To some advisors, gold may be considered an alternative asset because of its non-correlation with traditional investments and gold’s potential for substantial returns. To all advisors and clients, though, gold should be considered an alternative asset when it comes to taxation, as some types of gold transactions get unusual tax treatment.

“Short-term gains on gold investments are taxed as any other short-term capital gains, subject to ordinary tax rates,” says Tom Scanlon, president of Borgida & Company, an accounting and consulting firm in Manchester, Conn. Depending on the investor’s overall income, that tax rate ranges from 10% to 39.6%. As Scanlon notes, the 3.8% Medicare surtax also may apply to such gains if they’re reported by high-income taxpayers.

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