The 1099 reform in the health care bill passed by Congress and signed by the President has turned the physical gold market upside down. Under the new law, gold buyers and sellers will have to fill out a 1099 on each side of the transaction if the sales price is greater than $600. As a result, many investors who have been buying gold as an anonymous way to protect their wealth are now feeling the heat.
The Economics of the 1099
Just months after passage, the Senate has already moved to remove the 1099 requirement from the health care bill in an effort to reduce transaction and accounting costs for small businesses. With many companies processing far larger orders than $600 on a near daily basis, it is certain that new regulation will prove to be time consuming and costly.
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Just today, the Wall Street Journal reported that in 2008, regulations cost businesses more than $1.7 trillion. This new regulation, one which virtually no business can avoid, will only add billions of dollars in additional regulation costs to an already burdened American economy.
However, what really matters here is that this new provision will be far more devastating to local gold and silver suppliers. These small businesses rely on volume to make a profit, with the spread between buy and sell prices often little more than a few percentage points. For a small coin shop to cover rent, utilities and other fixed expenses of $5,000 per month, it would have to sell as much as $100,000 in gold and silver to pay the bills. Add on regulatory costs, the time required to fill out each 1099, and the drop in investment after the bill passes, and what you have is an industry that has to sell even more product as its buyers run away scared.
October 4, 2010