IRS and Gold IRA Regulations

by Melanie J. Martin

Investing in gold through your individual retirement account can help to ensure you'll live comfortably in your golden years. Gold has remained a stable commodity for many years, with a low level of volatility. However, the Internal Revenue Service has stringent regulations regarding how to invest in gold for an IRA.


You may need a new IRA plan that accepts gold, because not all IRA plans accept precious metals. Talk with your IRA custodian to select a gold-silver plan, filing the appropriate paperwork, or find a new IRA custodian (or IRA trustee, who has a very similar role) if your current custodian doesn't handle gold IRA plans. Then transfer your funds to the new plan.


The IRS forbids placing gold collectors' coins in an IRA. This rule holds true for collectibles in general. Furthermore, purchasing gold collectible coins can be risky, as only qualified dealers can determine their value. Thus, most investors should purchase gold bullion instead, which the IRS does not consider a collectible. However, the IRS does allow gold coins that are classified as legal tender rather than collectibles to be placed in an IRA. These coins derive their value from their legal face value rather than speculated worth. Your gold must have at least 99.5 percent purity as well.


Your gold bullion must be stored in an approved depository facility, according to IRS regulations. This facility must be owned by a third party, not by you or your IRA custodian. Your IRA custodian facilitates the storage of your gold with the third party. You must pay for the storage of the gold, in addition to other gold IRA fees. Storage costs typically range from $125 to $250 annually, according to the Smart Money website. Other typical gold IRA costs include a one-time set-up fee and an annual management fee of $75 to $250.

Other Methods

In addition to purchasing physical gold for your IRA, you can also purchase stock in gold. Purchasing gold exchange-traded funds gives you another way of investing in gold without taking possession of it. The IRS allows exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, to be part of an IRA account. These funds are essentially pools of assets, the shares of which can be traded like stocks. Before investing in an ETF, however, check with your IRA custodian to make sure you're investing in an ETF permitted by your account.

About the Author

Melanie J. Martin specializes in environmental issues and sustainable living. Her work has appeared in venues such as the Environmental News Network, "Ocean" magazine and "GREEN Retailer." Martin holds a Master of Arts in English.

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