So every time a member of the public sells more than $600 worth of gold to a dealer, Piret said, the transaction will have to be reported to the government by the buyer.
Pat Heller, who owns Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Mich., deals with around 1,000 customers every week. Many are individuals looking to protect wealth in an uncertain economy, he said, while others are dealers like him.
With spot market prices for gold at nearly $1,200 an ounce, Heller estimates that he'll be filling out between 10,000 and 20,000 tax forms per year after the new law takes effect.
"I'll have to hire two full-time people just to track all this stuff, which cuts into my profitability," he said.
An issue that combines gold coins, the Obama health care law and the IRS is bound to stir passions. Indeed, trading in gold coins and bars has surged since the financial crisis unfolded and Obama took office, metal dealers said.
The buying of actual gold, as opposed to futures or options tied to the price of gold, has been a particularly popular trend among Tea Party supporters and others who are fearful of Obama's economic policies, gold industry members such as Heller and Piret said. Conservative/libertarian commentators, such as Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck, routinely tout precious metal on the air as being a safe, shrewd investment in an environment in which the financial system -- and paper money backed by the rest of the world's faith in the U.S. government's credit -- is viewed as increasingly fragile.