Option 1: Carry it yourself
The first option and the simplest in theory is to move the gold or silver yourself. In practice though, this is generally much more complex. First off, you have to consider things like extra insurance, security concerns and the hassles with having to explain to security and custom officers why you are carrying the metals. In extreme cases, they might even detain you – simply for carrying gold, as happened to American Tom M. last year on his way from the US to Panama via Mexico.
Then, you have to consider any export documentation requirements from your home country. Some do and some do not. In the US, it’s the Foreign Trade Division of the Census Bureau that controls this process.
Next, you need to be aware of whether it is required to claim your gold upon arrival in a new country – and whether it will be taxed and/or duty applied on face or market value. For example, while importing gold from the US to say, Canada, gold coins and bullion with purity higher than 99.5% (Maple Leafs, Austrian Philharmonic, American Buffalos, etc.) can be exported into Canada tax free on a federal basis but might subject to provincial sales tax depending on which province you import it to.
Needless to say, unless you enjoy complicated, convoluted and sometimes arbitrary rules, best to avoid personally moving your gold overseas.
Option 2: Use a professional transport service
There are a number of companies throughout the world that can transport your physical holdings for you. They will handle customs and duties, security, insurance and ensure that your metals get from point A to point B in good order. The world standard is Viamat, but there are others to consider such as Rhenus.
In my mind, there are only two disadvantages to this approach. First, it can be expensive if you are moving a relatively low amount of metal. Second, you will lose all anonymity by this approach. By necessity, these firms need to collect a lot of information to avoid trouble at the border.
Option 3: Sell and buy again
The third option is to liquidate your current portfolio and buy again in the country you choose to store. Unfortunately, this may trigger a taxable event, so you’ll want to find out your tax liability before taking this step.
That said, it is my understanding that, at least in the US, there is the possibility to do a “like-kind exchange”, which will allow you to avoid creating a taxable event under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRS Revenue Ruling 82-96).
Basically, you trade one form of gold for another.
One such company that may be able to facilitate such a process is Dillon Gage Group of Addison, Texas. If you have an account with GoldMoney.com, you can send your metals to Dillon Gage, they will determine its value and then, instead of paying you in cash, simply credit your Gold Money account, which is denominated in gold.
By doing so, you are essentially exchanging your domestic gold holding for an equivalent amount held in Gold Money’s vaults overseas – minus any fees of course.
[As a side note, DG simply considers this a normal transaction and cannot make any comment about the validity of this strategy from a tax perspective. As always, it’s very important to get a sign off from your accountant before taking advantage of such a program.]
Of course, your best option might be to increase your holdings of precious metals by purchasing in another country in the first place, while keeping your domestic supply close at hand. But that’s a topic for another day.
[If you’re going to successfully internationalize – whether assets, income or personally – you’ll need some good resources to do it. Join us at the International Man Network and gain access to our library of useful reports on a wide range of diversification topics from moving gold overseas or finding an international broker to getting set up on the ground in a number of different countries around the world. Click here to join.]