There are ways to sell gold anonymously if you follow the tax rules defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). When selling gold, it is also important that you understand your gold’s estimated value and carefully consider the potential buyer.
The buyer must report some gold sales if you sell gold listed on the IRS’s Reportable Items List to a dealer, pawnshop, or broker. You may also be required to report gains and losses when you file your federal return.
Why Do Some People Want to Sell Gold Anonymously?
While some may have intentions of trying to avoid reporting capital gains resulting from gold sales transactions to the IRS, that is only sometimes the case. Many wish to sell gold anonymously to help protect themselves from privacy concerns and identity theft.
Lack of Trust in the Banks or the Government
Some people do not want the government, the banks, or anyone else to know they are buying and selling gold. Some do not even hold precious metals in banks or commercial storage facilities. Someone holding gold at home may want to sell anonymously because they feel it keeps their home safe from burglary.
Privacy and Identify Theft Concerns
Concerns about protecting privacy and limiting the chance of identity theft incite some to control how much personal information they share with others. Some may not know the buyer or dealer well, so they take extra precautions to protect themselves.
There are a variety of reasons that some may want to sell gold anonymously, and in many instances, you can if the gold products are not reportable items and if you buy less than $10,000 worth of product. Primarily, the government is interested in identifying money laundering activities and those who may be trading precious metals as an income.
Employ an Appraiser
Before you attempt to sell gold products, you will want to know the quality of your items and their estimated market value. To find a trustworthy and knowledgeable appraiser:
- Conduct research. Investigate their reputation by analyzing reviews, scams, and experience and training.
- Ask for client references. Ask the appraiser directly for references and ask patrons about their experiences with them.
- To sell rare coins, consider a professional grading service such as Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) or Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). Often these organizations can connect you with an appraiser near you.
Where to Sell Your Gold
You have many options for selling your gold, but the transactions may not be anonymous. At the minimum, some of your personal information may be reported to the IRS if you sell gold as defined in the IRS’s Reportable Items list.
Local Coin Shops, Pawn Shops, and Brokers: In most situations, local coin shops employ those who know a bit about collectibles and numismatic value. Whereas pawn shop clerks often do not know how to measure the value of rare coins. Brokers may know more. But all three should have some knowledge of the popular coins and gold products, but you may not receive the most optimal selling price.
Coin Shows and Auctions: You may be able to sell gold items at coin shows or an in-person or online auction. Some try this method if they have not been able to sell their gold for an acceptable rate using another option.
Online Gold Buyers: “Cash for gold” buyers seem to break into the market daily. Often people use these for smaller items such as gold jewelry or bullion that do not hold much value beyond their melt price. If you choose to use these services, research them, and verify that your gold items will be insured. You can find reputable buyers online who may buy more significant portions of gold. Most of these operations require you to submit personal information to complete the transaction.
APMEX: We buy gold bullion, coins, numismatics, semi-numismatics, rare coins, and currency. We will submit a FORM 1099-B to the IRS, like other establishments, if required. Our minimum purchase amount is $1,000.00 (USD).
Person-to-Person: Unless you already have a willing buyer lined up who is open to buying your gold anonymously, this route may prove challenging. The buyer is taking on more risk, making it difficult to find a buyer. However, often you can sell at a higher price to an individual than a business if they are not hoping for an immediate gain.
If you are looking to balance your investment portfolio and choose not to sell gold assets, you may want to consider a Gold IRA.
Challenges of Selling Gold Anonymously
The old saying, “cash is king,” is still true but less commonly used by buyers to purchase gold. The payment methods most often used now may be tracible. So, if you are trying to sell gold anonymously, you may find it difficult in our “cashless world.”
Traceable Payment Methods
Often gold buyers pay by check, ACH, bank wire transfers, or trade. It is increasingly less common for you to be able to walk into a pawn shop with gold and walk out with cash.
If you sell items on the IRS’s Reportable Items List, the dealer or broker may be required to report the transaction to the IRS.
Capital Gain Taxes
If you experience a gain or loss when selling your gold, you may be required to report it to the IRS if it is a triggering transaction. A capital gains tax is a tax levied only on the profit. So, if you sell a 1-ounce gold coin for a profit of $100, you will only be taxed on that amount.
What Information is Reported to the IRS When I Sell Gold?
If you sell a large quantity of certain types of gold to a dealer or broker, they may be obligated to report the information to the IRS. The information reported can include your name, address, tax identification number, date of sale, and proceeds.
What are my Obligations if Someone Wants to Sell me Gold Anonymously?
Reporting obligations differ depending on whether you are a dealer or an individual. Dealers must report when they purchase certain quantities of specific gold products. Individuals may need to report a capital gain or loss. Cash transactions for gold between two individuals are not traceable, though we encourage our readers to abide by the law.
Gold Dealer’s IRS Obligations
Dealers must file a 1099-B form when a customer sells the minimum quantity of any precious metal included on the IRS’s Reportable Items List. Reporting requirements vary depending on the coin or bullion piece(s) sold. If you have additional questions, please consult a tax professional for details on your unique tax situation.
The IRS’s Reportable Items list, as related by the National Coin & Bullion Association, for the sales of gold include,
|Reportable Gold Item||Minimum Fineness||Minimum Reportable Amount|
|Gold Bars||0.995||Any size bars totaling 1 Kilo (32.15 troy oz) or more|
|1 oz Krugerrand||As Minted||Twenty-five (25) 1 oz coins|
|1 oz Maple Leaf||As Minted||Twenty-five (25) 1 oz coins|
|1 oz Mexican Onza||As Minted||Twenty-five (25) 1 oz coins|
Form 1099-B, as of 2023, is used to report information such as what item was sold, when it was sold, proceeds, and the seller’s name and address. If the gold sold is on the IRS’s Reportable Items List, your contact information may be shared with the IRS.
Gold dealers, pawn shops, and brokers may be required to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act by creating a plan to mitigate potential money laundering efforts. The section that defines minimal efforts reads as,
“Requires financial institutions to establish anti-money laundering programs, which at a minimum must include: the development of internal policies, procedures and controls; designation of a compliance officer; an ongoing employee training program; and an independent audit function to test programs.”
(USA PATRIOT Act, Section 352: Anti-Money Laundering Program)
Person-to-Person Gold Sales
If someone wants to sell you gold as an individual anonymously, you may be required to claim it as income if you sell it for a profit. If you hold the gold, you only need to claim it as income once you sell it. If physical holdings of gold are sold, the gain is taxed equal to your marginal tax rate; however, it is limited to a 28 percent maximum even if your individual tax rate is higher. If you are buying from someone you do not know well, you will benefit from employing an appraiser to help you verify that the product matches what they describe it as.
When preparing to sell gold, whether anonymously or not, ensure you understand the value of your gold products, research potential buyers, and consult with our accountant regarding your tax obligations.
The information provided here is for educational purposes only. Please consult your tax professional for advice concerning the selling of precious metals, bullion, and numismatic items.