Capital gains tax on gold: how much do I pay?

1 min readLast updated February 1, 2024by Rachel Carey

This article will take you through everything you need to know about paying capital gains tax on your gold.


  • You pay capital gains tax when you make a profit from the sale of an investment, such as gold.  

  • Various factors, including your adjusted gross income (AGI) and the length of time you held the investment, determine how much capital gains tax you pay.   

  • Gold is classed as a collectible by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  

  • A financial advisor can help you reduce your tax liability.  

What do I need to know about capital gains tax? 

If you sell an investment for a profit, you must pay capital gains tax (CGT) on any profit you make.  

For example, if you buy a stock for $20 and sell it for $100, your capital gain is $80, and you will be taxed on this $80 alone. You do not pay tax on the original investment.  

If you incur a loss when selling an investment, you do not pay any taxes.  

However, it’s important to note the amount of capital gains tax you pay is determined by several factors, including: 

  • Your adjusted gross income (AGI) 

  • Your tax filing status 

  • How long you held the asset. Capital gains are broken into short-term where you held the asset for less than a year and long-term – you held the asset for over a year 

  • The asset itself – some assets, such as collectibles, have their own higher rate of 28% 

The current federal rates for long-term gains are based on your AGI, also known as your taxable income, and your filing status. 

The below table breaks down your tax rate based on your AGI and filing status.  

Filing status0% rate15% rate20% rate
Single $0 - $47,025 $47,026 - $518,900 Over $518,900
Married and filing jointly $0 - $94,050 $94,051 - $583,750 Over $583,750
Married and filing separately $0 - $47,025 $47,026 - $291,850 Over $291,850
Head of household $0 - $63,000 $63,001 - $551,350 Over $551,350

Your state may also impose capital gains tax. 

Most states tax capital gains as income, with rates ranging from as low as 2.9% to as high as 13.3%, depending on the state.  

If you need help with your tax returns, a regulated financial advisor can help. 

Unbiased can connect you with an SEC-regulated, fiduciary financial advisor in as little as 48 hours. Find your match here 

How much is capital gains tax on gold? 

As mentioned, the IRS taxes certain types of collectibles at a higher percentage; physical gold falls into this category.  

Collectibles are subject to a maximum capital gains tax rate of 28%. 

This rate applies to buying physical gold, such as bars and coins directly, known as gold bullion and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that hold physical gold. 

Despite its higher tax rate, gold is a popular investment option.  

Investing in gold is often seen as a way for experienced investors to diversify their portfolios.  

Precious metals tend to hold their value in the long term and are considered safe havens that preserve and increase their value when other assets are struggling.  

How can I avoid capital gains tax on gold? 

There are various ways you can reduce the amount of capital gains tax you pay on gold.   

These include:  

1. Don’t invest in physical gold 

As mentioned, physical gold is classed as a collectible, so it is subject to the higher CGT rate of 28%. 

However, there are investment options that do not use physical gold.  

One workaround is to opt to invest in an EFT or mutual fund that invests in mining companies rather than physical gold itself. These investments will be subject to the standard rates.  

Alternatively, gold futures are also not subject to the higher 28% rate. 

According to CBS News, gold futures have a preferred tax rate. 

Under the 60/40 rule, 60% of futures capital gains are taxed as long-term gains and 40% are taxed as short-term gains at your normal income tax rate.  

When choosing to invest in gold, it’s always wise to get expert advice. 

Unbiased can match you with a financial advisor who can guide you and your investments in the right direction.  

2. Keep your investments for over a year 

Holding your investments for over a year means you can benefit from long-term capital gains tax rates. These are often less than short-term rates, which use your regular income tax rates.  

By using this technique, you may even be able to reduce your CGT rate to 0%, depending on your taxable income.  

This is true for all investments, not just gold.  

3. Utilize your capital losses 

You can offset your capital gains with capital losses you’ve experienced in that tax year or carried over from a previous tax year. 

This is a strategic way to reduce the amount of taxes you pay on your gold profits.  

Here, you will use the losses you’ve incurred on other investments to reduce your taxable profit.  

4. Use a 1031 exchange 

A 1031 exchange allows you to defer any CGT associated with an investment if you use the funds to invest in another asset.  

It is predominately used in real estate or personal property but can also be used for collectibles and precious metals, including gold.  

However, this needs to be done within a specific timeframe – usually 45 days.  

Get expert financial advice  

If you need help managing your investments and reducing your tax liability, a regulated financial advisor is your best option.  

A financial advisor can help you navigate the complex tax world and potentially save you money.  

Unbiased helps you find the right advisor to meet your needs. Simply answer a few questions, and our dynamic platform will match you with an independent SEC-regulated financial advisor in as little as 48 hours.   

Connect with a financial advisor today.

Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.