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I was just reading about how bullion dealers are required to file a USA 1099-B when someone sells 25 or more 1oz gold Maple Leafs, Kruggerrands or Mexican Onzas through them, but that there is no such requirement for other 1oz gold coins like the Austrialian or American gold 1oz coins. http://www.jmbullion.com/reportable-bullion-transactions-infographic/

Why would that be the case when the different country coins are essentially identical? Is it simply that the law is old and has not been updated for newer coins?

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    I'd venture that it has something to do with the import rules for those countries. – quid Jun 7 '16 at 19:45
  • Possibly, but would be odd as the Canadian gold Maple Leaf is reportable, but the silver Maple Leaf is not. I'm still leaning towards the old law theory and new coins have not been added. – RaskaRuby Jun 7 '16 at 21:48
  • or maybe gold and silver have different import regs... – quid Jun 7 '16 at 23:02
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Canadian Maple Leaves, Mexican Onzas and South African Kruggerands are explicitly reportable. All the other government-mint gold bullions, and all the government-mint silver bullions are not reportable.

This is at least my understanding. This is defined in the IRS Rev. Proc. 92-103, but I haven't found the actual publication, only various dealers explaining it. This seems to be one of the more coherent ones. I suspect it had something to do with either treaties, lobbying or purity (probably lobbying...).

Note that non-government minted bullions are always reportable.

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The link that you provided pretty much gives the answer to the question. There are two factors:

  1. The quality of the coin. The Canadian Gold Leaf, for example, has at least 0.9999 fitness, so it's extremely pure. Very pure coins are of sufficient quality to fulfill commodities contracts as gold rather than as coins.
  2. As you suggested, the age of the law also seems to matter. From your link: "Many exempt products, like the American Silver Eagle coins, are not on the [exempt] list because they were not in existence when the Reportable Item list was created."

EDIT with a bit more info:

Under 26 CFR 1.6045-1, gold and silver bullion of a certain quality and at minimum quantity are effectively defined as commodities subject to reporting since, at the minimum quality, they can be delivered to complete regulated futures contracts. The default treatment of such commodities is that sales should be reported, but there is an exception for foreign currency. That seems to be why most foreign currency coins are exempt.

That leaves the question of why a few are specifically reportable. I couldn't find the IRS ruling that lists those that are reportable. The US, however, started minting gold coins in the late 70s pursuant to the American Arts Gold Medallions Act of 1978 (Title IV). (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-92/pdf/STATUTE-92-Pg3641.pdf) Although this article (http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1564&context=iclr) is primarily at about taxation by states, it claims that

The Act has two main objectives: (1) to permit U.S. citizens to buy and hold gold for investment purposes in relatively small amounts; and (2) to compete with the Krugerrand and other foreign gold coins, so that less gold is imported into the United States and fewer dollars are exported.

I read the relevant part of the Act, and I didn't see a list of specific coins reportable. (For that matter, I'm not sure that Form 1099-B as we know it today even existed at that point in time.)

Finally, if you check the coins on the "reportable" list in the OP's link, I think that you'll find that most have no face value as currency. (The Canadian Gold Leaf has a face value and so do the US coins. The others seem to only have value based on their metal content.) I couldn't find anything specifically stating that's why they are reportable, but I did find controversy in a couple of respects about whether these are actually "currency" under U.S. law and whether the designation might depend on which part of the law is at issue.

I don't have time to dig further than this, but it's at least some anchor to law and history to support my answer. If someone has something more definitive, I'd be interested to see read it.

  • This is incorrect. Canadian coins are the same quality and purity as many exempt coins, and many coins (like all the silver bullions) were in fact in existence. Other gold coins (like the Chinese Gold Panda) are also exempt even though they're 99.99 pure and were in existence in 1992. – littleadv Jun 8 '16 at 15:41
  • @littleadv The relevant law seems to be from the 80s, so not clear how 1992 is relevant. – user32479 Jun 8 '16 at 15:43
  • @Brik can you find the actual law? In any case, Chinese Gold Panda for example was minted since 1982. – littleadv Jun 8 '16 at 15:55
  • Brick, you're still off. The CFR you mentioned doesn't have the words "gold" or "silver" in it. The IRC Sec. 6045 is dealing with broker reporting, but also doesn't mention bullions. The IRS Revenue Procedure is the one I mentioned - 92-103, but I also wasn't able to find it, so I don't know what's the legal authority it relies on. law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/26/1.6045-1 – littleadv Jun 9 '16 at 4:28
  • @littleadv Gold is include because there's a regulated futures contract on it. See (a)(5)(i) in the cited CFR. That's why the number of coins appears to matter. Small number of coins are not enough to have a regulated contract on them. The same language about regulated futures contracts appears on the instructions for 1099-B. Note that the question is about why you get a 1099-B, so this is directly relevant. I also cannot find the Rev Proc that you mentioned online, although I've seen it referenced elsewhere. It gets referenced with this specific CFR at some sources. – user32479 Jun 9 '16 at 15:41

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