Effective July 1, 1985, amounts derived from sales of precious metal bullion and monetized bullion as defined herein, are not subject to business and occupation tax under either the wholesaling or retailing classification or to retail sales tax. Statutory law expressly excludes such sales from the definitions of the terms, "wholesale sale," "sale at wholesale," "retail sale," and "sale at retail."
The term, "precious metal bullion" is statutorily defined to mean any precious metal which has been put through a process of smelting or refining, including, but not limited to, gold, silver, platinum, rhodium, and palladium, and which is in such state or condition that its value depends upon its contents and not upon its form.
The term, "monetized bullion" means coin or other forms of money manufactured from gold, silver, or other metals and heretofore, now, or hereafter used as a medium of exchange under the laws of this state, the United States, or any foreign nation, but does not include coins or money sold to be manufactured into jewelry or works of art.
Thus, sales of processed or refined precious metal valued solely upon the content thereof, whatever its form, are not subject to tax in this state. This includes processed nuggets, bars, sticks, dust, and other processed forms of precious metal. For example, sales of gold or silver in raw, refined forms to dentists, laboratories, jewelers, and other persons, for their own consumption or for resale are not taxable. However, sales of precious metal which has been manufactured or further processed into any form which determines or adds to the value thereof are fully taxable. For example, sales of jewelry items, medallions, artworks, and other items, the value of which is dependent upon more than the mere content of precious metal therein, are subject to wholesaling or retailing business and occupation tax, whichever is applicable, and retail sales tax as appropriate.
Sales of metal money, in coined or other form, which is recognized as a medium of exchange in the financial marketplace, are not taxable. However, sales of coin or money, whether or not recognized as a medium of exchange, to jewelers or other persons for the purpose of manufacturing jewelry or artworks therefrom are fully taxable. For example, sales of coins for necklaces or to be used as buttons or in paintings or painting frames, etc., are taxable.
It is presumed that all sales of coin and metal money are entitled to tax exemption: Provided, That in order to be exempt of tax persons who knowingly sell such things to buyers who are regularly engaged in the business of manufacturing jewelry or works of art must take a written, signed, and dated statement from such buyers that the coins or metal money are not being purchased for use in manufacturing jewelry or works of art. Artistic or cultural organizations which purchase such things are exempt of retail sales tax as provided in WAC 458-20-249
The tax exclusions explained herein apply equally to sales of precious metal bullion or monetized bullion transferred through documents of ownership, certificates, confirmation slips, or other indicia of ownership. Taxable Commissions
Amounts received as commissions upon sales of precious metals by dealers, brokers, and other selling and/or buying agents who sell or buy precious metal bullion or monetized bullion for the accounts of customers are subject to the service and other activities classification of business and occupation tax. The amount of any shared commission or fee paid to other dealers or commissioned agents associated in such transactions are deductible from the measure of this tax. However, no deduction is allowed for any of the dealer's or commissioned agent's own costs of doing business, including salaries or commissions paid to their own salespersons or other employees. Similarly, persons who receive any part of shared commissions derived from having been associated in transactions for the purchase or sale of precious metal or monetized bullion for the account of others, are themselves subject to service business tax measured by such amounts received. Use Tax
The use tax does not apply upon the use of precious metal bullion or monetized bullion in this state under such circumstances that the sale of such bullion to the user would not be taxable if made in this state as explained earlier herein. In all other cases the use tax applies upon the first use by a consumer of precious metals in this state if retail sales tax has not been paid. See WAC 458-20-178
[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300. 86-09-016 (Order ET 86-6), § 458-20-248, filed 4/9/86.]