唔好帶金銀幣進出美國, 好大機會俾美海關充公 !
By Robert E. Bauman
Imagine you are docilely going through the long security line at John F. Kennedy International Airport, headed for your overnight flight to London Heathrow. As your carry-on bag goes through the X-ray, a burly TSA agent is called over to confer with the machine operator. He then looks at you and says: "Please come with me, sir."
As you are led to a small cubicle, you nervously try to think of what you might have done wrong. While you open your bag as instructed, the stern-faced TSA agent points to a small package and demands to know what it contains. Inside are antique, collectible gold coins that you intend to sell to the same British dealer from whom you bought them years ago, but now they are worth much more.
Now the agent says: "I'm sorry, sir, I will have to confiscate them, but I will give you a receipt. You have the right to file an appeal."
You stand there dumbfounded, the whole purpose of your journey destroyed.
Safely Transporting Your Coins or Precious MetalsSerious problems can arise when gold or silver coins (or any precious metals) are transported personally out of the U.S. to other countries by auto, airplane, boat or public transportation - or the reverse, when entering the U.S.
In May 2010, the Houston reported that U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) agents and Border Protection officers at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport confiscated more than $250,000 in cash and almost $160,000 in gold and silver in 14 separate seizures from individual travelers during that one month alone.
At the time, I checked with several precious-metal experts and none had ever heard of government agents doing what these ICE agents did. It was news to them - and to me. And Houston, of course, is one of many international airports and entry and exit points in the U.S. So those figures could be multiplied many times over.
Because of the confiscations that already have occurred, I urge you not to travel with precious metals in any form, including coins. Any border crossing with more than $10,000 or more in U.S. dollars or foreign equivalent in any form must be reported on U.S. Customs Declaration Form 6059B. If you're moving U.S.-issued gold or silver coins, some advisors claim that you need to declare only the face value; $50 for a one-ounce gold Eagle, for instance, but that may cause trouble. Your friendly Homeland Security Administration agent isn't likely to be terribly sympathetic to this argument, and just might seize your coins.
Also, when you arrive in your intended foreign country you may face another Customs gauntlet. However, if you declare the gold as "cash," you'll hopefully be permitted to proceed.
If you must personally carry coins, my advice is to contact the nearest office of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, well ahead of travel, and explain what you propose to do and ask them how you can conform to the law. You should ask for and receive a written response so that you can show it if questioned by ICE agents. Also ask Customs if you need to notify them of your date and departure flight as a precaution against the very real possibility that a local Customs agent at the airport may not know the rules that cover this situation.
You will need to complete and bring with you a Census Bureau Form 7525-V, Shipper's Export Declaration. This form is required for exported commodities with a value exceeding $2,500. At current silver and gold prices, many coins would exceed this reporting threshold. Failure to file this declaration can result in seizure. The consequences for stating incorrect information are severe, including confiscation. They may also result in a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment.
If you have difficulty dealing with the U.S. Customs office, call the office of your local Member of the U.S. House of Representatives or one of your U.S. Senators and ask for their assistance. They should be pleased to help you.
There probably will be reporting formalities and Customs duties payable when you enter a foreign country. Most require you to fill out, sign and submit Customs Declarations upon entry, asking if you are importing currency or the equivalent. You should contact your destination country's embassy or consulate here in the U.S. to determine how they deal with silver and gold imports or exports.
Don't give them any definitive identification or travel information in case they put you on a travelers watch list.
If you intend to import gold or silver coins from offshore, it is advisable to hire a U.S. customs broker in advance of your travel. The customs broker can appraise the value of the coins and arrange for payment of the foreign country's Customs or other goods and services taxes. Your local FedEx or UPS office can advise you about how to contact customs brokers in your area. Of course, you should also bring with you proof of your ownership of specific coins or precious metals, as well as a statement of appraised value from a recognized appraiser.
[An even better way to avoid the dangers of transporting your gold and precious metals is to keep them stored overseas to begin with. For his Offshore Confidential subscribers, Bob Bauman is constantly doing due diligence on the best places to safely and legally keep your money overseas, as well as retirement and residency strategies to help you find a secure future around the globe.