23 US states move to reclaim gold and silver as legal tender
As the international reserve currency for the better part of a century, global trust in theUS dollarhas been virtually limitless.
At any time, in nearly any country, its role as the ultimate safe-haven currency and the universally accepted standard of economic value has been beyond question.
How the dollar became the one to rule them all
At the turn of the twentieth century, when the dollar was coming into its own, it was blessed by limited currency competition.
Thesterlingof the British Empire had run its course and during the Great War, Europe’s leading powers razed each other’s economic assets to the ground.
The US on the other hand, had plenty going for it.
It assumed the role of the global export hub with a state-of-the-artmanufacturinginfrastructure; the mass inflows of physicalgoldit received bestowed global reverence upon the Federal Reserve; the newly federalized Internal Revenue Service (IRS) enjoyed access to a deep well of taxpayers maintaining robust dollar demand; and the unmatched depth of itsbondmarkets catapulted the greenback to new heights.
In more recent decades, a much darker element has also come to the forefront.
David Graeber, anthropologist and noted author, wrote in his ‘Debt – The first 5,000 years’,
…U.S. military predominance…No other government has ever had anything remotely like this sort of capability. In fact, a case could well be made that it is this very power that holds the entire world monetary system, organized around the dollar, together.
Despite the dollar’s many strengths, no fiat currency has ever truly stood the test of time.
Without exception, reserve fiat currencies have come, conquered, and then been displaced.
Inevitably, political convenience trumps economic stewardship, resulting in the decline of reserve currency status.
Most commonly, excessive issuance leads to accelerated devaluation and inflates away economic value.
Disciplinary mechanisms that maintained the dollar’s strength were disregarded when it was divorced fromsilverand gold in 1964 and 1971, respectively.
Yet, for over 50 years, a completely free-floating greenback has held sway over global markets.
However, this may now be changing.
In the decade since the GFC, interest rates hit rock bottom and money printing reached eye-watering levels.
This situation was exacerbated during the global pandemic.
Economic activity ground to a halt, while the seemingly unlimited monetary stimulus was coupled with targeted fiscal policies and payroll protections, which fuelled four-decade highs in inflation.
To make matters worse, the weaponization of the dollar through SWIFT and the imposition of reams of sanctions, forced several of its biggest consumers to desperately search for alternative avenues of exchange.
At the global level, de-dollarization has certainly gathered significant momentum.
The countries spearheading these efforts represent a growing share of global GDP, hold sizeablecommodityreserves, are united in their desire to side-step the dollar and shield themselves from Fed policy shocks.
China-Brazil trade has switched away from the dollar; Saudi Arabia offered to tradeoilin alternative currencies; and accelerated central bank purchases of bullion are paving the way for a less significant role for the greenback.
Moreover, the BRICS summit in August is expected to birth a non-dollar, non-SWIFT payment mechanism that if successful, could play a key role in the monetary landscape of the twenty-first century.
Each of these countries is concerned by the prospect of sanctions either on themselves or on key partners, raging inflation and the deep erosion in US bonds.
The significance of precious metals
Gold and silver have themselves been money for thousands of years and are the most durable forms of money.
They also do not suffer from counterparty risk, ensuring their value is relatively immune to the risks of the global financial markets.
In a bid to relieve themselves from dollar dependence, central banks have continued to buy physical gold or repatriate the yellow metal from foreign vaults at a record pace.
Mike Maloney, precious metals investor and noted author,statedin his excellent series, Hidden Secrets of Money,
…it is the ultimate money because there is nothing else even in the same league. It’s divisible. It’s permanent. It’s a store of value. It’s a unit of account. It’s got everything you want out of money, but it doesn’t go away and it can’t be increased. That is what makes gold the most beautiful money of all. What more can you ask out of a money?
By being a hedge against inflation, precious metals protect against excesses such as unbridled spending by state authorities and outsized deficits.
The trouble at home
While the dollar’s clout appears to be declining overseas, several bills have also been introduced in nearly half of US states to guard against the potential implosion of the greenback.
In a conversation with physical precious metals investor, Ronald Branstetter on his Youtube channel Ron’s Basement, Pat Holland of the Missouri Freedom Initiative, a grassroots organization,notedthat state governments have three key concerns in this regard.
First, inflation continues to ravage household budgets and threatens access to essentials such as fuel and food.
Secondly, in July this year, the US government is expected to roll out its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
Given the programmable nature of this instrument,Robert E. Wright, a Senior Research Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research warns against excessive centralization of control over purchasing decisions of ordinary citizens.
Wright adds that CBDCs may not qualify as money under the Constitution.
Thirdly, with bonds bleeding over the past two years, an increasing number of states have found their pension funds in dire straits.
Although bond yields have been declining post the SVB crisis, at the time of writing, 10-year yields are up by 64.81 bps in the past 12 months, and approximately 2.7% higher since April 2020.
In this environment, states are being forced to liquidate ever larger amounts of their holdings to cover obligations, while liabilities continue to mount at an alarming rate.
As a result, pension funds are seeing material losses in capital, a decline in income on the sale of bonds, increased credit risks and higher chances of regulatory intervention.
In 2022, according toEquable, an organization dedicated to retirement security, only 7 states and Washington DC had a funding ratio of 1.0 or over for their public pension schemes.
Source: Equable (2022)
To boot, the sudden fragility of thebanksand the risk of systemic escalation is driving greater urgency among the states to hedge their exposure to the dollar.
More concerningly, with dollar demand slowing globally, and if the BRICS+ are successful in their endeavour, the excess currency that has been circulating overseas is likely to make its way back to the USA.
Interested readers can access articles at the highlighted links discussing the views of well-known analysts such asPeter SchiffandAndy Schectmanwho expect that the influx of such a volume of currency could spark a resurgence in inflation.
What are states doing to protect themselves?
With the alarming rise in the risk of dollar-denominated debt and the potential return of much higher inflation, individual states are now taking steps to shield themselves against a future featuring a dwindling dollar.
The truth is that fiat currencies depend on the credibility of the issuer, and their robustness is a function of place and time.
Once this credibility inevitability begins to decline, the currency loses its lustre.
Unlike fiat currencies, the value of gold and silver has never been extinguished, and in times of turmoil, such as during currency transitions, they tend to preserve their value far more effectively than other financial instruments.
Today, grassroots organizations and sitting politicians are drawing upon Constitutional expert Professor William Greene’s 2010 boilerplatedraftof the ‘Constitutional Tender Act’, to launch a movement to reclaim the right to recognize physical gold and silver as legal tender.
Writing for theSound Money Defense League, Stefan Gleason, President ofMoney Metals Exchange, bucketed state legislative efforts into three key categories.
The first step towards mainstreaming recognition as legal tender is to eliminate sales tax from precious metals, which is now the case in 42 states.
This is crucial because it eliminates needless transaction costs and unnecessary frictions which can hamper freedom of exchange.
Moreover, sales or capital gains tax implies that gold or silver is a commodity and not money.
Secondly, states are looking to establish depositories or precious metals reserves to act as a hedge against runaway inflation and to boost pension funds.
Thirdly, newly introduced bills are arguing for the removal of income tax on the sale of gold or silver.
The legitimacy of such efforts would flow from Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution whichnotes,
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
This may sound like a radical idea, but as mentioned earlier, dollars were backed by silver and gold till not very long ago, and states are focusing on simply reinstating this recognition.
In a widespread movement, local grassroots organizations and state lawmakers have introduced bills to initiate this process in at least 23 states, with legislators of at least 10 states introducing their version of the bill in 2023 alone, including Montana, Missouri, Kansas, Oregon, Kentucky and Wisconsin.
A case study of Missouri’s SB-100
Holland is one of the leading figures advocating for the SB-100, or Missouri’s bill, which was introduced by Sen. William Eigel (R) to give citizens the right to use gold and silver as legal tender.
In his opinion, the foremost concern for state legislators is the pressure placed on public pensions that are threatened by unfunded liabilities.
The bill is currently assigned to the executive session of the House’s Special Committee on Governmental Accountability and will be discussed on the 12thof April.
Interestingly, Missouri is home to two regional Federal Reserve Banks, i.e. St. Louis and Kansas City.
The key pillars of the bill are listed below.
- The state should recognize gold and silver as money, both of which can be used for the purchase or repayment of debt.
- Precious metals shall be valued by the state at spot plus a market premium.
- All taxes should be eliminated on the sale of precious metals.
- The treasury must be willing to accept payment of state taxes in gold and silver.
- The treasury must maintain a minimum of 1% of operational reserves in precious metals in a special reserve or depository.
- Following Roosevelt’s confiscation of gold during the Great Depression, the bill also prohibits any state agency from seizing physical gold holdings.
- Lastly, the bill seeks to prevent the imposition of digital currency as a compulsory form of transaction. The supporters of the bill prefer to maintain optionality for the consumer.
In light of the erosion of the dollar, controversial Fed policies and higher-for-longer inflation, Holland remarked,
…this is literally a defence mechanism that is afforded to us by the US Constitution.
To maximize chances of passage, the bill steers clear of challenging the dollar or commenting on the domain of the Federal Reserve.
The bill also allows for maximum flexibility on part of the treasury.
For instance, authorities would have a wide variety of models to choose from when establishing infrastructure and mechanisms to implement the bill (if it passes), including the use of standard gold and silver coinage, widespread rollout of digital meters to assess weight, acceptance of increasingly popular goldbacks, or partnering with private bullion banks and third parties that can offer accounts denominated in gold and silver.
If successful, the bill would eventually offer an avenue for sound money transactions to preserve purchasing power of individuals and businesses in the event of severe budgetary imbalances, excessive money printing at the Federal level or unbridled spending by state authorities.
Crucially, the acceptance of precious metals by the state government, coupled with advances in technology such as gold-backed credit and debit cards could mainstream the exchange of metal ownership as a basis for transactions.
States with active legislative processes
US states are wary of the possibility of the loss of the dollar’s reserve currency status and the effect this may have on pension systems.
The rout in treasuries, risk-free instruments that form the bedrock of the global economic system, and the prospect of higher inflation have fuelled urgency across legislatures.
In a rare show of unity, several legislators have independently filed such bills to at least start the process of recognition of precious metals as legal tender.
In some cases, these have been met with virtually no opposition, such as in Tennessee where the House voted 98-0 in favour.
As of April 3rd2023, the following states have pending bills that are on the pathway to recognizing gold and silver as legal tender.
Source: Ron’s Basement; Tenth Amendment Center
According to theTenth Amendment Center, Utah Legal Tender Act (2011) and Wyoming Legal Tender Act (2018) already recognize gold and silver as legal tender.
Legislators from Wyoming attempted to amend and strengthen the existing act but this failed in the House in March 2023.
Oklahoma also eliminated the tax on sales of precious metals in 2014, categorizing it as legal tender.
In 2023, the state moved to mandate the establishment of a state-backed gold depository in the offices of the treasury via SB816, introduced by Sen. Nathan Dahm (R).
A new source of demand
For gold investors, provisions that would mandate minimum precious metals holdings in the state treasury could significantly boost demand for physical metals.
For instance, Ron’s Basement estimates that Missouri alone would need to purchase $9 million worth of bullion to meet the 1% criteria laid out in the bill.
With drives to establish state-backed precious metal depositories throughout the country, this could spur fresh momentum in the bull market for gold and silver.
For states, this could also bring in revenues by providing state-protected vault services and allocated accounts for a fee, particularly to wealthy individuals.
However, as always, the devil is in the details.
If these bills were to become law and drive genuine demand, they would have to be passed with an emphasis on physical holdings, and restrict dilution into paper gold.
Interested readers can find more information on the dynamics betweenphysical gold,physical silverand their paper variants in the highlighted links.
Secondly, it is unclear if the mandated quantum of gold would be readily available, and severe shortages may end up forcing precious metals back towards investment status, rather than as tools for purchase as intended by these bills.
One thing is certain. The dollar is beginning to see challenges both abroad and at home.
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April 7, 2023 – 5:21 AM PDT
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In a widespread movement, local grassroots organizations and state lawmakers have introduced bills to initiate this process in at least 23 states, with legislators of at least 10 states introducing their version of the bill in 2023 alone, including Montana, Missouri, Kansas, Oregon, Kentucky and Wisconsin.What states have gold and silver as legal tender? ›
- WEST VIRGINIA. By a unanimous vote on March 8, the West Virginia Legislature approved Senate Bill 502, originally introduced by Sen. ...
- WYOMING. ...
- UTAH. ...
- ARIZONA. ...
- KANSAS. ...
- OKLAHOMA. ...
- TEXAS. ...
Where Are Goldbacks Accepted? The Goldback is designed to be a local currency within certain regions where a series exists, that being Utah, Nevada, New Hampshire and soon to be Wyoming. They are considered voluntary local currency.Where is gold and silver legal tender? ›
In addition to Oklahoma and Utah, Texas, Arizona and Louisiana have all passed gold and silver legal tender laws over the past year.What established silver as legal tender? ›
Congress used the National Banking Act of July 12, 1882, to clarify the legal tender status of silver certificates by clearly authorizing them to be included in the lawful reserves of national banks. A general appropriations act of August 4, 1886, authorized the issue of $1, $2, and $5 silver certificates.Do I have to pay for tax in Florida for buying silver and gold? ›
Bullion Sales Tax in Florida
In Florida, they treat gold, silver, and other precious metals in very distinct ways. According to the Florida Dept. of revenue, if the product was used as legal tender in the United States, currently or in the past, any transactions involving that product are exempt from sales tax.
Do I have to report my gold coin purchases to the Government ? No, there is no branch of federal, state, or local government that is interested in how much gold you might own.How much gold and silver can you buy without reporting? ›
The answer is that there is no limit on how much gold you can purchase without reporting it. However, any sale of precious metals, including gold coins, must be reported on your tax return. So, while there is no limit on how much gold you can purchase, you will still need to report any sales to the IRS.How do you cash out gold and silver? ›
You can sell your gold and silver near you by using a local coin shop. The advantage of a local coin shop is that one can receive the cash more quickly. The drawback is that they may not offer the best price since their expenses are higher. And a small shop may not be able to handle large buyback orders.Can I borrow against my gold and silver? ›
JM Bullion is proud to partner with Collateral Finance Corporation (CFC) to offer our customers the ability to borrow against gold and silver using their existing bullion as collateral. Gold and silver backed loans offer cash liquidity without the need to sell your assets.
Similarly, for sales of silver bars and rounds to warrant reporting, each silver piece needs to possess a fineness of at least . 999 with a total purchase quantity of 1,000 troy ounces or more.What is the crime of 73 silver? ›
Key Takeaways. The Crime of 1873 refers to dropping silver dollars from official coinage by act of Congress in that year, setting the stage for the adoption of the gold standard in the U.S.Can you cash in a silver certificate? ›
A silver certificate is a type of legal tender in the form of paper currency that was issued by the U.S. government beginning in 1878. These certificates were eventually phased out in 1964 and today can be redeemed for their face value in cash only, rather than in actual silver.How much is a 1 Goldback worth? ›
So one fiftieth of such a coin equals one gold dollar. The gold content of a Goldback is pegged to this form of legal tender. All Goldbacks may be redeemed for $50 in U.S. Minted Gold Eagles or Buffaloes via our partners at Alpine Gold. This can be done in increments of 1,000 Goldbacks for a one-ounce coin.Can the U.S. government take my gold? ›
Under current federal law, gold bullion can be confiscated by the federal government in times of national crisis. As collectibles, rare coins do not fall within the provisions permitting confiscation. No federal law or Treasury department regulation supports these contentions.Where can I keep my gold in USA? ›
Safe Deposit Boxes
An investor may choose to store their gold in a locked safe deposit box at their local bank. Safe deposit boxes are relatively inexpensive storage options and require far less individual protection efforts than home storage (as you are entrusting the bank with your gold).
When a gold purchase is required to be reported, the dealer will be the one to report it. Form 8300 requires information about the gold buyer, including name, social security number, address, and license number. If some of the form is left blank, the dealer is still required to send the form to the IRS.How can I avoid paying taxes on gold coins? ›
Hold your investments for at least one year
These are taxed with ordinary income, meaning that your profits won't qualify for the special, lower capital gains tax brackets. To avoid this, sell your investments after at least one year, if possible. Otherwise you could face higher income tax rates.
Since gold is considered a collectible, it is taxed at maximum rate of 28% like art, stamps, and antiques rather than traditional investments like stocks or bonds. The IRS charges higher tax rates on collectibles than other investments, which usually average 15% to 20% if held for more than a year.What will happen to silver if the dollar collapses? ›
Silver's Value Could Increase
One reason is because there's a limited supply of silver, meaning as demand increases if the dollar collapses, the value of silver will actually go up, since there's not an indefinite amount of silver left.
In 1985, the United States Raegan administration called for the ban of importing Krugerrands in protest of apartheid. This American ban had a significant impact on South Africa's economy. Premiums on Krugerrands fell below those of other competing bullion coins.Will silver ever reach $100 an ounce? ›
Considering the factors mentioned above, it is possible that the price of silver could reach $100 per ounce in the future. However, there are no guarantees and it is impossible to predict when this will happen. Investors should always do their own research and make an informed decision before investing in silver.What states do not tax gold and silver? ›
You can buy gold and silver tax-free from Bullion Exchanges online if you are ordering from Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, Montana, and Oregon. These states do not impose any online sales tax as of 2020.Is it better to buy gold coins or bars? ›
Gold coins are known to have more sentimental value than gold bars both historically and culturally. Simply put, gold coins can be more ideal for you than gold bars if you want to invest in something with a more historical and cultural value. Again, gold coins have more collectible value than gold bars.How much gold can a US citizen own? ›
Physical gold. According to the CBDT's most recent circular, men, regardless of marital status, are only allowed to possess 100 g of real gold in the form of jewelry and ornaments. Married women are allowed to possess 500 g, unmarried women 250 g, and men 500 g.What does Dave Ramsey say about buying gold and silver? ›
I don't put money in precious metals at all, because they have a lousy long-term track record.Should I turn all my cash into gold? ›
Gold is often considered a good investment for diversification, as it may be less correlated with other assets such as stocks or bonds. This means that the price of gold may be less affected by movements in other asset classes, which can help to reduce overall portfolio risk.Who owns the most gold privately? ›
John Paulson is an American hedge fund manager and billionaire famous for having one of the biggest privately owned gold reserves in the world.Is it smart to own physical gold and silver? ›
Physical gold and silver have no counterparty risk.
If you hold real metal, there is no paper contract to make you whole, no middleman needed to make you good. Gold and silver are the only financial assets that are not simultaneously some other entity's liability.
Both of these precious metals are subject to import, export, purchase and sales taxes in the US. While the majority of gold and silver investing comes with a certain degree of taxation, there are different levels of tax based on how market participants decide to invest in these precious metals.
Some analysts recommend allocating 5–10% of your portfolio toward gold and silver. Others suggest allocating up to 25%. So you may be wondering, “How much gold and silver should I own?” It depends on your situation and needs. The allocation will differ for every individual.Do silver buyers report to IRS? ›
Tax liabilities on the sale of precious metals are not due the instant that the sale is made. Instead, sales of physical gold or silver need to be reported on Schedule D of Form 1040 on your tax return.How do I avoid taxes on silver? ›
Capital Gains Tax
Silver that has gained value only needs to be reported if you sold it. Therefore, if silver you already purchased is now worth more but you have no plans to sell it, it's not considered taxable.
Historically, Gold reached an all time high of 2074.88 in August of 2020. Gold - data, forecasts, historical chart - was last updated on April of 2023.What is the safest silver to buy? ›
999 fine (99.9% pure), the same as a Silver Eagle, or . 9999 fine (99.99% pure), the same as a Canadian Maple Leaf.What percent silver is junk silver? ›
Junk silver are common-date coins that are graded below the threshold considered collectible. In other words, any coin worth only it's bullion (or melt) value would be considered junk silver. Usually, junk silver refers to U.S. coins that are 90% silver.What percent silver are old coins? ›
Invest in American History. Most coins minted in the United States before 1965 were 90% silver and 10% copper. Silver at the time was a cost-effective way to produce coins that were both durable and attractive. All other U.S. denominations other than pennies and nickels at one time were struck using 90% silver.How much is a $2 bill with a red seal worth? ›
They were part of the red-seal currency series with red seals and serial numbers. While circulated $2 bills from 1963 are not worth much over their face value, uncirculated notes can be valued around $20 and star serial notes between $12 to $40. Some rare mint condition specimens can even be worth around $1,200.How much is a $2 bill worth today? ›
Generally speaking, a $2 bill is typically worth $2 if it was produced between 1976 and 2013. Even an uncirculated $2 bill won't be worth more than face value if it was printed after 1976.How much is a 1976 $2 bill worth? ›
A 1976 two dollar banknote is worth face value; if you sell your note, the most you'd get is $2 for a circulated bill in good condition. An uncirculated bill may be worth $5 to $10.
Physical gold. According to the CBDT's most recent circular, men, regardless of marital status, are only allowed to possess 100 g of real gold in the form of jewelry and ornaments. Married women are allowed to possess 500 g, unmarried women 250 g, and men 500 g.How much gold can you legally possess in the US? ›
No Limits. Luckily, there's no limit on how much gold bullion an individual can acquire and own. There are no laws prohibiting anyone from buying as much gold bullion as possible. You can hold as much gold bullion as you can afford and purchase.What states do not have gold and silver tax? ›
You can buy gold and silver tax-free from Bullion Exchanges online if you are ordering from Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, Montana, and Oregon. These states do not impose any online sales tax as of 2020.How does IRS know you sold gold? ›
Form 1099-B for Reporting Precious Metal Transactions to the IRS. The 1099 series is a set of forms used to report any profits made by non-corporate sellers. They allow the IRS to prevent many instances of tax evasion. Keeping track of individuals who may be selling items as a source of income is one key focus.Can the US government confiscate your gold? ›
Under current federal law, gold bullion can be confiscated by the federal government in times of national crisis. As collectibles, rare coins do not fall within the provisions permitting confiscation.Do you have to pay taxes on gold? ›
And since gold is an investment asset, when you sell your gold and make a profit it is taxed as capital gains. Though, depending on how you held your gold, you will either have to pay taxes at the ordinary capital gains rate or at a general rate of 28%.Why is it illegal to own gold bars? ›
When the stock market crashed in 1929, the well-to-do rushed to convert their bank funds to more reliable gold bullion. This left the government without enough gold to back newly printed money. Therefore, President Franklin Roosevelt used his executive powers to make it illegal to own gold coins or bars.Can silver exist in free state? ›
Gold, platinum, copper and silver are least reactive metals, hence they are found in the free state in nature.What state has the cheapest gold? ›
Which City or State is the Cheapest for Buying Gold in India. At present, the price of gold is at the lowest in Kerala. Similarly, the prices are reasonable in Karnataka when compared to Delhi and Mumbai.What state has the most gold and silver? ›
Number 1: Nevada
Much of the value of Nevada's mineral industry comes from its precious metal production, as it leads the Nation in gold mining. Much of the silver comes from the same mining operation as the gold, as does some of Nevada's copper.