Can Gold Coins Be Held in an IRA?

Gold investments have long been seen as safe havens during times of economic unease, yet many individuals wonder whether or not their gold coins can be held within an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

IRS rules regarding Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) are stringent. Collectibles generally aren’t permitted in an IRA account; however, precious metals do make an exception for their inclusion.

Investing in precious metals eligible for an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) can be an excellent way to diversify your retirement portfolio. But before making any purchases, it’s essential that you fully comprehend all the rules and regulations pertaining to such an endeavor.


People invest in gold coins as a hedge against currency collapse and diversify their portfolios. Many believe that fiat currencies like USD are susceptible to inflationary pressures and fiscal irresponsibility.

Investors buy precious metals as a hedge against inflation and to safeguard their retirement savings. IRA-approved bullion products come from various world-class mints with bars and rounds meeting stringent minimum fineness standards; furthermore they must also come from refiners accredited by COMEX/NYMEX, LME, NYSE/Liffe or ISO 9000 for refining, assaying and manufacturing processes.

Physical possession may be tempting for investors, but it is essential to remember that the IRS restricts direct control of an IRA by an individual. The Tax Code offers an exception that permits investing in coins and bullion that meet purity requirements, including the popular American Eagle coin; one exception would be South African Krugerrand coins which do not qualify due to low fineness levels.


Many investors purchase precious metals as a hedge against inflation and to diversify their portfolios. Investors can either hold physical bullion coins with amounts and purity printed directly onto them, or purchase shares of gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

The IRS does not permit IRAs to own collectibles, but there are exceptions for gold bullion that meets certain standards. These include coins and bars produced at national government mints or refineries accredited by COMEX/NYMEX, LME, LBMA or ISO 9000 that meet minimum fineness requirements.

Investors should conduct thorough research before selecting their investment options and selecting a company with transparent fees on its website, secure storage facilities and insured shipments. When taking physical possession of metals from their IRA account owner’s possession it would be considered a distribution and subject to taxation; but when rolling them over via direct institution-to-institution transfer there would no taxes applied.

Exchanged Traded Funds (ETFs)

A standard IRA is not designed for investing in precious metals. According to IRS regulations, gold is considered collectible and therefore not eligible to be included within an IRA; however, exceptions do exist for coins and bullion that meet specific fineness requirements.

Selecting precious metals carefully is crucial for your IRA’s future success. When adding gold to their retirement portfolio, individuals should search for an IRA custodian who allows self-directed IRA accounts.

Precious metals typically qualify for investment into an Individual Retirement Account when they possess a minimum fineness level of 99.5% and come from either a national government mint, approved refiner, or assayer. Coins such as American Eagle and Krugerrands meet this criteria, though other coins do not. Some companies charge higher markups on numismatic coins than bullion bars, so be sure you understand any fees before investing. Furthermore, annual account maintenance, storage, and insurance fees may apply too.


Investors looking for diversification beyond stocks and bonds may wish to diversify their retirement assets with precious metal investments; however, IRS rules for investments in collectible items are complex. Generally, an IRA cannot invest in collectible items as such transactions count as distributions that may incur taxes (if traditional) or penalties (if Roth) when physically acquired by the investor.

IRS rules do permit Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) to invest in gold bars and rounds that meet certain fineness standards, produced at refineries approved by NYMEX or COMEX or national government mints. They are also permitted to invest in certain coins such as American Eagle coins; however, any items stored must be in an IRS-approved depository.

Some investors employ an LLC IRA structure in order to avoid custodian fees and facilitate transactions, yet the IRS has determined that this does not circumvent their requirement that precious metals must be physically held by a trustee (Section 408(m)(3), flush language).

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