Gold and Silver Bullion and Tax Laws in California
California Laws on Gold & Silver
Admitted to the union in 1850, California is home to 40 million people. The most heavily populated state in the union and the third largest area, California is home to major metropolitan hubs including Los Angeles and San Francisco. California has taken steps to cultivate an environment more conducive to sound money ownership and use.
What are the Laws on Gold & Silver in California?
- California State Sales Tax Laws
- California Capital Gains Laws
- California Gold and Silver Money Status
- California Depository Laws
- California State Reserves Laws
- California Government Pension Funds
California State Sales Tax Laws?
California has started the process of freeing gold and silver from bureaucratic shackles.
According to Article 7, Regulation 1599 California enacted a sales tax exemption in 2009 for purchases $1,500 or more.
While California's exemption is a step in the right direction, the law places an unfair burden on those wanting to exchange Federal Reserve Notes for real money, i.e. gold and silver, as many purchasers of precious metals make these purchases in increments below the $1,500 sales amount which triggers the sales tax exemption.
For more information on rolling back sales tax on constitutional money, click here.
California Capital Gains Tax?
California law, like most states, is chalk full of draconian revenue statutes. Under current law, gold and silver are subject to capital gains taxation when exchanged for Federal Reserve notes, or when used in barter transactions.
Income taxes are one major way government bureaucrats penalize holders of precious metals. If you own gold to protect against the ongoing devaluation of America's paper currency (which results from the inflationary practices of the Federal Reserve), you may end up with a "gain" on your gold when it's priced in dollars. Not necessarily a real gain, mind you. It's frequently nothing more than a nominal gain -- but it's nonetheless considered income against which the government assesses a tax.
However, other state legislators across the country have started to recognize that paying taxes on nominal gains is beyond the pale. Arizona recently eliminated capital gains taxation on precious metals and Idaho hopes to follow soon.
For more information on capital gains taxation of precious metals, click here.
Gold and Silver Recognized as Money in California?
Gold and silver have not been explicitly made money in the state of California.
The United States Constitution states in Article I, Section 10, "No state shall...make anything Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts."
Legislative acts that take steps towards this constitutional requirement are slowly gaining steam. Utah and Oklahoma are leaders in this field, declaring gold and silver money within their states.
Unfortunately, California has not taken any steps to reaffirm its constitutional duty to treat gold and silver coins as tender in payment of debt as Oklahoma and Utah did with the recent passage of SB 862 and HB 157, respectively.
Oklahoma’s SB 862 reads, in part, “gold and silver coins issued by the United States government are legal tender in the State of Oklahoma. No person may compel another person to tender or accept gold or silver coins that are issued by the United States government, except as agreed upon by contract.”
Utah’s HB 157 reads, in part, “except as expressly provided by contract, a person may not compel any other person to tender or accept legal tender.”
The phrase, “except as agreed upon by contract,” has significant ramifications. This wording reaffirms the court’s ability, and constitutional responsibility according to Article I, Section 10, to require specific performance when enforcing such contracts. If voluntary parties agree to be paid, or to pay, in gold and silver coin, the Oklahoma courts may not substitute any other thing, e.g. Federal Reserve Notes, as payment.
Gold clause contracts are a useful tool to give both creditors and borrowers alike protection against the currency risks resulting from both inflation and deflation. For more information on gold clause contracts, click here.
Practically speaking, recognition of gold and silver as money is important because it marks a fundamental shift of how the government views the metals. Acknowledging the legal tender status of gold and silver would mean that the state would treat gold and silver as currency rather than an asset. It generally follows that no state taxes should be levied when the precious metals are used or exchanged.
For more information, click here.
California Depository Laws?
California law does not currently allow for a state bullion depository.
While California may not currently have a bullion depository within the state, there's reason to be hopeful. Texas is championing the state depository cause and other states will likely follow suit. In June of 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 483 into law.
Authored by Representative Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake), this bill allows for "the establishment and administration of a state bullion depository."
According to the official Texas Depository website, House Bill 483 "allows for the nation's first state bullion depository to be established in Texas under the supervision of the state's comptroller's office."
Upon signing the bill, Governor Greg Abbott said "with the passage of this bill, the Texas Bullion Depository will become the first state-level facility of its kind in the nation, increasing the security and stability of our gold reserves and keeping taxpayer funds from leaving Texas to pay for fees to store gold in facilities outside our state."
California Holding Reserves in Gold and Silver?
Financially prudent individuals set aside surplus funds to protect against unforeseen expenditures. This way, when faced with loss of income, house repairs, car trouble, or anything else, they will have a buffer against unanticipated downturns.
In the same vein, almost every state in the United States has established a “savings account” for government operations. Primarily to mitigate a decline in tax revenues that comes alongside economic slumps, states have created so-called budget stabilization funds – colloquially known as “rainy day funds.”
Unfortunately, like every other state in the union, California does not hold its reserves in gold and silver.
While California may not hold its reserves in gold and silver yet, Tennessee is setting an example by introducing legislation that would allow for this. Tennessee Representative Bud Hulsey has introduced House Bill 0777 which "requires the state treasurer to invest 40 percent of the funds in the rainy day fund in gold bullion of other precious metal bullion." This bill will be voted on in 2018.
For more information on Budget Stabilization Funds, click here.
Is California Holding Physical Gold & Silver in Government Pension Funds?
Millions of Americans will rely on pensions once they've reached the age of retirement. Pension fund managers have a fiduciary duty to safeguard funds against foreseeable risks.
With the practices of today's Federal Reserve, there is no risk more foreseeable than inflation! But with very few exceptions, pension money managers are not fulfilling their duty to protect against this significant risk by investing in assets that are specifically suited to defend against the perpetual decline of the dollar's purchasing power. Chief among these assets are physical gold and silver, the most reliable inflation hedges from time immemorial.
Tens of millions of Americans and their employers pour money into pension plans each month, counting on those funds to grow and be there when needed at retirement.
But a time bomb awaits. The bulk of U.S. pension funds are dangerously underfunded, and the assets are often invested in securities that have bleak prospects for providing income that keeps up with a general decline in purchasing power. In the case of underfunded government pensions, higher taxes invariably follow combined with potential default on obligations to retired workers.
Unfortunately, California's government pension funds do not appear to hold ANY assets in physical gold and silver.
Texas gives states an example to emulate. The Texas Teacher Retirement Fund and the University of Texas own nearly $1 billion in physical gold. As a non-correlated asset to bonds, stocks, and other paper-based investments, precious metals are key to true diversification.
For more information on pension funds, click here.