Investment gold coins and VAT (Notice 701/21A)

List of gold coins considered as investment gold coins for VAT exemption as detailed in Group 15 to Schedule 9 of the VAT Act 1994 purposes


This notice cancels and replaces Notice 701/21A (February 2011). Details of any changes to the previous version can be found in paragraph 1.1 of this notice.

1. Overview

1.1 What this notice covers

This notice:

  • explains that an investment gold coin is exempt from VAT and explains which coins can be considered as investment gold coins (see section 2)

  • provides revised lists of investment gold coins whose supply is exempt from VAT (in section 3). Readers are advised that, because there are several changes from previous lists, they should refer directly to the lists for qualifying coins

You should read this notice alongside Notice 701/21: gold which gives further information about dealing in gold coins.

1.2 Who should read this notice

Traders dealing in investment gold coins.

2. Investment gold coins

2.1 Definition of an investment gold coin

An investment gold coin is either:

2.1 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
  • is of a description of coin that is normally sold at a price that does not exceed 180% of the open market value of the gold contained in the coin

2.1 b. a gold coin on the lists in section 3.

A coin not on the lists can still be exempt from VAT if it falls within the description at 2.1 a. But you must be able to show from your business records that any such coin meets the criteria.

You should treat coins that do not fall within 2.1 a. or 2.1b. as subject to VAT at the standard rate.

2.2 Coin types

All gold coins that have the same denomination (face value), size and gold fineness as those described at paragraph 2.1 and section 3, are exempt from VAT.

The definition for VAT purposes is wider than the one which coin experts (numismatists) normally use. This is because changes of superficial design do not alter the gold coin type or description.

So, a gold coin type may be a single issue for 1 year, or have been produced for almost 2 centuries, as in the case of the British sovereign.

2.3 Selling price

Of the 3 criteria in paragraph 2.1a, only the selling price of the coin is subjective.

Coins are minted in various finishes and will be sold at a variety of prices. If exemption depended on the actual selling price of an individual coin this would lead to inconsistency. Administration of the exemption would become burdensome for traders and HMRC alike. For this reason, exemption depends on the normal selling price.

2.4 The ‘normal’ selling price

This is the price that can most usually be demanded for a particular type of coin.

It does not matter that an individual coin is of special interest to collectors, if the usual price of the coin type falls within 180% of the value of the gold contained therein, all coins of that type will be exempt.

Similarly, if a coin type is usually valued at more than 180% of the gold value, because of its interest to collectors, but an individual coin is in such poor condition that it is worth less than 180% of its gold value, that coin (like others of its type), will be subject to VAT at the standard rate.

2.5 Conditions affecting the normal selling price

The finish influences the normal selling price of coins. Investment gold coins fall into 2 broad classes. The first consists of relatively older issues made to circulate as currency. These will normally be worn from circulation.

The second, generally more recent, are primarily produced as a store of wealth. These may have been issued in a number of finishes and if the majority of a type of coin are in for example ‘brilliant uncirculated’ condition then, other things being equal, the brilliant uncirculated value will reflect the normal selling price.

On the other hand, if the majority of a particular coin are in ‘proof’ condition, then the value of the proof coin is more likely to reflect the normal selling price. The test of normal selling price must take into account these factors and be based on the condition in which the gold coin type is most frequently traded.

2.6 Investment gold coins and the Margin Scheme

You cannot sell investment gold coins (see paragraph 2.1 under the Margin Scheme. If you’ve mistakenly included investment gold coins as purchases in Margin Scheme stock records, delete the entry and note it accordingly.

If you’ve included the coins in Global Accounting purchases, remove the items from the scheme and adjust the total purchases in the period. You must also deduct the value you have attributed to the items from your Global Accounting purchase record.

Guidance on correcting errors is in Notice 700/45: how to correct VAT errors and make adjustments or claims.

Further guidance on the Margin Scheme is in Notice 718: the VAT Margin Scheme and global accounting.

2.7 Record keeping requirements for dealers in investment gold coins

There are specific record keeping and notification rules for dealers in investment gold and investment gold coins. These are in Notice 701/21: gold.

3. Lists of investment gold coins

The European Commission publish annually a list of gold coins which must be treated as investment gold coins in all EU member states. The list has legal force and supplements the law.

HMRC have added an additional list of gold coins alongside the European Commission list. These are gold coins that HMRC recognise as falling within the exemption for investment gold coins. This second list does not have legal force.

These lists are valid for the year 2012. They are set in alphabetical order, by names of countries and denominations of coins. Within the same category of coins, the list follows the increasing value of the currency.

The denomination of each coin reflects the currency shown on the coins. However, where the currency on the coin is not shown in roman script, where possible its denomination in the list is shown in brackets.

Table 1: The European Commission list

Table 1 - The European Commission List (PDF, 48.3KB, 24 pages)

Table 2: UK list of additional coins recognised as investment gold coins

Table 2 - UK list of additional coins (PDF, 11.6KB, 2 pages)

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Published 1 February 2012