Can an investment in gold bullion create a tax liability?
Inland Revenue (IRD) has recently released a statement on this specific point.
IRD consider that gold bullion purchased as an investment has been acquired with the purpose of eventual disposal, i.e. a purpose or intention of resale exists. Consequently, any gain that arises on its future sale is income and taxable. In IRD’s view, a commodity such as gold does not provide any annual return or income for the period of ownership, so it is hard to argue that the investment was for any purposes other than eventual disposal.
The IRD considers the ‘reason’ for acquiring gold is irrelevant. Whether it has been purchased as an investment, or a hedge, this does not counter the underlying purpose of a future disposal. In comparison with other investments such as shares in a company, which may be held on capital account for the purpose of a deriving a dividend stream, gold has none of these features.