Precious Metals IRA

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How To Use Precious Metal IRAs to Protect Your Retirement Savings

The world is undergoing a global economic crisis in these uncertain times, and the equity markets have become unpredictable. Many IRA investors are skeptical of their accounts being excessively exposed to the stock market.

Although the rates are meager, the safe investment that many risk-averse investors would love is the fixed-income (money-market funds and treasuries). Investing much IRA money in precious metals such as platinum, silver, or even gold can be attractive to some people.

The detailed guide below illustrates how IRAs can be used to invest in bullion, actual precious metal coins, and the impact of these investments on the federal income tax.

Precious Metal Assets In IRA Accounts


The internal revenue code appears to discourage investing and holding metal assets in an IRA because of the risks involved. This is well portrayed in its take that any investment in a coin or metal Is deemed acquisition of a collectible asset.

As such, you can characterize the transaction for income tax as a taxable IRA distribution, after which the IRA owner buys the coin or these metals.

man looking at a clipboard

This regulation prevents IRAs from making any form of investment in any coin or metal that has been manufactured from precious metals.

Congress has come to save investors from the limitations of this regulation by confirming an essential legal exception to the above general rule.

The exception states that IRAs may put their investments in certain platinum silver and gold coins, as well as silver, palladium bullion, gold, and platinum that meet the applied standards of purity.

The bullion or coins must be in the hands of an IRA custodian or trustee instead of the actual IRA owner. These kinds of regulations apply to Roth IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, traditional IRAs, and SEP IRAs.

IRA Investments In Physical Bullion And Metal Coins


Due to the above tax code exemption, IRA owners can own some precious metal bullion and coins.

For instance, American Platinum Eagle coins; American Silver eagle coins; Canadian maple leaf gold coins; American gold eagle coins; and palladium bars(bullion), silver, gold, and platinum that meet the applied purity standards.

And silver bars must achieve purity of at least 99.9% and gold bars at least 99.5%. 

A precious metals IRA custodian normally charges a one-time account opening fee (around $50- $100), yearly account maintenance fees, administrative fees for filling out bank statements, etc.

Other expenses may include insurance fees ( $100-$300 or an amount that depends on the value of the funds stored) and ( $50-$300 or an amount that depends on the account's value).

Additional transaction fees may apply, including distributions, commissions, and contributions fees for buying and selling precious metals ( 2 to 5%).

Why Don't Financial Advisors Recommend Gold And Silver IRAs?


Very few investors in the U.S. own an ounce of silver or gold bullion, so it's not surprising that it is the rare few who are aware of the different options of holding an IRA account. 

Generally, a lack of awareness is often exacerbated by financial professionals, whose task is to offer education to investors.

It offers a much better option for cautious investors concerned with a limited paper portfolio. The option is better known as a self-directed IRA.

When you give yourself full power in your portfolio, you can directly invest in various things other than registered securities, such as precious metals, real estate, and private companies.

You can solve the problem yourself by setting up a self-directed account. Here, you can buy valuable coins and bars of gold or silver and receive immediate protection against the dollar's real and tangible metal devaluation.

And when you're done, you can physically lease this metal through IRA distributions and completely avoid exposure to paper assets or dollar-denominated investments.

Many precious metal-backed ETFs investors switched from these proxies to self-directed IRAs with physical bullion and kept them in the facilities chosen by the investors.

While ETFs provide some benefits to high-frequency or short-term traders, the risks associated with owning precious metals ETFs are becoming increasingly apparent.

The Advantages Of Precious Metals In An IRA


  • Precious metals such as silver and gold can be used to hedge equity inflation and fluctuations
  • The profits from asset growth and tax-deferred
  • Precious metals offer true portfolio diversification
  • Precious metals are physical assets that you can touch

Which metals can be included in the precious metals IRA?


  • Gold bars: The gold bug must have a fineness of 0.995+ or 24 karats. They must be hallmarked by a COMEX or NYMEX-approved assayer or refiner. These bars come in 400 Oz, 100 Oz that 2.15 Oz, 10 oz, and 1 oz.
  • Gold coins: The gold coins must have a purity of 0.9999 fineness or 24 karats Cept for the 22 karats U.S. Gold Eagle.

The gold bullion coins from Canada, Austria, Australia, and America are acceptable, unlike the South African Krugerrand that is unacceptable because it is a 22 karat bullion coin.

  • Silver bars and coins: They must contain a finest of 0.999 like the 1 oz Canadian silver maple leaf, Mexican silver Libertad, and U.S. Silver Eagle bullion coins. It is possible to buy silver bars of 1000 Oz or 100 Oz.

The pre-1965 bags of U.S. silver coins (silver dollars, half dollars, quarters, dimes) are not allowed in an IRA as their alloy contains 90% of silver only.

  • Palladium and platinum coins and bars: They need fineness of 0.9995+ and a COMX or NYMEX hallmark. Private companies that make palladium and platinum bars from 1 ounce to 100 ounces with hallmarks are acceptable.

Both Canadian and USA mints manufacture 1-ounce platinum coins that meet these requirements. Other nations such as Australia and Great Britain still manufacture 1-ounce platinum coins which are acceptable even if not known like the Canadian and U.S. coins.

What To Watch Out For:


If an IRA buys precious metals that fail to meet the IRC-specific requirements, these metals are deemed collectible items. At the time of purchase, these precious metals are considered to have been distributed from the IRA.

In the same case, if there is a violation of the storage requirements, the metals are deemed distributed on the date the violation occurred.

According to the IRS private letter ruling 2002 1705, the consequences of this kind of distribution is that the value of the precious metal amount is considered distributed and is subjected to the prevailing penalties and taxes.

Frequently Asked Questions


Are There Variations In The Holding Of Precious Metals In The Precious Metals IRA?

It is possible to hold precious metals in the IRA in the form of unallocated and allocated physical silver bullion, gold, exchange-traded funds, and certificates.

How Do Unallocated And Allocated Storage Differ?

The segregated or allocated storage applies to bars of gold that are at least 10 oz, ensuring that these bars are stored differently from other precious metals in the vault.

These gold bars can be identified by serial number, refinery, and size. During the distribution of these precious metals from the depository, only the exact bars that were initially deposited will be distributed.

For unsegregated or unallocated storage, the precious metals are commingled in a depository precious metals account. These bars are identified using refinery, weight, and size, for instance, a 100 ounces J.M. silver bar.

When these precious metals are distributed from the depository, the distribution is based on the refinery and the bar size, ensuring that only initially deposited bars will be distributed.

Coins are categorized according to the year and type of minting—for instance, a 1992 American Silver Eagle. During the distribution of the coin from the depository, the coin will be of the same year as the initially deposited coin.

Can You Store Precious Metals At Home?

The IRS discourages storing precious metals in an IRA at home. The IRA precious metals should be stored in a bank or a qualifying deposit. Established investment companies that work with precious metals will be able to work with a qualifying depository.

Why Should I Use A Depositary?

The IRS requirements have it that silver and gold must be in a physical depositary or trustee possession. It means you cannot hold on to silver or gold or even keep them in the safe deposit box of your local bank.

Are There Any Age-Related Requirements With The IRA Owners?

Considering the volatility and the risks that accompany precious metal prices, investing in IRA metal assets is an issue when the retirement age is reached or approached due to the potential losses.

You can proceed and invest in precious metals if you have already invested in other low-risk investments.

You are required to withdraw the corresponding amount from the accounts at least once during the year.

For instance, you could be having an IRA that invested in liquid assets such as mutual funds and traded stocks and another IRA that invested in precious metals like bullion.

When the IRA precious metals owner reaches 72 years, the IRA requires taking minimum distributions (RMDs). The person's traditional IRAs, including SIMPLE IRAs and SEP-IRAs, need to have enough liquidity to allow RMDs.

You can decide to take the yearly RMD from your liquid account and leave the account for precious metals untouched.

The Suspension Of RMDs For 2020 By The Cares Act

The Necessity Of Doing Your Due Diligence


If you want to explore more IRA precious metals investments, you may need additional due diligence. Research on other things related to precious metals investment apart from IRS guidance and rules.

You can use the internet to carry out the research, even on your prospective dealer. You can use the secretary of state's website in the home state of the investment company to check for how long the investment company has been in the business.

Check for the investment company's key personnel and owners, and then search the internet to learn more about them.

When doing this kind of due diligence, you might be surprised to find out ties to the precious metals investment company, lawsuits, and complaints on how the investment company is doing business and is facing prosecution for illegal business dealings.

You can discover what investors are saying about the dealer and their experiences on forums and online review websites such as BBB's website.

You can only use one proper way to own these metals in your IRA. Begin by choosing a custodian and then set up a self-directed account. Buy bullion from a reputable investment company and then store it in a third-party vault that is reputable. You might even be surprised to find such a facility near your home.

Final Thoughts


IRAs can invest in precious metals such as silver, platinum, palladium, and gold in different ways. You will have to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each way and then decide on which one suits you.

If you are confused about choosing the best investment for you, keep reading this blog and speak to your investment and tax advisors.