Can You Hold a Gold ETF in a Roth IRA?

The IRS generally prohibits investments by retirement accounts (IRAs) in collectible assets like gold. However, under a recent practice leading regulation (PLR), they have permitted these IRAs to invest in ETFs that hold physical gold and are traded on stock markets.

Like stocks, gold exchange traded funds trade on major stock exchanges to ensure liquidity and an accurate pricing model, while also having lower storage and handling costs than physical gold.


Gold has long been considered a safe-haven investment during times of economic turmoil, often outperforming stocks by offering diversification with lower risk-bearing minimum investments and less storage fees than physical precious metals. Gold ETFs provide diversification with low minimums while eliminating these potential downside risks.

Gold ETFs offer investors several advantages when investing, such as being listed on stock exchanges with high liquidity that allows for easy buying or selling, unlike physical bullion which attracts entry or exit loads and brokerage fees. Furthermore, these tax-efficient investments do not pay dividends or interest, nor qualify as collectibles so investors are exempt from paying taxes when withdrawing funds from their IRAs and do not owe taxes upon realizing profits when selling shares or ETFs.


Consider ETFs when considering your investment options to take full advantage of their diversification benefits. While physical gold is valuable, it requires storage and doesn’t produce income. Furthermore, finding custodians, dealers, or depository facilities willing to accept it may prove challenging.

ETFs can be quickly purchased or sold daily on the stock market, making them simple to add or subtract from your portfolio. Furthermore, precious metals may be acquired through custodians that specialize in this asset class.

Tax implications must also be carefully considered when investing in physical gold, with profits taxed at a higher rate than regular capital gains. ETFs, on the other hand, are considered financial investments, meaning investors pay taxes at the same rate as stocks on long-term gains. Some IRA custodians only permit investing in physical gold through them which often proves more costly and less liquid.


An ETF gives investors greater flexibility, with less expenses associated with buying physical gold. Before making your choice, however, it’s essential that you understand all of the differences between physical and ETF gold IRAs in order to make an informed decision.

Physical Gold IRAs require the services of a custodian to store and maintain precious metals safely over time, which is an ongoing expense that can quickly add up over time. Some companies provide competitive pricing with lower investment minimums than traditional custodians at fraction of the cost.

Physical gold IRAs are considered collectibles by the IRS, so profits from their investments are subject to long-term capital gains taxes of 28% instead of ordinary income rates that apply to stocks and mutual funds. Furthermore, physical gold investments cannot be liquidated quickly like their stock counterparts.


Gold ETFs provide an efficient, affordable method of investing in precious metals with lower management fees – making them the ideal solution for investors on tight budgets.

However, investors should keep in mind the risks involved with investing in gold ETFs. Market fluctuations and other factors could cause your investment to lose its value; furthermore ETFs are less liquid than individual shares of stock.

Gold ETF investments carry an additional risk: selling them before one year has passed will incur a higher capital gains tax rate than selling stocks or bonds would. If unsure, consult an expert before investing.

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