Capital Gains Tax on Gold

Gold and other precious metals investments are popular investments; however, these come with certain costs, including storage and insurance fees and capital gains tax on gold that may become an added burden.

The IRS considers physical quantities of gold to be collectibles and taxes them at an exceptional maximum rate of 28% – much higher than any other investment held for over one year.

Cost basis

Gold investments are taxed based on their sales price minus original cost. There are, however, certain nuances in this process that can significantly alter after-tax returns; such as storage fees and other expenses which could reduce profits; additionally an investor may use losses against gains during one tax year to reduce their overall tax liability.

Physical gold investors selling their bullion must first ascertain their net proceeds after deducting transaction costs and dealer commissions, before calculating their capital gain taxed at either 0%, 15%, or 20% depending on which tax bracket applies. They may invest their gold in an ETF to avoid paying capital gains taxes or store it within an IRA for similar tax benefits while potentially qualifying for long-term capital gains (LTCG) treatment.

Short-term capital gains

As an investor in gold, you should be mindful of the IRS rules regarding capital gains taxation. When selling precious metal investments for profit, any gains are subject to short-term or long-term capital gains taxes depending on their initial cost and length of holding period before being sold; in addition, transaction costs associated with buying and selling gold could significantly diminish after-tax returns.

Short-term capital gains on gold are taxed at the same rate as earned income (defined as money received for work performed or products created), while long-term gains are taxed at 15% to 20%.

If you want to minimize your taxes, a financial advisor can provide guidance in finding ways to postpone selling assets. For instance, investing in mutual funds and ETFs that don’t buy physical gold could allow you to avoid paying the higher maximum capital gains tax of 28%.

Long-term capital gains

IRS taxes gains on gold held for more than one year at the regular long-term capital gains rate, unlike earned income which is taxed at your marginal tax bracket rate. There are strategies you can employ to minimize capital gains taxes such as engaging in comprehensive tax planning or forgoing investments in physical gold.

Investment in precious metals mutual funds or ETFs offers several distinct advantages over collecting rare coins, as they rely on futures contracts to track price movements of respective metals – meaning they don’t qualify as collectibles and don’t face an additional tax rate of 28% when realized as long-term capital gains.

Conversely, gains on gold coins and bullion sold for more than their purchase cost are taxed at collector’s maximum rate of 28% – this represents a considerable disparity compared to long-term capital gains tax rates of 15% or 20%.


Gold can be an excellent way to protect your financial assets, but be wary of any possible tax repercussions associated with inheriting gold. As precious metals are considered capital assets and therefore subject to higher maximum collectible capital gains rates than ordinary income taxes, inheriting it may cause unexpected tax complications.

Gold inheritance or gift tax rates are determined based on its original cost and time period of holding by its original owner, in contrast to equity investments or mutual funds which may have different short-term and long-term capital gains rates applied.

Whoever wishes to lower their inheritance taxes can take advantage of several tax-efficient strategies available, including using a trust or will and investing in physical gold bullion instead of stocks and bonds. Before embarking on any such strategies, though, it would be prudent to consult a qualified financial advisor in order to optimize your investments while simultaneously minimizing tax liabilities.

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