When a consumer sells a reportable quantity of specific ingots or coins, precious metals dealers must file Form 1099-B with the IRS. Failure to comply with reporting requirements may result in the IRS issuing monetary fines or even criminal charges against the precious metals dealer and the customer. Many investors prefer to own physical gold and silver rather than exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that invest in these precious metals. While the tax implications of owning and selling ETFs are very simple, not many people fully understand the tax implications of owning and selling physical ingots.
The following describes how these investments are taxed, as well as their tax reporting requirements, cost base calculations, and ways to offset any tax liability resulting from the sale of physical gold or silver.