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Precious Metals or Coins with Your IRA or 401(k)

How to buy precious metals in an IRA
5 Minute Read

Precious Metals IRA 

Because of advertising by precious metals dealers, it has become well known that precious metals can be held in an individual retirement account. As an IRA investor, you can purchase some of the most popular metals, such as gold, silver and palladium bullion.

Individual retirement accounts can even hold certain coins. The IRC has a list of coins and precious metals that you can purchase, because the IRC doesn’t consider them to be “collectibles.” You can find this list in IRC Section 408(m). Section (m) applies to both IRAs and 401(k) plans.

Self-Directed IRA or Solo 401(k) for Precious Metals

A Self-Directed IRA or Solo 401(k) allows you to better diversify your retirement portfolio. By using one of these retirement vehicles, you can generate tax-free gains on the sale of metals or coins. More importantly, if you have “checkbook control” over your Self-Directed IRA LLC or act as a trustee of your Solo 401(k) plan, you can make a precious metals investment as quickly as writing a check.

IRA Financial Group is one of few institutions that can help clients establish a precious metals IRA. Our specialists will establish an IRS approved Self-Directed IRA and Solo 401(k) so you can hold precious metals and coins.

What Type of Precious Metals and Coins are IRS Approved?

Precious Metals

Internal Revenue Code Section 408(m) lists the type of precious metals and coins that you can purchase with your IRA funds. These include:

  • Any coin that is:
    • Gold
    • Silver
    • Platinum
    • Any coin issued under the laws of any state
  • Any gold, silver, platinum or palladium bullion of a fineness equal to or exceeding the minimum fineness that a contract market requires for metals which may be delivered in satisfaction of a regulated futures contract. This is the case if such bullion is in the physical possession of a trustee under subsection (a) of this section.

The IRS approves American Eagle and U.S. state mined coins of a certain finesse. The Technical and Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1988 allows the purchase of state minted coins.

Precious Metals

Holding Precious Metals in a Self-Directed IRA

A number of IRA investors are not aware that they can use their retirement funds to invest in precious metals. This is because traditional financial institutions don’t tell their clients about alternative asset investments. They want IRA holders to invest in their products, such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds. In other words, traditional investments.

However, you can purchase, hold and sell precious metals with a Self-Directed Precious Metals IRA. Additionally, you can make withdrawals of bullion to physically possess this asset.

You can use an IRA to invest in precious metals in a few simple steps. You must first establish a Self-Directed individual retirement account.

1. Establish Your Self-Directed IRA or Solo 401(k)

Take control over your investment decisions with a Self-Directed IRA. If you’re self-employed or a small business owner with no full-time employees, you can establish a precious metals IRA with a Solo 401(k) plan. With IRA Financial, we will assign you with a retirement tax professional to establish your account at a new FDIC and IRS approved custodian.

Choose a self-directed IRA custodian, such as IRA Financial Trust for a cost-effective, easy solution.

2. Fund Your Self-Directed IRA

Now it’s time to fund your SDIRA. Your new custodian will request the transfer of IRA assets from your current IRA custodian. If done correctly, the transfer will be tax-free and penalty-free. Typical, retirement funds move from one account to another by way of a transfer or rollover.

3. Invest in Precious Metals

With the funds now in your newly established Self-Directed IRA, you’re manager of the IRA LLC and you’re ready to all IRS approved precious metals tax and penalty-free.

The Advantage of a Precious Metals IRA

Many IRA investors avoid precious metals investments due to lack of knowledge. But a precious metals IRA is a good way to increase your wealth as the value of the dollar decreases. All it takes to start investing in this asset is due diligence. Make sure you do your research on all investments.

The most popular precious metals are, as you may know, gold and silver. However, all precious metals are in great demand and that doesn’t appear to be changing. Take a look at additional benefits this alternative asset has to offer:

Precious Metals
  1. Easily convert precious metals, like gold and silver, into cash.
  2. During inflation, precious metals can act as a hedge.
  3. Because it’s an alternative asset, precious metals help to diversify your retirement account portfolio.
  4. Precious metals, such as gold and silver, are accepted all over the world. There are a few investments that are accepted across the globe.

Rules Regarding Precious Metals in a Self Directed IRA (SDIRA)

There are certain IRC rules to be aware of before purchasing, holding and selling precious metals. Some of the rules are as follows:

  • You cannot hold IRS approved precious metals personally. IRC states that you cannot hold gold, silver or palladium bullion personally. You must go through a trustee or approved trust company to possess precious metals.
  • IRS approved coins must also be held by a trustee.Although there is little IRS guidance on holding IRS approved coins personally, it’s fairly safe to assume that they should be in physical possession of a trustee. In fact, most tax practitioners believe they should be held by a trustee, as coins may also be bullion.
  • The LLC manager (in the name of the LLC) can purchase coins. However, if you have a Solo 401(k), the trustee will have to purchase the coins for the benefit of the plan. The coins should be held in a depository, as this is the safest approach.
  • An IRA holder can hold coins in a safe deposit box. It has to be at a U.S. bank and in the name of the Self-Directed IRA LLC, but it is permittable.

The Final Verdict on the Rules

IRA Financial Group suggests that all clients seeking to purchase IRS approved coins or precious metals/bullion with their retirement account hold them in the physical possession of a trustee, such as a depository.

For Self-Directed IRA LLC or self-directed Solo 401(k) plan clients seeking to hold IRS approved coins and precious metals at a bank safe deposit box, we believe that this position has some risk. There is not enough IRS guidance on this matter.

In the case of a Self-Directed IRA, if the bank where the safe deposit box is not the trustee of the IRA that purchased the metals or coins, you can make the argument that the metals or coins don’t satisfy the physical possession definition in IRC section 408 since the bank cannot serve as the IRA trustee.

The Final Verdict on the Solo 401(k) Rules

Whereas, in the case of a Solo 401(k) plan, the arguments has less strength. This is because an individual(s) associating with the adopting employer will likely serve as the plan trustee and not the bank holding the plan’s assets. As a result, there is no trustee relationship between the bank and the plan, but it still satisfies the definition of a trustee under IRC 408.

Additionally, IRC Section 408(m)(3)(B) uses the term “a” trustee” and not the “the” trustee” offering some support for the position that the metals/bullion can be held at any trustee and not just the trustee of the IRA holding the metals. This makes sense since a depository is technically a trustee pursuant to IRC 408(a). However, it may not be the actual trustee of the IRA that owns the coins or bullion/precious metals.

Nevertheless, the safest approach to holding IRS approved coins or bullion/precious metals is at a trustee. One thing that is clear, you should never hold IRS approved coins or precious metals/bullion personally.

Work with a Professional

The rules surrounding the ownership and possession of IRS precious metals or coins are complex. Therefore, it is crucial that you work with a firm, such as IRA Financial Group, to help you navigate the IRS rules.

Get in Touch

Do you still have questions regarding precious metals IRA that we didn’t touch on in the article? Contact IRA Financial at 800-472-0646. Or fill out the form and speak with a self-directed IRA specialist.

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