Are gold and silver bullion subject to VAT?
Most bullion in the United Kingdom is subject to Value Added Tax (VAT), which since 2011 has been at a set rate of 20%. The exception to the rule is gold bullion, which is VAT free - both in the UK and the wider European Union. This means all of our gold bars and gold coins do not have any additional VAT charge on them. This was applied in UK law specifically, so will not revert once Brexit is finalised.
Perhaps because investment gold is exempt, there is a misconception that investors believe other precious metals such as silver, platinum and palladium are VAT free. This infopage will explain exactly why gold bullion is VAT free, and why silver, platinum and palladium are not.
Why is there no VAT to pay on investment gold?
The European Union voted in 1999 to abolish VAT on investment gold. Many countries offered minimal levels of VAT as an incentive to buy in their nation. The UK, which did charge VAT, was losing out because of this, as were other nations. To combat this disparity the EU moved make Europe an equal playing field and scrap VAT on investment gold. This change came into effect on January 1st, 2000.
Gold was VAT free in the UK until 1973, so a return to this state isn't too big a change, but it does occasionally frustrate people due to the fact other precious metal investment bullion isn't exempt.
What classes as "investment gold"?
The UK Government website classes investment gold as the following:
gold of a purity not less than 995 thousandths that is in the form of a bar, or a wafer,
of a weight accepted by the bullion markets.
(b) a gold coin minted after 1800 that:
- is of a purity of not less than 900 thousandths
- is, or has been, legal tender in its country of origin, and
is of a description of coin that is normally sold at a price that does not exceed
180 per cent of the open market value of the gold contained in the coin, or
(c) an investment gold coin as specified in Notice 701/21A Investment gold coins of the VAT Act 1994.
Why do I have to pay VAT on silver?
Silver bullion should be viewed like any other product. If you went to your local electrical store
and purchased a new television, you would expect to pay VAT. You wouldn’t necessarily think
about or recognise the VAT as it would be included in the sales price, but it would still be there.
Therefore investors should be mindful that silver investment is very different to gold, with silver
being much more speculative.
There is, in fact, a way of buying silver without having to pay VAT. Silver stored in a bonded
warehouse outside of the European Union can be bought without VAT. VAT is only due if you
should choose to take delivery of your silver.
I thought British bullion coins were VAT free...?
Coins made by the Royal Mint are only VAT free if they are made of gold. Any other silver
or platinum coins are eligible for VAT to be charged.
Sometimes Value Added Tax (VAT) can be confused with the Capital Gains Tax (CGT).
Whereas VAT is an added tax on something you buy, CGT is an added tax on profits you
make from selling. This tax is applied usually on investments, such as bullion, stocks,
All British bullion coins with a face value stated on them are technically legal tender
and thus qualify as CGT exempt. Any coin we sell that is eligible for CGT exemption
will explicitly say so as part of the product information.
Is silver bullion a good investment?
Here at BullionByPost, we advise our customers to view buying silver bullion as a more long
term, speculative investment due to the fact that silver is taxable, therefore investors need
to hold on to their bullion until the silver price has increased by another 20% just to break even.
Only then will any other rises in the price of silver make you a profit. Paying VAT on silver
bullion is often one of the reasons investors often turn to gold for short term profits
available, however recent history shows that silver is still a very profitable way of buying bullion.
When looking to buy silver, it is worth taking into consideration that the silver price is much
more volatile than that of gold. The price of silver increased by 248% in the five years
between September 2006 and 2011. This growth percentage was even higher back in April
2011 when silver hit an all-time high of over £29T/OZ (94p per gram) but has since come down.
These statistics illustrate that if you believe the silver market will remain buoyant, then your
initial 20% outlay for VAT can be recovered quickly. In fact, despite the price of gold reaching
new highs in recent times, the growth percentage increases for the silver price have consistently
outperformed gold, showing that despite silver being labelled as the less safe of the two investments,
it has being potentially more lucrative to have your money in silver coins and bars than gold.
But I’m VAT registered...
If you are VAT registered and believe you may be able to claim your VAT back on silver bullion,
then you need to seek advice from your accountant.
Here at BullionByPost we are not trained accountants nor are we Financial Service Advisors,
therefore we cannot commit to providing you with specific detail financial advice regarding VAT.
If you have any questions about gold bullion investment, please feel free to contact our knowledgeable and friendly team on
0121 634 8060
who will be happy to talk your through any queries
you may have. Alternatively, you can email us at email@example.com and we will get back to
you as soon as possible.
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