Is Gold and Silver Bullion Subject to VAT?


Most bullion in Europe is subject to Value Added Tax (VAT), which is set depending on your country of origin. In the UK, this rate is 20%, while in Ireland it is 23%. The exception to the rule is gold bullion, which is VAT free - in the UK, Ireland, and the wider European Union. This means all of our gold bars and gold coins do not have any additional VAT charge on them.

Perhaps because investment gold is exempt, there is a misconception that investors believe other precious metals such as silver, platinum and palladium are VAT free. This infopage will explain exactly why gold bullion is VAT free, and why silver, platinum and palladium are not.


Why is there no VAT to pay on Investment Gold?

The European Union voted in 1999 to abolish VAT on investment gold. Many countries offered minimal levels of VAT as an incentive to buy in their nation. The UK and Germany, amongst other nations, did charge VAT and were losing out to those who didn't. To combat this disparity the EU moved make Europe an equal playing field and scrap VAT on investment gold. This change came into effect on January 1st, 2000.


What classes as "investment gold"?

As a UK-based company, BullionByPost uses the UK Government definition of investment gold, as stated below:

(a) gold of a purity not less than 995 thousandths that is in the form of a bar, or a wafer,
of a weight accepted by the bullion markets.

(b) a gold coin minted after 1800 that:

  • is of a purity of not less than 900 thousandths
  • is, or has been, legal tender in its country of origin, and
  • is of a description of coin that is normally sold at a price that does not exceed
    180 per cent of the open market value of the gold contained in the coin, or

(c) an investment gold coin as specified in Notice 701/21A Investment gold coins of the VAT Act 1994.


This definition is almost identically adopted by the European Union. For more detailed information about the definition of investment gold and what it means for dealers like ourselves, click here.


Why do I have to pay VAT on Silver?

Silver bullion should be viewed like any other product. If you went to your local electrical store and purchased a new television, you would expect to pay VAT. You wouldn’t necessarily think about or recognise the VAT as it would be included in the sales price, but it would still be there. Therefore investors should be mindful that silver investment is very different to gold, with silver being much more speculative.


Is Silver Bullion a good investment?

Here at BullionByPost, we advise our customers to view buying silver bullion as a more long
term, speculative investment due to the fact that silver is taxable, therefore investors need
to hold on to their bullion until the silver price has increased by another 20% just to break even.
Only then will any other rises in the price of silver make you a profit. Paying VAT on silver
bullion is often one of the reasons investors often turn to gold for short term profits
available, however recent history shows that silver is still a very profitable way of buying bullion.

When looking to buy silver, it is worth taking into consideration that the silver price is much
more volatile than that of gold. The price of silver increased by 248% in the five years
between September 2006 and 2011. This growth percentage was even higher back in April
2011 when silver hit an all-time high of over £29T/OZ (94p per gram) but has since come down.

These statistics illustrate that if you believe the silver market will remain buoyant, then your
initial 20% outlay for VAT can be recovered quickly. In fact, despite the price of gold reaching
new highs in recent times, the growth percentage increases for the silver price have consistently
outperformed gold, showing that despite silver being labelled as the less safe of the two investments,
it has being potentially more lucrative to have your money in silver coins and bars than gold.


But I’m VAT Registered...

If you are VAT registered and believe you may be able to claim your VAT back on silver bullion,
then you need to seek advice from your accountant.

Here at BullionByPost we are not trained accountants nor are we Financial Service Advisors,
therefore we cannot commit to providing you with specific detail financial advice regarding VAT.



Related Links: If you have any questions about gold bullion investment, please feel free to contact our knowledgeable and friendly team on +44 121 634 8082 who will be happy to talk your through any queries
you may have. Alternatively, you can email us at and we will get back to
you as soon as possible.

View our Top 5 Silver Investments and our Top 5 Gold Investments