Can you hide gold from the government?

You don't have to tell the U.S. government that you own the gold or that you're storing it. While I would be concerned about the theft of gold from my house, I would be just as concerned if some government agent would take my metals. Let's not keep you in suspense.

If you're not careful, your government can confiscate your gold. Also, you can probably do it without compensating it. The governments of the United States, Great Britain, Australia and many more have done so over the past 100 years. So the clear answer to whether the government can confiscate your gold is yes.

The real question is how can you avoid it? It also blocked imports of gold coins (a common measure to prevent the export of foreign exchange, similar to current tariffs on gold imports in places like India). The law, which was part of the Banking Act of 1959, allowed private citizens to seize gold if the governor determined that it was “appropriate” to do so, to protect the Commonwealth's currency or public credit. In other words, a resident of a developed country who owns gold jewelry has an asset that is far from the radar of attractive assets to seize. Except in times of active persecution, there are no historical precedents for the confiscation of gold jewelry.

In fact, it's hard to find a photo of you without gold, diamonds, or pearls around your neck or wrists. Despite the fact that the gold belonged to the Czechoslovak government and despite the fact that the English authorities had been warned of the possible transfer, it was carried out without problems. This takes gold jewelry away from its roots, when it was a form of portable wealth, intended to keep assets within reach. Traditionally in Europe and Asia, gold jewelry was a more portable alternative to art, traditional furniture and land, since they were assets outside the bank that maintained their value and were easily transmitted from generation to generation.

But what about confiscation? As history has shown, in the developed world, gold confiscations have focused on monetary metals, such as coins and ingots. Without the official backing of gold in most of today's major currencies, the specific motivation to “confiscate gold” that existed during many previous confiscations barely exists today. Under the name of Executive Order 6102, President Franklin Roosevelt enacted a law on April 5, 1933 “prohibiting the hoarding of coins, gold ingots and gold certificates in the continental United States.” The downside is that if things get out of hand, people are likely to want to see real gold reserves before relying on the dollar. Margins are easily two or three times higher than the value of gold, and it's not hard to find four or even five times more.

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