understood. Finding the right gold IRA company is the main key

Depending on whether you are a high-net investor looking to take advantage of the best prices or require a lower investment minimum and affordable entry to the gold market, we have researched and reviewed our top 4 gold IRA and precious metal investment companies that meet those individual needs. Whether you prefer a gold IRA or owning the physical gold in your place of residence, we have done the due diligence.

Tap the banner below to visit Noble Gold to receive their gold IRA guide:

Tax Planning for Gold Investors

To minimize the tax hit on your gold investments, you'll need to strategize and plan ahead. A key component of your strategy should be understanding how gold is taxed. The IRS treats gold as a collectible, subject to a maximum capital gains tax rate of 28% if held for more than a year. If you sell your gold within a year, it's taxed as ordinary income, which can be as high as 37% depending on your income bracket.

You can minimize your tax liability by considering the timing of your sale. Holding your gold for at least a year before selling can qualify your gains for the long-term capital gains tax, which is lower than the short-term capital gains tax. Conversely, if you anticipate being in a lower tax bracket shortly, you might consider holding off on selling your gold until then.

Another tax-saving strategy involves reinvesting your gold profits through a 1031 exchange. This IRS provision allows you to defer paying capital gains tax if you reinvest the proceeds from your gold sale into a similar kind of investment within 45 days. However, you need to use a qualified intermediary to hold the proceeds from your sale to avoid immediate taxation.

Tax Planning for Gold Investors

Advantages of a 1031 Exchange

In the world of gold investment, utilizing a 1031 exchange can offer significant tax advantages. Named after Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code, this provision allows you to defer capital gains taxes when you sell your investment property and reinvest the proceeds in a like-kind property.

Now, what does this mean for you as a gold investor? Primarily, it offers the potential to grow your investment without the immediate tax burden. This is particularly beneficial if you're looking to upgrade or diversify your gold investment.

Here are three key advantages to consider:

  1. Deferred Taxes: You can postpone paying capital gains taxes until you decide to sell your investment without a subsequent exchange. This can potentially save you a significant amount in taxes.
  2. Investment Growth: By reinvesting your proceeds, you free up more capital for investment growth. Over time, this can lead to a larger investment portfolio.
  3. Flexibility: The 1031 exchange isn't restricted to properties. It can be applied to a wide range of investments, including gold. This provides you with more options to diversify your portfolio.

However, navigating a 1031 exchange can be complex. There are specific rules and timelines to follow, and not all gold investments qualify. It's recommended to work with a tax advisor or an experienced intermediary to ensure you're correctly executing a 1031 exchange.


Understanding gold taxation can be complex, but it's crucial to your investment strategy.

Remember, selling gold triggers capital gains tax, and the tax rate depends on your investment duration and form.

Always determine your cost basis and consider offsetting options.

Obtain a gold IRA guide and talk to a broker

If you have 100k in savings to protect, attend a gold investment educational webinar hosted by Augusta Precious Metals. Tap the button below:


Who holds the gold in a gold IRA?

Gold, and other such precious metals are to be stored and insured in an IRS-approved facility. Typically, a third-party company partnered with the Gold IRA company manages the IRS-approved depository

Before selecting a Gold IRA company, review the information about the storage facility options provided.

What is the minimum investment for a gold IRA?

Minimum investments will vary dependent on the gold IRA company you choose. It is incumbent that you take the requisite time to research the various providers for your specific precious metal investment strategy.

We have provided a list of reviews here of the top precious metal ira companies with a range of minimum investment amounts.


What are the fees for a gold IRA?

Minimum fees will also vary dependent on the gold IRA company you choose. Setup fees, annual fees, storage fees, and custodian fees are all subject to the discretion of the gold IRA company you choose.

Please see the list here of the best precious metals investment companies for buying gold in order to review the fees that apply.

What Precious Metals Are IRA approved?

Precious Metal IRAs can invest in IRS-eligible gold, silver, palladium, and platinum bullion and coins. The IRS maintains very specific regulations and requirements about the design, size, weight, and metal purity that determine which gold bars and coins can be held in a gold IRA or precious metals IRA.

Investment grade gold coins and bars are required to be at least 99.5% pure, and silver coins and bars must be at least 99.9% pure.


Adam ONeill

Author, lifelong investor, and creator of

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