Recently by Bob Bauman: Tomorrow the World
It is a sad indictment of the dictatorial policies of the U.S. government when an honest citizen has to fear confiscation of his or her private property, but that is today’s reality in Police State America.
An official policy continues of wanton confiscation of gold and gold coins by U.S. government agents, not only from innocent travelers, but in lawsuits against legitimate gold coin owners.
With the gold price nearing $1900 an ounce today (Aug. 22) it appears that the feds will go right on grabbing all they can.
In spite of the fact that ownership and possession of gold is fully legal for Americans government agents are seizing gold from innocent people, offering no justification and with no complaints from Obama administration officials. The bureaucrats even refuse to explain what Americans must do to avoid their attacks on private property.
Case in point: in May 2010, an individual asked the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) whether or not he was required to file one of FinCEN’s own forms, U.S. Treasury Form 105, when and if he transported an unspecified quantity of Canadian Maple Leaf silver coins across the U.S. border. A year later when the bureaucrats at FinCEN finally got around to replying they said they wouldn’t tell him because they did not give individual case opinions!
ICE Airport Seizures
Also in May 2010 I reported to you that U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) agents and Border Protection officers at the Houston, Texas at Bush airport seized almost $160,000 in gold and silver in 14 separate seizures from individual travelers during that month, none of which was involved in any criminal activity. Reason given: failure to file an obscure form called a “Shipper’s Export Declaration Form.”
My colleague, Mark Nestmann has written about Mexican airport police and customs officers also seizing gold coins from innocent travelers.
All of which serves as a background for my response to an email from a Sovereign Society member that stated: “I have gold and silver coins that I want to take with me to another country by air. What is the best way to carry them out; declaring the current value at the airport; not declaring them, because the amount on the coins doesn’t show the true value, and therefore doesn’t go over the $10,000 limit. If I want to take as many as a hundred coins out, what would be the best way?”
Here is my reply which I hope may save your gold should you travel across U.S. borders:
I don’t wish to alarm you or overload you with information about this topic, but you need to understand the problems that can arise when gold and silver coins (or any precious metals) are transported from the U.S. to other countries, or the reverse.
Know the Law
My strong advice is for you to contact the nearest office of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency and explain what you propose to do and ask them what you should do to conform to the law. You should ask for and receive a written response from them so that you can use it when you actually depart. Also ask Customs if you need to notify them of your date and departure flight as a precaution against the very real possibility a local customs agent at the airport may not know the rules that cover this situation.
At a minimum you will need to complete Census Bureau Form 7525-V, “Shipper’s Export Declaration.” Form 7525-V is required for exported commodities with a value exceeding $2,500. At current silver and gold prices the coins would exceed this reporting threshold. Failure to file a shipper’s export declaration can result in the commodity’s seizure. The consequences for stating incorrect information on the Shippers Export Declaration form are severe and may result in a fine up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment.
When you actually do travel at your place of departure you will need to fill out and file a U.S. Treasury Form 105, required when transporting currency or negotiable instruments worth $10,000 or more.
Call Your Congressman
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 their assistance. They should be pleased to help you.
There may also be reporting formalities, and possibly customs duties payable, when you enter another country. You should contact your destination country’s customs authorities or their embassy or consulate here in the U.S. to determine how they deal with silver and gold imports. Don’t give them any definitive identification information against the possibility that government might put you on a travelers watch list.
To import gold and silver coins it might be advisable to hire a U.S. customs broker in advance of your trip. The customs broker would then 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 probably can advise you about how to contact customs brokers.
Of course, you should also bring with you proof of your ownership of the specific coins in your possession.
What the totalitarian U.S. government is doing to our privately held gold mirrors what it is doing to our constitutional rights and liberties – destroying them one at a time until we will find ourselves defenseless. Protect yourself by knowing the law and if need be, seek help from an attorney.
Reprinted with permission from The Sovereign Investor.
Robert E. Bauman is a former Member of the United States House of Representatives from Maryland, (1973–1981). He is also a former federal official and state legislator; Member, Washington, DC Bar; Graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center (1964) and the School of Foreign Service (1959), Washington, DC. Robert currently serves as legal counsel for the Sovereign Society.