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$600 sale? Tax form

A blizzard of paperwork could be about to hit numismatics.

Passage by Congress of the national health care legislation has had an unintended consequence to the nation’s coin collectors, vest-pocket dealers who buy and sell coins, and larger dealers who are frequent buyers of coins that collectors periodically liquidate as they trade up their collections for better coins, or simply sell to take a small profit or loss.

What has happened is that effective Jan. 1, 2012, the whole system of giving and receiving Internal Revenue Service 1099 forms will be turned on its head and all persons (including corporations) who are in business will now have to give 1099 tax reporting forms for coins and other goods that they sell as well as buy.

The responsibility for issuing forms kicks in at $600 for coins or bullion – not a very high level and one that has already started sounding alarm bells. It doesn’t matter in what form payment is made, whether cash, check, credit card, or Yap stone money, the $600 threshold applies.

There’s a bill introduced by Rep.  Dan Lungren  (H.R. 5141), which has gathered over 80 members of Congress as co-sponsors to repeal this section. Evidently, however, the drafters of the provision think there is a $17 billion loophole that this plugs.

The Industry Council for Tangible Assets is alerting member dealers and the public at large in the hope that some sense of outrage will lead to a ready modification before the law becomes operational in 2012.

Form 1099 is used to report independent contractor income, income from dividends, income from other things – and is one of the reasons why children receive tax bills for work or labor or services performed.

Section 9006 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148, signed into law by President Obama this spring) turns 1099 forms into reporting forms not only for independent contractor’s income – what they have long been used for – but also to show sales, gains and losses on purchases and sales of goods as part of a trade or business.

The section reads (in relevant part) “SEC. 9006. EXPANSION OF INFORMATION REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.

(a) IN GENERAL. – Section 6041 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new subsections:

‘‘(h) APPLICATION TO CORPORATIONS. – Notwithstanding any regulation prescribed by the secretary before the date of the enactment of this subsection, for purposes of this section the term ‘person’ includes any corporation that is not an organization exempt from tax under section 501(a).

‘‘(i) REGULATIONS. – The secretary may prescribe such regulations and other guidance as may be appropriate or necessary to carry out the purposes of this section, including rules to prevent duplicative reporting of transactions.’’

(b) PAYMENTS FOR PROPERTY AND OTHER GROSS PROCEEDS. –

Subsection (a) of section 6041 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended –

(1) by inserting ‘‘amounts in consideration for property,’’ after ‘‘wages,’’
(2) by inserting ‘‘gross proceeds,’’ after ‘‘emoluments, or other’’, and
(3) by inserting ‘‘gross proceeds,’’ after ‘‘setting forth the amount of such.’’

The property section means that if B. Max Mehl was selling coins to another major dealer of that era, a 1099 would have to be issued. When he bought from the public, the same thing is also required. The “report” does not necessarily measure profit or loss, but it does show activity.

The old exemption against corporations is also gone. If you buy or sell  more than $600 of coins, or whatever, from, to or with  a bullion dealer, for example, you have an obligation under the new law to issue 1099s.


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