Is There Sales Tax On Gold And Silver In California?

Thursday, May 30th 2024

Sales tax is an essential element of any state’s revenue, as it is a principal source of funding for infrastructure and public services. But, the manner of applying sales tax varies across states, and knowing the specifics taxation is essential for both consumers and businesses. Here, we will look at the specifics of sales tax on silver and gold in California.

Background on Sales Tax in California

The State of California imposes a sales tax on the retail sale of tangible personal items, that is defined broadly as any object that is visible as weighed, measured, felt, or touched. The sales tax rate in California is made up of a state rate (currently 7.25 percent) and additional district rates that vary based on the location. The rate combined can be up to 10.50 percent in certain areas. Certain items are tax-free or are taxed at a reduced rate. Silver and gold, both as assets and commodities, are subject to special tax treatment which we’ll explore more.

Sales Tax Exemption for Gold and Silver in California

In the state of California, gold and silver are typically excluded from tax on sales, but subject to certain requirements. As per California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 6355, Gold and silver, bullion and coins are exempt from tax on sales when they meet the following criteria:

Coins: In order for gold and silver coins to get exemptions from the sales tax they must possess a value that is recognized by a governmental entity (either foreign or domestic). This signifies that commemorative coinage or medals that are not legal tender won’t qualify for the exemption.

Bullion: Gold and silver bullion are tax-free when they satisfy the following requirements:

It is vital to know that this exemption is applicable to both used and new silver and gold coins, as well as bullion, so long as they meet the requirements previously mentioned.

Sales Tax on Numismatic and Collectible Coins

Although silver and gold coins that are legal tender as well as possess an official currency value are exempt from sales tax in California however, collectible and numismatic coins aren’t eligible for the exemption. Numismatic coins have more value than the amount of precious metal contained, often due to their rarity, historical significance or other reasons. The coins and medals of collectors that aren’t legal tender or have no recognized values in currency also have to be taxed.

Sales Tax on Gold and Silver Jewelry

California sales tax exemptions do not apply to silver and gold necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings. The standard sales tax rate applies to them as tangible personal property. Jewelry is regarded more for its beauty than its precious metal composition.

Reporting and Compliance

Businesses selling silver and gold bullion or coins in California must be aware of the sales tax exemption rules and follow them when conducting transactions. Retailers are accountable for in calculating and collecting sales tax on taxable sales and remitting the tax to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) (1). Inability to collect or remit sales tax in the manner required could result in fines, interest as well as other penalties for the business.

The consumer should be aware of exemptions from sales tax for silver and gold in California. When buying an eligible item, verify the store’s tax treatment. If a customer thinks they were overcharged sales tax on an exempt item, they may ask the vendor for a refund or submit a claim with the CDTFA.

Impact of Sales Tax Exemption on Gold and Silver Investments

The exemption from sales tax for silver and gold coins as well as bullion in California is advantageous for investors as it lowers the total cost of purchasing these investments. By lowering the barriers to the entry of gold and silver investments, the exemption encourages more people and companies to diversify their portfolios through precious metals. This could have positive consequences for the market for precious metals and help to ensure the stability and expansion of the economy of the state.

Future Considerations and Market Trends

It is vital to remain updated on any changes to the tax treatment for sales taxes on gold and silver in California because tax laws and regulations may change with time. Investors and companies should keep track of any revisions or updates made to the California Revenue and Taxation Code and any relevant guidance issued in the CDTFA. Being up to date with tax law changes can ensure compliance with the law and prevent any unexpected tax liabilities.

The exemption of sales tax on silver and gold coins and bullion in California may also be influenced by economic and market conditions. In particular, during times that are characterized by uncertainty in the economy, demand for silver and gold typically is higher, as investors attempt to safeguard their wealth with tangible assets. In these situations, the sales tax exemption could be a further incentive for both businesses and individuals to invest in precious metals.

If the state has financial issues, legislators may review the sales tax exemption for gold and silver. In this case, the exemption may be changed or abolished to increase state income.

It is also important to recognize the role of emerging technologies, such as cryptocurrencies or digital assets in the investment environment. As alternatives to investing increase in popularity and the market need for conventional assets like silver and gold could be affected. This could impact the tax policy of the state in regard to precious metals in the coming years.

Preparing for Potential Changes in Sales Tax Laws

In the event of changes to sales tax treatment for silver and gold in California both businesses and individuals must be prepared to alter their tax strategies and investments. Here are some actions that can be implemented to prepare for the possibility of adjustments to the tax laws:

Stay informed: Regularly monitor developments from CDTFA along with California legislative bodies for any proposed changes or modifications in sales tax law. It is crucial to stay informed for keeping your compliance in place and making any adjustments that are needed to your investment or tax strategies.

Consult with professionals: Speak with a financial adviser or tax professional who is familiar with California’s sales tax laws and the precious metals market. They can provide guidance regarding possible changes to tax law, and also help you make a plan to navigate any shifts in the tax law.

Expand your portfolio: To prepare for possible changes to the taxation of sales on silver and gold, you should consider diversifying your portfolio of investments. This could mean exploring different investment options, for instance, bonds, stocks, real estate, digital assets (2) to help mitigate potential risks associated with changes in tax laws.

Keep accurate records: Keep accurate documents of your gold and the transactions with silver, which include dates of purchase as well as prices and taxes you pay. Record-keeping accuracy is crucial for tax compliance and can assist you in proving your tax position should tax law changes or if you have to file an application for a refund.

Re-evaluate your tax strategy: Re-evaluate and update your tax strategy to ensure that it’s aligned with the latest tax laws and regulations. If changes to the treatment of the sales tax on silver and gold become apparent Be prepared to alter your plan accordingly.


While the current exemption from sales tax for silver and gold coins and bullion in California provides a favorable environment for investors, it’s crucial to be prepared for future changes in the tax landscape. Being knowledgeable, engaging with specialists, diversifying your portfolio, maintaining proper records, and reevaluating your tax strategy will help you through changes to gold and silver sales tax. You’ll be able to make informed judgments about your transactions and investments, which will improve your long-term financial planning and wealth management.

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