the Rules Before You Transport Precious Metals Overseas
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by Mark Nestmann: Think
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perfectly legal to move precious metals in or out of the United
States, you must understand the reporting rules before you begin.
Otherwise, your risk confiscation of your metals along with possible
civil and criminal sanctions. Youre much better off paying
an armored security service such as Brinks or ViaMat to transport
the metals for you.
you simply want to walk, drive, or fly across a U.S. border carrying,
say, 100 one-ounce U.S. gold eagles with a market value of US$175,000
in your carry-on bag, there are two sets of rules with which you
must be concerned:
1. Rules from
the Treasury Department requiring that you report certain movements
of currency and monetary instruments across a U.S. border. These
rules dont appear to apply to gold and silver bullion or coins,
for reasons Ill describe momentarily.
2. Rules from
the Census Bureau obligating you to make a declaration if the value
of certain commodities that you export from has a value that exceeds
$2,500. These rules are poorly publicized. However, border officials
routinely confiscate precious metals from travelers who arent
aware of them. Ill discuss these rules in my next post.
Silver Arent Currency or Monetary Instruments
If you or your
agent (e.g., an armored security service) physically transports
currency or monetary instruments with an aggregate value that exceeds
$10,000 at one time across a U.S. border, you must submit Treasury
Form 105, the Report of International Transportation of Currency
or Monetary Instruments (CMIR).
the Treasury Department bureau responsible for Form 105, the Financial
Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the following items are considered
currency or monetary instruments. Therefore, they must be reported
on the CMIR:
or currency of the United States or of any other country,
(2) Travelers checks in any form,
Negotiable instruments (including checks, promissory notes, and
money orders) in bearer form, endorsed without restriction, made
out to a fictitious payee, or otherwise in such form that title
thereto passes upon delivery,
(4) Incomplete instruments (including checks, promissory notes,
and money orders) that are signed but on which the name of the payee
has been omitted, and
(5) Securities or stock in bearer form or otherwise in such form
that title thereto passes upon delivery.
do not include:
or money orders made payable to the order of a named person which
have not been endorsed or which bear restrictive endorsements,
(ii) Warehouse receipts, or
(iii) Bills of lading.
include the United States, consider gold and silver coins (but not
bars) to be currency. For instance, a one-ounce U.S. gold eagle
has a legal tender value of $50 stamped on the coin. However, according
to a FinCEN administrative ruling:
The term currency
is defined in our regulation as the coin and paper money of
the United States or of any other country that (1) is designated
as legal tender, (2) circulates, and (3) is customarily used and
accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issuance.
Coins or paper money must satisfy all three conditions to be considered
currency; a failure to satisfy one prong means that
the payment instrument is not currency for CMIR purposes.
to our example, one-ounce gold eagles are legal tender, but they
dont circulate and theyre not customarily used as a
medium of exchange in the United States. Therefore, theyre
not considered currency and need not be reported on the CMIR.
this doesnt mean you wont be harassed by customs agents
if you fail to file the CMIR. It wouldnt hurt to have a printout
of the administrative ruling in which FinCEN stated the requirements
for coins to be considered currency. You can find it here.
Bureau regulations are a very different matter. Ill discuss
them in Part II of this post.
Nestmann [send him mail]
is a journalist with more than 20 years of investigative experience
and is a charter member of The
Sovereign Society’s Council of Experts. He has authored over
a dozen books and many additional reports on wealth preservation,
privacy and offshore investing. Mark serves as president of his
own international consulting firm, The
Nestmann Group, Ltd. The Nestmann Group provides international
wealth preservation services for high-net worth individuals. Mark
is an Associate Member of the American Bar Association (member of
subcommittee on Foreign Activities of U.S. Taxpayers, Committee
on Taxation) and member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
In 2005, he was awarded a Masters of Laws (LL.M) degree in international
tax law at the Vienna (Austria) University of Economics and Business
© 2012 Mark
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