The Basics of Sales Tax on Precious Metals in California

The Basics of Sales Tax on Precious Metals in California

When it comes to buying precious metals, many investors are often surprised to learn that sales tax may apply to their purchases. In the state of California, there are specific laws and requirements regarding the collection of sales tax on certain precious metal products. This article will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the sales tax regulations in California, focusing on the types of precious metals that are taxed, how the taxes are calculated, and step-by-step guidance on investing in precious metals.

Understanding Taxable Precious Metals

In California, sales tax must be collected on certain types of precious metals. It's essential to familiarize yourself with the specific categories that fall under taxable products. Here are the key types of precious metals that are subject to sales tax in the state:

1. Nonmonetized Bullion

Nonmonetized bullion refers to bullion made from platinum, palladium, or copper that has been smelted or refined. The value of nonmonetized bullion primarily depends on its precious metal content rather than its form. Therefore, California requires the collection of sales tax on nonmonetized bullion.

2. Monetized Bullion

Monetized bullion includes coins or other forms of money manufactured from gold, silver, or other metals. These forms of bullion have been or are currently used as a medium of exchange under the laws of California, the United States, or any foreign nation and have a legal status equivalent to legal tender. If the total amount of a single sales transaction for monetized bullion, nonmonetized gold or silver bullion, or numismatic coins is less than $2,000, sales tax must be collected.

3. Accessory Items

Accessory items related to precious metals, such as holders, tubes, or coin flips, are also subject to sales tax in California. These items are considered taxable as they are directly related to the purchase and storage of precious metals.

4. Processed Items

Precious metals that have been processed by third parties into items valued for more than their precious metal content, such as jewelry, statues, or colorized coins, are subject to sales tax. The value of these items extends beyond their raw metal value, making them taxable under California law.

It's important to note that all other products sold by precious metal retailers, such as PMCEX, are exempt from sales tax in California. This exemption applies to products that do not fall into the categories mentioned above.

Calculating Sales Tax on Precious Metals

Now that we have a clear understanding of the taxable precious metal categories in California, let's delve into how sales tax is calculated. The calculation is based on two factors: the taxability of the products and the specific tax rates established by the taxing jurisdiction of the delivery address in California.

When making a purchase from a precious metal retailer like PMCEX, the sales tax calculation is performed at checkout on their website. PMCEX has been collecting taxes in California since inception to comply with the state's sales tax laws. The website's checkout process takes into account the taxability of the products sold by PMCEX in California and applies the appropriate tax rates based on the delivery address.

It's essential to keep in mind that tax rates can vary depending on the specific jurisdiction within California. Therefore, the final sales tax amount on your precious metal purchase may differ based on the delivery address provided.


Understanding the sales tax regulations surrounding precious metals in California is essential for investors looking to add these valuable assets to their portfolios. By knowing which types of precious metals are subject to sales tax and how the taxes are calculated, you can make informed decisions and navigate the investment landscape with confidence.

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