What is IRS Code 408 M3?

What is IRS code 408 m3

Many are unaware that you can purchase gold, silver and palladium bullion along with IRS-approved coins using your retirement funds. IRC Section 408(m) lists which types of coins and precious metals can be bought with retirement savings accounts.

All coins and bullion must be held “physically in the possession of” an appointed trustee; while technically depository facilities satisfy this criterion, some tax practitioners consider that to not suffice.


IRS Code 408 m3 is an integral component of America’s tax system, yet can be challenging to grasp and abide by. This section of the code specifies which assets can be held within an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), including collectibles and precious metals. Individuals should seek professional guidance when opening and managing self-directed IRAs as this type of investment requires knowledge both of IRS regulations as well as of individual financial circumstances.

With recent economic uncertainty, precious metals are increasingly popular as an investment option for investors seeking security. Therefore, it’s crucial that investors know how to invest in precious metals without violating IRS rules. The best approach would be holding IRS approved coins and bullion/precious metals at an approved non-bank depository as defined in IRC 408 or at an IRS trustee as per IRC section 408. This ensures they do not violate section 408 by holding these items personally within an IRA account.


Due to extensive advertising by precious metals and coin dealers, many people are aware that IRS-approved coins and bullion/precious metals can be purchased with retirement account funds. For maximum safety when doing this however, only purchase items located within an approved depository as defined in IRC Section 408 can be bought using retirement account funds.

Though most people think of coins when they hear “bullion”, other forms of investment-grade gold and silver exist which have value as bullion investments such as bars or rounds; often at reduced premiums than coins.

Self-Directed IRA LLCs may hold gold or silver bullion in a bank safe deposit box in their name to meet IRC Section 408 requirements; however, TAMRA states that state coins can also be held personally and must meet this criteria as well.

Precious Metals

Precious metals are naturally-occurring metal chemical elements with an exceptionally high economic value due to their scarcity, industrial applications, or use as currency. The term also encompasses jewelry-grade metals used for jewelry or coinage production. Precious metals tend to be less reactive than most elements and feature shiny surfaces with smooth ductility for jewelry or coinage use.

Gold is perhaps the most iconic precious metal. With properties that include noncorroding properties, shapeability and having been an investment staple for millennia – making it highly coveted by investors – its properties make it highly prized among precious metal investors. Other precious metals include silver which has many industrial applications including photography and circuitry as well as platinum used to create corrosion-resistant mirrors for telescopes as well as catalytic converters in automobiles.

Investors can invest in precious metals through exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or physical bullion coins or bars, while another way would be buying shares in precious metal mining, streaming or royalty companies such as First Majestic Silver or Wheaton Precious Metals which may come with more risks such as cost overruns in developing new mines as well as mismanagement by management.


Individual Retirement Accounts, commonly referred to as “IRAs”, are tax-advantaged savings accounts. You can fund an IRA either with money from yourself or contributions from an employer, with options ranging from traditional, Roth, SEP and SEP IRAs available. Contributions may be tax-deductible while earnings remain tax-free until retirement; required minimum distributions begin at age 73 in 2022 and 75 thereafter.

Investing in collectibles with your IRA could potentially result in income when sold; however, when purchased using your own funds and later sold back by your IRA it does not count as taxable sale as they have already reported the purchase in your income tax return – known as disqualified person transactions.

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