Can You Bring Gold into the U.S. Without Paying Duty or Taxes?

Great Britain’s recent vote to withdraw from the European Union has raised a lot of concerns for people who trade in gold and other precious metals. For as long as Britain was a member of the E.U., it was possible to move gold between Britain and other E.U. countries without paying duties. But now, some kind of tariffs and duties are probably on the way. What effects will those tariffs have on the trading price of gold internationally, or on how desirable an investment gold becomes?

Another Question: What If You Want to Bring Gold in or out of the United States Today?

Before you bring your briefcase full of gold bullion bars into the country, you may want to read this post. Credit: Alexander Bedrin/iStock.

Before you bring your briefcase full of gold bullion bars into the country, you may want to read this post. Credit: Alexander Bedrin/iStock.

Yes, things are about to change in Great Britain, and possibly in other countries that might also chose to withdraw from the E.U. But before we get too concerned about our English and European cousins, let’s ask an even more important question:

Do you have to pay duties on gold that you bring into the U.S. today?

Today’s blog post offers only general information on financial matters, and is not meant to replace the advice of a qualified financial consultant or accountant. But with that statement aside, here is some general information you should know.

There is no duty to be paid when bringing investment-grade gold bullion or coins into the U.S.

This is surprising. But here is a quote from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website:

“There is no duty on gold coins, medals or bullion but these items must be declared to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer.”

Different laws may apply when bringing foreign currency into the U.S.

If you bring in “spendable” foreign currency (“legal tender”) that is made of gold or backed by gold, different laws could apply. To quote again from U.S. Customs and Border Protection website:

“Please note a FinCEN 105 form must be completed at the time of entry for monetary instruments over $10,000. This includes currency, i.e. gold coins, valued over $10,000. The FINCEN definition of currency: The coin and paper money of the United States or any other country that is (1) designated as legal tender and that (2) circulates and (3) is customarily accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issuance.”

No matter what you do – or intend to do – your best protection is to declare everything you intend to bring into the U.S.

Of course you would do that, right? What would the point be of getting your gold confiscated by a customs agent at an airport or other point of entry? Here’s another quote from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

“If you have doubt whether your gold/gold coin is considered a monetary instrument it is in your best interest to declare the item(s) with a CBP Officer, so you do not give a false declaration.”

You cannot bring in currency or bullion, and many other items, that were made in Cuba, Iran, or Sudan.

This restriction applies to items that originated in those areas; if you buy an Iranian-made gold coin in Paris and try to bring it into the U.S., for example, you can’t.

Different restrictions and duties can apply to gold items with high value as collectables or fine art.

If you arrive at the U.S. border with a rare piece of jewelry made by a Renaissance Italian goldsmith that you bought for $1 million in Italy, for example, you can’t try to say that it is worth only $3,000 because it only contains about three ounces of gold. You’re smarter than that, and more honest, right? You’re going to have to speak with an appraiser and an attorney before bringing your item into the U.S. But in the past, people have tried some bizarre things in order to avoid duties.

And how do you handle foreign gold that needs to be recycled?

Questions like these come up, most often regarding moving recyclable gold between Canada and the U.S.:

  • I am a U.S. citizen, but gold was just discovered in deposits of sand near an old mine located on a piece of land in Canada that my family owns. Do I recycle that gold in Canada, or in the U.S.?”
  • I have the opportunity to start buying sputtering targets from Canadian plating companies. Should I recycle them in Canada, or bring them into the U.S. and recycle them here…or just let this opportunity pass me by?”
  • I just inherited a jewelry store from an uncle of mine who lived in Bermuda. Should I sell the business, sell the gold, bring the gold into the U.S. or what?”

If you have questions like those, you will still need expert advice from your attorney and tax preparer. But we will be glad to offer some advice, based on our past experience. Give us a call at 800-426-2344 and tell us what is on your mind.

Related Posts:

Does Country of Origin Affect the Value of Gold Bullion Bars or Coins  
Do You Have to Pay Income Tax when You Find Gold? 
Some Solid Advice on Investing in Gold Coins  
Investment Strategy: Give Gold to Your Children Now Tax-Free, Watch it Appreciate