What is IRA Eligible Gold?

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Gold is always a reliable investment. Be it for times of economic uncertainty, profit targeting, or retirement, gold can hedge your wealth and build real opportunities.

Investors who want to diversify their portfolios do well to have at least 10 - 15 percent of their holdings in precious metals. However, when you’re considering a retirement plan, not all gold will qualify.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States does want you to report and verify the gold you hold.  

Therefore, only a few types of gold products are eligible for your retirement accounts.

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What is IRA Eligible Gold?


Only the gold that meets the guidelines set by the IRS will qualify for your individual retirement account. This is called IRA-eligible gold and is more common than you might think.

Before even thinking about the gold you want to buy, however, consider what it means to own an IRA. 

These retirement accounts are tax havens and stores of wealth, but those benefits are offered strictly for retirement planning. You don’t have to meet the gold eligibility standard if you aren’t preparing a retirement account.

When you do find IRA-eligible gold, however, its requirements are specific and set by the IRS.

What Are the Requirements for IRA-Eligible Gold?


You can begin shopping for gold products once you know where to look and what to look for. These standards might change at times. For this reason, you must work with a licensed custodian that will manage your gold and IRA assets.

They will update you on any changes as well as ensure that you only possess eligible products. The basic requirements are as follows:

  • No Collectibles

Coins, bars, and jewelry do qualify for your IRA, but when these products are collectibles, they won’t qualify. Collectibles are considered rare and are traded in drastic margins where prices can fall or rise within.

These price margins make collectibles risky and often difficult to account for. Even if they ended up in your IRA, they won’t be protected from taxation. 

  • In Mint Condition and Encapsulated

There are different standards for preserving your gold coins based on their proof. Proof is the type of finish that the surface of a coin has. When proofed, its finish is more reflective and brilliant.

To preserve such coins, you need an approved protection sleeve or casing. Non-proof coins must be maintained with similar standards. These not only need protection but are only accepted if they’re uncirculated.

Unlike proof coins, non-proofs are recognized by their cloudy, non-reflective sheen. 

  • Only From Accredited Governments

The IRS, being a government agency, only approves items that it believes are pure, resalable, and from legal entities. This makes most of the gold coins distributed by the U.S. qualifiers.

Investors can also buy gold products from Great Britain, China, Canada, or Austria. However, there are even more limits on coins from foreign sources. 

  • Those Having At Least 99.5% Purity

The purity rate of gold is a criterion you have to meet for a gold IRA. Interestingly, gold with 100 percent purity would count as a risky investment. Gold is never 100% pure, so any products claiming such could be a “bait and switch.”

Trace elements of nickel or copper are often fused with gold to ensure that coins and bars remain solid and whole. There’s an expectation of a 99.5% purity for the gold items stored in an IRA. 

The Risk of Collectibles and the Insurance on Eligible Gold Products


Keep in mind that the IRS puts limits on collectible items because of their measure of risk. This risk is inherent in the way collectibles are priced. Unlike government-issued gold, there’s no global entity backing the price of public collectibles.

Instead, a world of private interest raises and lowers prices based on intrinsic values. However, intrinsic value is objective.  

At any moment, a rare painting, which is a collectible, can be quoted 10 times above its value. If you bought that painting but sold it for 20 times more than its value, then your original reporting with the IRS is invalid.

Even more, the opposite can happen with your rare collectibles.  Those items could fall in value by up to 20 times, making your investment not only less but a negative.

Though the IRS would have entered those items into your IRA, the IRA, in an instant, could be worth nothing. Approved products also have the potential for price spikes, but they’re evaluated in a market that’s more stable overall.

This is because you’ll buy eligible products from a market maker. This is an entity that will also buy back the gold they sold to you.  This can’t be guaranteed with “rare collectibles” even if they’re gold coins

When coins are minted by a government, that entity will honor a specific price if buying those coins back. Even more, the IRS faces a risk of IRAs being used to launder artwork.

In these cases, the IRS would be enabling criminal activity or political sacrilege in some cases. Most collectibles do not qualify.  For more information on this please read our article on gold IRA tax rules and regulations.

Common Gold Products Made by the U.S. Mint


There are a handful of gold products that you can deposit each time you store more gold in an IRA.

These items are held by a majority of gold IRAs and will help to diversify your wealth. If you can easily recognize those products, then setting up your retirement account will be easier.

Your safe is where you want to store any collectibles, rare coins, or gold from third world countries. The following, however, are specifically chosen for their IRA eligibility. 

A Look at the Most Popular IRA Eligible Gold Coins


American Eagles

This is America’s most popular coin and is eligible as a proof or non-proof coin. The American Eagle shows Lady Liberty in stunning gold.

The coin is highly reflective or with a cloudy finish depending on its proof. Its details are clear; the back side of the coin has an eagle in full fight. 

American Gold Buffalos

This coin comes in a full-troy ounce and 24-karat gold. The Native American portrait on the front side of the coin is unmistakable.

On its reverse, a strong image of an American buffalo is stamped in detail. This coin, however, is only allowed in your IRA as a non-proof. 

Austrian Gold Philharmonics

This Austrian coin is prized for its illustration of fine instruments from the Vienna Philharmonics orchestra. From violins to harps, the reserve side of this coin is an attractive display.

On its obverse side, you’ll find a dazzling depiction of the Golden Hall, the Wiener Musikverein. 

Canadian Maple Leaf

The Canadian Maple Leaf coin honors its country’s national tree. This large leaf makes the coin's reverse side and is recognizable without delay.

The coin is produced in a variety of sizes but will often be sold in a single troy ounce. Its obverse side shows Queen Elizabeth II. 

Keeping in Mind the Weight of Your Gold Investment


The Internal Revenue Service specifically allows four weight classes for precious metal IRAs. These weights give you the chance to find bullion products with a variety of characteristics. The legal sizes, however, cannot exceed one troy ounce.

The entire value of a single IRA can be between $6,000 to $7,000 but not through a single gold item. Though the smallest sized coin or bar you can hold is one-tenth of an ounce, the largest single item can’t exceed 1.09714 ounces. 

The weights in between these are half- and quarter-troy ounces. As long as the total value doesn’t exceed the rule, you can have as many individual coins or bars as your IRA can hold.

The financial limit for every individual retirement account is based on age. Those who’re under 70 are limited to $6,000 per IRA account. Those over 70, if they so choose, can hold up to $7,000 per IRA account.

However, there’s no limit on the number of retirement accounts you can own.

Why Put Gold in Your IRA?


Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) protect your retirement as well as your family's financial security.

These special accounts allow you to set aside tax protected savings that you can use in the future.   

With these long term accounts it's important to allocate a significant portion to assets that are solid and reliable, so you have a secure and worry-free retirement. 

a couple listening to a financial advisor

You can have cash in an IRA, but that is devaluing at a rapid pace and inflation is out of control

You need an asset that's dependable, retains it's value, and even increases in value over time, and there is no better asset for this than gold. 

With the world's economy struggling through lockdowns, shortages, wars, and inflation, uncertainty has never been higher and investors are protecting themselves by placing physical gold in IRA's. 

A gold IRA investment prospers from these crisis that negatively affect most other assets. 

Risk is knowing the economic dangers and doing nothing to protect yourself and your family. 

Safety is knowing the economic dangers and taking action to protect your financial future, and this is easy to do with a Gold IRA.

Taking a Bold Stance With Your Retirement Portfolio


Preparing for retirement calls for careful planning. What gold offers your portfolio is security against rising costs and economic instability. This is why gold and other precious metals should make up to 10 - 15 percent of your retirement fund.

Once that gold enters an approved IRA account, then it can rise in value without penalties or taxation. Understanding what IRA-eligible gold is might be daunting; however, choosing the right products won’t be.   

Speak with your custodian for starters. They already have a list of products that will guide you to a better retirement. A trusted custodian makes sure you work within the boundaries of the law.

They will then manage your fund and propose new gold products as they arise. Trusted custodians even manage your direct deposits so that you never miss a step toward retiring.

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