Is gold investment taxable?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) classifies gold and other precious metals as “collectibles that are taxed at a long-term capital gain rate of 28%. Gains on most other assets held for more than one year are subject to long-term capital gain rates of 15% or 20%. The IRS considers gold to be a collectible item similar to art or antiques and is likewise taxable. Yes, you usually need to report gold transactions to the IRS.

However, tax liabilities for the sale of precious metals such as gold and silver do not expire at the time they are sold. Instead, physical gold or silver sales must be reported on Schedule D of Form 1040 on your next tax return. The IRS taxes capital gains on gold in the same way it does on any other investment asset. But if you have purchased physical gold, you probably owe a higher tax rate of 28% as a collector's item.

Avoid investing in physical metal and you can minimize your capital gains taxes at the ordinary rate of long-term capital gains. And when possible, hold your gold investments for at least a year before selling them to avoid higher income tax rates. Bullion is collectible under the tax code. That means you are not eligible for regular long-term capital gains treatment.

In contrast, bullion earnings held for more than one year are taxed at a maximum tax rate of 28%. Bullion earnings held for one year or less are taxed as ordinary income. For gold ETFs and mutual funds, the LTCG applies when held for more than 3 years. The rate is also the same: 20% plus 4% cessation.

And for investments less than 3 years old, profits are added to your taxable income and taxed according to your IT slab. The annual return on gold before tax of 12% over the past decade falls to less than 10% after tax, but if investment in gold had been classified as a capital asset and had been taxed at a capital gains rate of 15%, the after-tax return would have been almost 11%. Many investors prefer to own physical gold and silver rather than exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that invest in these precious metals. An investment in gold bars in 2004 would have provided an annualized return before tax of more than 12% over the next 10 years.

This includes stocks, bonds, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and collectibles such as gold. The 3.8% net investment income tax can be applied to gold earnings from the brokerage account for taxpayers with higher MAGI than in these examples. Below is a description of how these investments are taxed, as well as their tax reporting requirements, cost base calculations, and ways to offset any tax liabilities arising from the sale of physical gold or silver. Gold futures contracts are an agreement to buy or sell at a specific price, place and time a standard quality and quantity of gold.

Gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) offer an alternative to buying gold bars and are traded like stocks. Profit margins on gold bars are usually lower than on country-specific gold currencies, but both are collectable for tax purposes. Alternatively, you can also invest in products that invest in physical ingots, effectively buying metals on your behalf. There are several ways to invest in gold, but often investors invest directly in what is known as “gold bars”.

The combination of investment gains and losses, risk profile and investment success of an individual taxpayer ultimately determines the results, but a little tax planning can certainly increase the brightness of gold. It is also important to consider the differences in after-tax returns between the types of gold investment held in a brokerage account. This fund buys a series of gold futures contracts that should essentially perform the same as a gold index that the fund is trying to track, although there are anomalies in futures markets that can cause deviations. .

Steve Langehennig
Steve Langehennig

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