How Do Taxes on Gold Work?

taxes on gold

You may not know that when you invest in gold, you must pay taxes on any physical gold assets you own. This can be slightly confusing since taxes on gold investments are slightly different than other assets. Taxes may vary depending on certain factors such as your state, city, county, and the amount of gold you’ve purchased and sold.

How Gold is Classified

Gold is classified as a collectible, making it a little bit different than other investments. Gold is classified as a collectible because of its rarity and value. Silver, palladium, and titanium are classified this way as well. This classification does not change depending on what form your metals are in. This means that bullion, bars, and coins are all still considered collectibles by the IRS.

Capital Gain Taxes on Gold Investments

When you sell gold and make a profit, it’s taxed as a capital gain. Capital gains on gold change depending on how long you’ve held your gold. Gains held less than a year are taxed the same as ordinary income. Gains held more than a year are taxed as ordinary income; however, after one year they are maxed out at a 28% tax rate. Since the IRS doesn’t treat gold as a special asset, this means that there are no specific rules when it comes to capital gains taxes. You’ll have to plan accordingly with your tax or financial advisor if you want to minimize your tax bill on the gold you’ve traded.


three large gold bars on many dollar bills

Taxes on Self-Directed IRAs (SDIRAs)

If you’ve used gold as an asset on your self-directed IRA, or SDIRA, you may be wondering how taxes work on that. Since IRAs are not subject to federal taxes, the taxes collected on your SDIRA will be slightly different than your normal taxes. Also, if you withdraw money from your SDIRA early, you’ll be subject to taxes and possibly even withdrawal penalties. When you start an SDIRA, you can choose whether your contributions will be made before or after tax. For example, if you’ve opened a Roth SDIRA, your contributions are made with after-tax dollars and therefore, withdrawn tax-free.

Reporting Requirements

Tax liabilities are not due when the initial sale of metals is made. Instead, metal investments are reported on Form 1040 on your tax return. You may also need to fill out Form 1099-B depending on the type of metal that you are selling because it may be considered income. Examples of items that need to be reported are:

  • $1,000 face value of U.S. 90% silver dimes
  • Quarter or half dollars
  • 25 or more 1oz Gold Maple Leaf, Krugerrand, or Mexican Onza coins
  • Gold or silver bars that are 1kg or 1,000 troy ounces

Tax bills for these sales are due at the time of your regular income tax bill.