Sales Tax on Gold and Silver in California

Assessing sales tax on gold and silver is an unfair practice that penalises savers for adhering to prudent, diversified investment strategies. A growing number of states are now rolling back these outdated taxes.

Most buyers of precious metals purchase in incremental amounts over many years as part of a long-term savings plan, making an intelligent and cost-effective way to hedge against inflation.

What is the tax on gold and silver?

American tax law classifies precious metals as capital assets, subjecting investors to income taxes if they sell at a profit. Taxable gains are calculated by subtracting an investor’s cost basis from sale price, so while physical gold and silver investors may feel taxed for appreciation of holdings, there are ways they may reduce or avoid this burden by selling at losses, investing through 401(k) plans or offsetting gains with capital losses.

APMEX is proud to be one of the few retailers nationwide who offers no sales tax on bullion products purchased and shipped directly to California customers, such as bars, rounds and numismatic coins. However, processing items into coins, jewelry or other products valued above their Precious Metal content still incur a local sales tax that varies by region; many states still do not recognize gold and silver as money though legislation to this effect has gained momentum in places like Utah and Oklahoma.

Are there any exemptions?

Purchase of precious metals can serve more than one purpose; it’s often an invaluable way of safeguarding against unexpected financial challenges. But when states levy sales taxes on such purchases, this acts to punish financially prudent individuals who seek diversification with hard currency investments.

State governments do not levy sales taxes on most traditional paper investments, so why should they tax gold and silver investments? State legislators in Alabama and Virginia have recognized this truth and introduced bills to exempt bullion from sales taxes.

California remains one of the few states which still collects sales tax on bullion product purchases under $1,500; many Californians may be unaware that they may be overpaying in taxes when buying bullion online. That is why the Sound Money Defense League has launched an educational effort regarding this unfair policy; for more information visit our guide to purchasing precious metals in California – this information can protect consumers against this sales tax scam!

How is the tax calculated?

Before purchasing bullion products, it is wise to investigate any additional taxes applicable in your region – this can vary significantly between states. Check local and regional tax rates carefully as these could vary widely between them.

Precious metal investments have long been seen as an excellent way to diversify a portfolio and protect against market instability and economic insecurity. Unfortunately, however, the IRS classifies precious metals as capital assets; any long-term returns could be subject to capital gains tax.

California offers an advantageous taxable threshold of $1,500 which means most investors do not incur sales tax when purchasing coins, bars and rare coins in California. Furthermore, Texas recognizes gold and silver bullion as money and will not charge sales tax when stored with APMEX in that state.

Are there any online retailers in California?

When buying precious metals from dealers in California, sales tax may be due. It is your responsibility as the purchaser to research state and county taxes to make sure you only pay what is necessary.

Precious metals have long been exempt from state and local sales taxes in states where they are held as investments, with many states acknowledging that gold and silver are money as defined in the U.S. Constitution; therefore it would make no sense for states to tax these investments just like they do stocks, bonds and ETFs.

Unfortunately, some states have been slow to uphold their constitutional duty to treat gold and silver as money. While some states have implemented sales tax exemptions for bullion products such as Mississippi has recently abandoned this unfair tax burden.


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