Investment gold coins (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.

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 (in section 2)
  • provides a revised list of investment gold coins whose supply is exempt from VAT (in section 3) — because there are several changes from previous lists, you should refer directly to the lists for qualifying coins

You should read this notice alongside Gold acquisitions, imports and investments (VAT Notice 701/21) 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:

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

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 2.1a. 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 2.1a. 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 one 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 (read 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 The Margin and Global Accounting Scheme (VAT Notice 718).

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 Gold acquisitions, imports and investments (VAT Notice 701/21).

3. List of investment gold coins

The following list is in alphabetical order by country name, then by denomination of the country’s coins.

When the category of coins is the same, the list shows the increasing value of the currency.

The denomination of each coin matches the currency shown on the coins. However, if the currency on the coin is not shown in roman script, the list will show its denomination in brackets, when possible.

Read the UK list of coins recognised as investment gold coins (ODS, 15.9 KB).

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Published 1 February 2012
Last updated 26 February 2024 + show all updates
  1. The UK list of coins recognised as investment gold coins has been updated.

  2. The list of investment gold coins in section 3 has been updated to include Tristan da Cunha.

  3. The UK list of coins recognised as investment gold coins has been updated.

  4. The UK list of coins recognised as investment gold coins has been added.

  5. This page has been updated because the Brexit transition period has ended.

  6. First published.