It may seem as if Uncle Sam has his hands in your pocket every time you turn around. So, it’s no surprise that the average person expects to be taken to the cleaners when you sell your jewelry or you sell your gold. The good news is that paying taxes on pre-owned jewelry isn’t the norm.
Taxes on Pre-Owned Jewelry in a Nutshell
The rule of thumb when you sell your diamond ring, for instance, is that you only pay taxes on profit. For this purpose, the government views the value of the ring as the fair market value at the time you purchase it. So, if you sell your jewelry for $100 but paid $200, there’s no taxes at all.
On the other hand, if you bought a piece for $500 and then sell your gold necklace later for $1,000, you would pay taxes. That $500 profit is in essence income, and the IRS wants a piece of the pie.
Tax Implications in Depth
The IRS treats gold, platinum, diamonds and the jewelry made from and with them to be capital assets.
A capital asset is a significant possession. Other examples include vehicles, homes, stocks, art and investment properties. A capital asset is generally something that you intend to keep at least a year. If you purchase a diamond ring you intend to use or even just enjoy, it’s a capital asset. If a jeweler purchases a diamond ring that he/she intends to sell, it’s inventory.
The income we mentioned earlier is actually called capital gains. If you purchase real estate and sell it for a profit, then you’ve realized capital gains and must pay taxes on it. The same thing happens when you sell your diamond ring, necklace or whatever for a profit.
On the other hand, if you sell jewelry for less that its fair market value at acquisition, you realize a capital loss. Capital losses can be used to offset other capital gains that you may have realized throughout the year.