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Investing 101
Investing 101 Coin

Gold & Silver Investing 101

The Gold & Silver 101 series covers the essentials of saving and investing in
physical precious metals and explain all you need to know to begin investing in bullion.

Investment Precious Metals – Exempt from GST

In Singapore, a large range of investment precious metals bars and coins are exempt from the Singaporean Government’s Goods and Services Tax (GST). GST is Singapore’s equivalent to Value Added Tax (VAT) or Sales Tax.

The GST exemption on qualifying investment precious metals in Singapore applies to both supply and importation of precious metals.

The GST exemption on investment precious metals was introduced by the Singaporean government in October 2012 as a way of supporting and developing Singapore’s bullion market. Prior to October 2012, the GST on precious metals in Singapore was 7%.

So as to provide clarity on which forms of investment precious metals qualify for GST exemption in Singapore, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has defined guidelines on how it defines Investment Precious Metals (IPM). Any precious metal which meets the criteria of IPM is thus GST exempt.

In general, the IPM definitions cover high purity gold, high purity silver and high purity platinum in the form of bars, coins, ingots and wafers. Palladium is not included in the IRAS definitions, and so palladium coins, bars, ingots and wafers are not GST exempt.

Qualifying precious metals coins are defined in one set of IRAS guidelines which lists the actual coins that qualify. GST qualifying bars, ingots and wafers are covered by another set of parameters defined by the IRAS.

Precious Metals Bars, Ingots and Wafers

To be defined as Investment Precious Metals, precious metals bars, ingots and wafers, must satisfy all of the following criteria:

a) It is either gold of at least 99.5% purity, or silver of at least 99.9% purity, or platinum of at least 99% purity; and

b) The precious metal bar, ingot or wafer is capable of being traded on the international bullion market and is refined by an ‘accredited’ refiner:

For Gold and Silver: The refiner must be on the current or former ‘Good Delivery’ list of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA):

For Platinum: The refiner must be on the current or former ‘Good Delivery’ list of the London Platinum & Palladium Market (LPPM):

c) The bar, ingot or wafer bears a mark or characteristic that is internationally accepted as guaranteeing its quality.

The type of mark the IRAS is referring to here is the refiner stamp or hallmark on the bar, ingot or wafer as described in the refiner’s listing of the LBMA / LPPM ‘Good Delivery’ list.

d) It is not a decorative bar, ingot or wafer or a collector’s bar, ingot or wafer.

Since decorative and collectors bars usually have a numismatic or rarity value in addition to their metal content, and since some of these bars have unusual shapes or designs, decorative and collectors bars are not accepted for international trading.

In essence, Singapore’s IPM guidelines on bars, ingots and wafers are primarily designed to define investment gold bars, investment silver bars and investment platinum bars as being GST exempt, thus allowing savers and investors in physical precious metals to acquire these assets without the distortion of having to pay GST.

Precious Metals Coins

The general IRAS criteria for defining Investment Precious Metals coins are similar to those as for IPM bars, ingots and wafers. Qualifying coins must be:

a) Gold of at least 99.5% purity, silver of at least 99.9% purity, or platinum of at least 99% purity; and

b) The coin is or was legal tender in its country of origin.

Since there are a large number of gold, silver and platinum coins produced by Mints around the world, the IRAS goes further and actually prescribes which coins qualify as Investment Precious Metals (IPM) for GST exemption in Singapore. The exempted coins are defined in three IRAS lists of coins, one list for gold bullion coins, another list for silver bullion coins, and a third list for platinum bullion coins. All of these coins are legal tender in their country of origin.

Investment gold bullion coins, exempt from Singapore’s Goods and Services Tax (GST)

The three IRAS lists of qualifying precious metals coins are as follows.

GST Exempt Gold Coins

A gold coin qualifies for GST exemption if it is of a purity of at least 99.5%, it is or was legal tender in its country of origin, and it is one of the following gold coins:

(i)        America Buffalo coin;

(ii)       Australia Kangaroo Nugget coin;

(iii)      Australia Lunar coin;

(iv)      Australia RAM Kangaroo coin;

(v)       Austria Philharmonic coin;

(vi)      Canada Maple Leaf coin;

(vii)     Canada Call of the Wild series coin;

(viiii)   China Panda coin;

(ix)      Malaysia Kijang Emas coin;

(x)       Mexico Libertad coin;

(xi)      Singapore Lion coin;

(xii)     United Kingdom Britannia coin;

(xiii)    United Kingdom Lunar coin;

(xiv)    United Kingdom The Queen’s Beasts series coin;

Due to the IRAS definition of GST exempt investment gold coins as requiring a gold purity of 0.995 or higher, a number of well-known investment gold coins in the market unfortunately don’t meet Singapore’s GST exemption requirements. These include the US Mint’s American Eagle gold bullion coin which is minted in 22 karat gold (0.9167 fine or 91.67% gold), South Africa’s famous Gold Krugerrand gold bullion coin, also minted in 22 karat gold (0.9167 fine gold), and the Royal Mint’s Gold Sovereign gold bullion coin, likewise produced in 22 karat gold (0.9167 gold purity).

While the IRAS definitions are therefore arguably too strict since they limit the scope of GST exemption for investment gold coins, 22 karat gold bullion coins such as the American Gold Eagle, Gold Krugerrand and Gold Sovereign can still be purchased, but keep in mind that those coins do not qualify for GST exemption in Singapore.

Many silver bullion coins are exempt from Singapore’s Goods and Services Tax (GST)

GST Exempt Silver Coins

A silver coin qualifies for GST exemption if it is of a purity of at least 99.9%, it is or was legal tender in its country of origin, and it is one of the following silver coins:

(i)       America Eagle coin;

(ii)       Armenia Noah’s Ark coin;

(iii)      Australia Kangaroo coin;

(iv)      Australia Kookaburra coin;

(v)       Australia Koala coin;

(vi)      Australia Lunar coin;

(vii)     Australia Saltwater Crocodile coin;

(viii)    Australia Funnel‑Web Spider coin;

(ix)      Austria Philharmonic coin;

(x)       Canada Maple Leaf coin;

(xi)      Canada Birds of Prey series coin;

(xii)     Canada SupermanTM S‑Shield coin;

(xiii)    Canada Tree of Life coin;

(xiv)    Canada Wildlife series coin;

(xv)     China Panda coin;

(xvi)    Mexico Libertad coin;

(xvii)   United Kingdom Britannia coin;

(xviii)  United Kingdom Lunar coin;

(xix)    United Kingdom The Queen’s Beasts series coin;

(xx)     South Africa Krugerrand;

Platinum bullion coins from the world’s leading mints, exempt from GST

GST Exempt Platinum Coins

A platinum coin qualifies for GST exemption if it is of a purity of at least 99%, it is or was legal tender in its country of origin, and it is one of the following platinum coins:

(i)       America Eagle coin;

(ii)       Australia Koala coin;

(iii)      Australia Platypus coin;

(iv)      Austria Philharmonic coin;

(v)       Canada Maple Leaf coin;

(vi)      United Kingdom Britannia coin;

(vii)     United Kingdom Lunar coin;

(viii)    United Kingdom, the Queen’s Beasts series coin;

Note that the IRAS views precious metals rounds as round shaped bars and therefore rounds are classified under the GST exemption criteria for bars, ingots and wafers. As long as a round satisfies the exemption criteria for a precious metal bar, then it is also exempt from GST.

As one of the world’s premier bullion dealers, BullionStar consistently stocks a wide variety of gold coins, silver coins and platinum coins from the above GST exempt coin lists, as well as a large range of GST exempt gold bars, silver bars and platinum from the world’s leading refineries and mints.

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