torsdag 29. oktober 2015

Gold Eagles, Customs and Doublethink

Orwellian Newspeak is the method Norwegian Customs controls  thoughts through language. Doublethink is the technique of directly controlling your actions and thereby lead your thoughts away from the matter at hand.

In my two previous postings, Gold Eagles, Customs and Newspeak and Gold Eagles,  Gold Eagles, Customs and Blackwhite I looked at Customs’ practice and ideology stating that they do not know enough to decide, but you have to do what they do not decide. I have understood it that we have to pay Value Added Tax on the gold in 50 dollars Gold Eagles since it is a commodity and not legal tender, even if it is legal tender and not a commodity in the US.

An E-mail form Customs
The next section in the letter from Customs (Tollregion Oslo og Akershus) is simple to understand if you are a linguistic genius with a master’s degree in Doublethink.

Can the coin be imported as a collector’s item?
Translated from the email: If the coin in question does not qualify to be a circulation coin (Customs has already stated that it is a commodity) as mentioned above (in their letter), we will decide if the coins can be defined as collector’s items. Many coins fall into this category and can be imported with a consultation on the taxation to 20 %.
   However, for this to take place the general rules for a coin to be defined as a collector’s item must be fulfilled in accordance with the laws and regulations on Value Added Tax § 1-3-3. (However, I can’t find this regulation in the VAT regulation book). This rule refers among others to Custom Tariff position 97.04 (Which has not been valid since 1997).

I’ll accept, but grudgingly
However, Customs statement that I only have to pay 20 % tax on the Gold Eagle if… I repeat…. If the coin is a collector’s item. To be defined as a collector’s item Customs will look at the coins’ rarity and grade. And Customs’ conclusion?
   Translated from e-mail: Gold 50 dollars American Eagle coins are marketed as a collector’s item and we will presume that the coin has a value as a collector’s item. We therefore presume that this coin can be imported with a reduced calculation basis.

A nice piece of Doublethink, for if Customs had taken a quick look at United States Mint Web pages they would presumably have seen this statement: Authorized by the Bullion Coin Act of 1985, American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins quickly became one of the world's leading gold bullion investment coins. US. Mint In other words, the producer of the American Eagle Gold Bullion Coin markets the coin as an Investment coin!

One of the criteria Customs is using for their evaluation is the rarity of the coin. A quick look at the United States Mint’s bullion sales figures for 2015 show that so far this year 542 500 one oz. gold coins are sold. Not exactly a rare coin in my eyes.

Another of the criteria Customs looks at is the grade of the coin. The American Eagle coin is sold as a grade MS-70, Perfect Uncirculated. It should not be too difficult for Customs to decide the grade of the bullion coins sold by the thousands in Norwegian shops – without Value Added Tax!

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