State Legal Tender Laws

The United States Constitution provides that "No State shall ... make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment in debts." At present four states have laws expressly recognizing gold and silver coin as legal tender. See, Colorado Revised Statutes Annotated § 11-61-101; Vernon's Annotated Missouri Statutes § 408.010; Oklahoma Statutes § 62-4500; and Utah Code Annotated (UCA) § 59-1-1501, et seq. The U.S. Supreme Court recognized in Lane County v. Oregon, 74 U. S. 71 (1868) that in the performance of its “essential functions” a State possesses broad powers to specify acceptable tender for the payment of taxes:

If, therefore, the condition of any State, in the judgment of its legislature, requires the collection of taxes in kind, that is to say, by the delivery to the proper officers of a certain proportion of products, or in gold and silver bullion, or in gold and silver coin, it is not easy to see upon what principle the national legislature can interfere with the exercise, to that end, of this power, original in the States, and never as yet surrendered.

Exercising such authority, Utah passed specific provisions in 2012 regarding the collection of sales tax on transactions consummated in specie legal tender. See UCA § 59-12-107(3)(h).