There have been a lot of conflicting reports about the home storage of gold IRAs lately. Internet and television ads have promoted the storage of IRA gold at home. Some have gone so far as to show gold bars in home safes, and have even offered a free safe with purchase.
These ads are deceptive at best, and downright illegal at worst. They seek to take advantage of people who don’t know the IRS rules on the storage of gold and other precious metals. The majority of these advertisements are scams, and could even put you at risk of illegal activity.
If you are interested in a Self-Directed IRA, it’s important that you know the rules about precious metals IRA home storage before making any purchases of physical gold and other precious metals.
The storing of physical gold and other precious metals, whether in bullion form or coin form, comes with certain rules. The IRS has created home storage gold IRA rules that determine who can and who cannot store physical gold coins and gold bullion at their home.
In order to store physical precious metals at your home, you MUST do the following:
- Have a public place of business
- Start a Limited Liability Company (LLC) with an IRS specified operating agreement
- Have a certified public accountant conduct yearly audits
- Have a net worth of $250,000 or more
- Have an attorney on retainer
- Prove you are capable of managing your own Self-Directed IRA by having a reputable financial background
- Have a fidelity bond of $250,000 for each additional employee of the LLC
Be sure to check the IRS website for a complete and comprehensive list of rules about the private storage IRA of any precious metals. Remember, YOU are liable for any home storage precious metals IRA that deviate from the IRS rules. If holding a gold IRA home storage against these rules, you may suffer a penalty from the IRS.
How to Store Gold Legally
Obviously, the majority of people looking into gold IRA storage at home won’t be able to comply with the above IRS rules. So what if you want to store gold or other precious metal but don’t want to, or can’t, go through that process? Fortunately, there are a number of ways to legally store precious metal.
As with standard monetary IRA deposits, any precious metal deposit must be under controlled access. This way, they can be tracked and taxed in accordance with IRS regulations. An approved financial institution, such as a bank or an IRS-approved nonbank trustee, can legally store your physical metal.
Both banks and independent nonbank storage companies work with precious metal brokers as well as IRA custodians to control shipment and storage of these unconventional assets for you.
Unfortunately, as soon as you touch your gold or other precious metals, the IRS considers this a taxable distribution. Unless you comply with the rules mentioned above, taking possession of your home storage gold IRA will cost you.
The Internal Revenue Service will tax you for the home storage of your gold, and may hit you with additional penalties or fines. It’s best to store your gold and other precious metals in an approved storage facility such as a bank or an IRS-approved precious metal depository.
One of the simplest places to store your precious metals legally is in a bank. Being an IRS-approved depository, a bank safety deposit box can easily and legally hold your gold coins or bullion, or other metals such as silver coins.
There are both benefits and disadvantages to storing your metal in a bank deposit box.
Some benefits include:
- Ease of Storage – Banks are typical holders of precious metal, so they’ve done it before and know how to do it right. There should be little problem transferring your gold purchase to a bank safety deposit box.
- Known Location – Storing your gold or other precious metals in a bank safety deposit box means you’ll know exactly where it is, and have personal access to it.
- Safety – Banks conduct millions of financial transactions a year, and have been built to keep your property as safe as possible. A bank vault is certainly more secure than under your mattress.
For as beneficial as banks can be for storing your gold and other precious metals, there are some drawbacks to using one as your safe depository. These disadvantages include:
- Uninsured Assets – Neither the bank nor the FDIC will insure the contents of a safety deposit box. You can buy insurance, but the rates and reputations of insurance companies can vary wildly. While relatively safe, this does pose a risk to your deposited assets. If someone steals the contents of your safety deposit box, you may never see that value returned.
- Hours of Business – While you’ll know exactly where your gold or precious metal is, you may not be able to access it exactly when you want to. Since banks only conduct transactions during business hours, this limits your ability to have access to your assets. If you should need to take hold of, or liquidate, your assets in a hurry, that may not be possible with your gold in a bank.
- Lost Keys – With your gold or precious metal in a bank deposit box, you’ll need to always know the location of your copy of the box key. If you lose or misplace it, it could take an extended period and a difficult time to gain access to your deposited access, pending complicated paperwork and proof of identity you’ll need to provide.
Precious Metal Depository
The other option for legally storing your gold is a precious metal depository. There are 6 IRS-sanctioned depository vaults in the United States. These six vaults hold nearly all the gold, silver, platinum, and palladium counted in precious metal retirement accounts in the country.
The six IRS-approved depositories are:
- Delaware Depository – The Delaware Depository Service Company is an exchange-approved depository for the NYMEX and COMEX markets. It has $1 billion in all-risk insurance and features state of the art security and Class 3 vaults. It typically caters to brokerage firms, commodity trading houses, manufacturers, refiners, and coin dealers, but does accept accounts of any size.
- Brinks Security – Brinks Global Services have approved depositories in New York and London. It features full liability for all assets, accessible online inventory management, and fast delivery to storage locations, among other perks. This makes it the most widely used metal depository in the nation.
- HSBC Bank USA – HSBC Bank is the largest clearer of bullion in the world, and has been ranked the number one dealer in silver and gold since 2003. They feature global customer service available 24/7, knowledge of six different precious metal exchanges, and the world’s largest commercial vault. They have been a world leader in precious metals for decades.
- JP Morgan Chase Bank North America – JP Morgan became an IRS-approved metals depository in 2011, and has vaults located in New York, London, and Singapore. They manage gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and rhodium, and provide risk management solutions to their clients in addition to storage of their precious metals.
- Scotia Mocatta Depository – The Scotia Mocatta Depository is part of Scotiabank, long referred to as “Canada’s Gold Bank.” It provides 24-hour global market coverage and a wide range of precious metal services. These include gold, silver, and palladium bullion, as well as coins.
- CNT Depository – CNT Inc. depository location is based in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and is known as the largest provider of raw gold to the federal government. It generates nearly $8 billion in revenue in partnership with select government mints around the world. It provides 100% insurance protection for all stored assets.
Offshore Precious Metal Depositories
The IRS now also allows you to store your gold or other precious metals in depositories outside of the United States. Four out of the six American depositories have offshore vaults where you can store your metal assets. Other nonbank depositories also exist, which partially include:
|HSBC||London, Singapore, Switzerland, Hong Kong|
|JP Morgan Chase||London, Singapore|
|Regal Assets||Dubai, Singapore|
Storing retirement assets such as precious metals in offshore locations may have some benefit as safer and more financially stable legal jurisdictions. The federal government of the United States has already confiscated non-collectible gold holdings once in the 1930’s under President Franklin Roosevelt.
The risk of the governments of Singapore and Dubai confiscating gold and precious metals has been deemed less likely than that of the United States federal government doing so by some storage companies. If fearing government confiscation, storing your precious metals in offshore vaults may be the best choice for you.
Types of Storage
There are two ways to store your gold or other precious metal assets in one of these IRS-approved depositories. They are commingled storage and segregated storage.
- Commingled Storage
- In commingled storage, your metal assets are held together with the metal assets of others. Same year coins and bullion are all stored together, and yours can be swapped with any of the others providing the year and value remain the same.
- For example, if you store American Eagle Coins, they will be kept with other American Gold Eagles of the same year. If you transfer one coin, it will be an American Eagle of the same year, but it may not be the same American Eagle that you purchased.
- Segregated Storage
- In segregated storage, your coins and bullion are kept separate from any others. The gold or other metals that you purchase will be transferred and held apart from all others, and when you transfer it, the same metals that you purchased are the ones to be transferred.
- Segregated storage does come with an additional fee, so if you’re not picky about the actual gold or tangible metal, you may wish to skip segregated storage and just go with commingled storage, where the value of your assets remains the same even if the physical metal does not.
Storing your gold or other precious metals in a third-party depository may be the best legal way to keep your retirement savings gold IRA safe and secure. However, there are also downsides to this form of storage as well.
Keeping your precious metals retirement fund in an approved depository does require annual fees. These fees will be tied to the value and quantity of metal you are storing there. The more you are storing, the higher the fees will be.
There may also be transaction rules and fees related to any transactions you make, such as shipping fees to and from the depository. How those metals are shipped will also determine the amount of the fee. Traveling by armored car is more secure, but also more expensive. You should be sure to find out about any rules and fees the depository may have before deciding to store your assets there.
How to Get Your Gold Into an Approved Depository
Fortunately, getting your gold or other precious metals into an IRS-approved depository is not a complicated process. Since all gold or metals held in an IRA must be vaulted in an approved depository, the vaulting process comes automatically with a gold IRA.
Once again, the claims of some home storage IRA companies are false, unless you go through the process of creating a Limited Liability Company. All gold and precious metal IRA holdings must be stored in an approved and secured location.
The process of getting your gold there is as simple as filing a few forms. In the case that your retirement account cannot hold physical gold, you may need to open a new self-directing IRA account.
Once you do this, you should speak to your investment advisor about which precious metal is best for you and your current situation. You can also discuss which depositories are open to your choice of metal, where and when your metals will be transferred there, and any other issues relating to the depository of your choice.
In some cases, self-directed custodians will require you to use a specific depository, so you won’t have the choice. If seeking to add any precious metals to your IRA, be sure to inquire whether your custodian or precious metals dealer allows you to choose your depository, or if they require you to use the one of their choice.
As soon as you pay for your precious metals, they will be delivered directly to the approved facility and held in a segregated or commingled account, as per your choosing. As a benefit, many gold storage companies waive first-year fees for new customers, or those who purchase over a certain dollar amount, which is a nice break from the companies.
There are also a number of tax breaks that can be offered with a gold IRA, so be sure to consult your investment advisor about what they have available to you. If you need to vault your gold or other metals anyway, may as well also get the tax breaks that come with it.
While there are many advertisements about a wide variety of home storage gold IRA options, the majority of these are disingenuous, if not downright scams. A home delivery gold IRA is only available to LLCs approved by the Internal Revenue Service as distributors. Any other home storage carries the risk of fines and penalties.
All precious metal IRAs must have their physical metal stored in an IRS-approved location, such as a bank or a third-party depository. This process should be done automatically once you add precious metals to an IRA, or open a new account just for gold and other precious metals.
If you have the choice of which depository you can store your metal in, be sure to research each storage company and read home storage gold IRA reviews to find the one that would suit your needs the best. If available, you can even choose to house your gold overseas in offshore accounts.
Why Can’t I Store My Gold at Home?
Because of the substantial amount of wealth kept in precious metal IRAs, there is a higher potential for fraud and theft. Due to this, the Internal Revenue Service determined that only specific approved storage depositories would be allowed to hold gold and other precious metals. The only way to store your precious metals IRA at your home is to become an approved LLC.
Is It Easier to Add Coins or Bullion to my Gold IRA?
Adding either gold coins or bullion to your gold IRA is simply a matter of your budget and your personal decisions. Both coins and bullion can be easily added to your IRA, though each come at a varying price. Gold bullion is more expensive than gold coins, and costs more to store due to its weight and value. Gold coins cost less both to purchase and to store, because they have a lower value than bullion.