Can You Own Physical Gold in an IRA?

Investors interested in investing in physical gold must open a self-directed IRA and locate an approved depository, while also paying transaction and annual account maintenance fees.

Investors must consider all costs related to account setup fees and custodian or vaulting services when it comes to fees associated with precious metal investments, as well as costs related to storage and insuring precious metals.


Taxes and fees associated with individual retirement accounts (IRAs) depend on the type of investment made. Physical gold investments, which are considered collectibles and therefore subject to an up to 28% tax rate when sold back into circulation, but gold used as part of an IRA does not fall under this category if stored with an outside custodian; hence investors are exempt from having to pay collectibles tax rates when withdrawing funds from their retirement account.

An IRA that invests in physical gold must comply with IRS requirements that it be legal tender with an established face value and consist of coins or bars issued from US mints that meet purity standards of 99.5% or greater. Collectible coins are prohibited and some gold ETFs do not meet this criterion; but US minted bullion that meets purity standards exceeds this minimum standard may still be eligible.

Additionally, an IRA that invests in gold must store it safely with a depository and pay an annual storage and insurance fee in addition to its initial setup fee.


Precious metals may seem like an appealing investment choice, but the IRS has strict requirements on what qualifies for inclusion in a precious metal IRA. Most importantly, gold must meet certain purity standards; additionally, since its production doesn’t provide tax benefits like traditional investments do.

Gold IRAs also carry various fees. This may include one-time and ongoing charges such as storage for physical precious metals. Furthermore, many IRA custodians charge an opening fee when processing new accounts.

When liquidating your Gold IRA, additional taxes and penalties could apply. To minimize them, an “in-kind” distribution might be an attractive solution; but make sure your chosen dealer offers fair market pricing; otherwise you might end up selling off precious metals at much less. Neither option would likely meet investors’ preferences well.


Investors utilizing self-directed gold IRAs must be cognizant of all costs related to buying, owning, and storing precious metals; some costs are hidden while others can add up quickly resulting in significant annual charges.

These expenses include custodian, IRA depository and metal dealer fees. Investors should select a custodian that works with IRS-approved depositories that ensure metals are stored safely while adhering to IRS guidelines.

Gold IRA companies often partner with custodians and depositories they trust, though investors can also select their own. Some IRA depository options provide secure storage while others pool precious metal assets among various investors’ accounts.

Depository fees must also be paid on an annual basis to store gold in an approved facility; these fees can increase when combined storage is involved, and are best avoided at home as it’s more prone to theft and may violate IRS rules.


The IRS permits precious metals, such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium, to be included as investments within an individual retirement account (IRA). However, unlike traditional investments these metals cannot be taken home with you or stored at your own house; rather their storage must take place at an IRS-approved depository.

Gold and other precious metals can provide an effective means of diversifying a portfolio and protecting it against inflation, but investors must remember that precious metals don’t produce cash flow for themselves and therefore do not provide as much diversification than stocks and bonds do.

Investment in physical precious metals via an IRA requires the special type of account known as a self-directed IRA (SDIRA). This type of account allows investors to select their investments freely, purchasing and storing gold at will. But SDIRA accounts come with extra fees which can add up over time; often hidden and hard to assess, it is crucial that investors select an provider who charges low annual fees in order to maximize savings potential.

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