Gold IRA Rules and Regulations

Rules and Regulations For Gold IRA

One of the retirement options worth exploring is investing with a gold IRA company, which involves adding precious metals to your retirement portfolio. The investment option has a lower risk compared to the regular currency alternative. Factors like inflation do not influence it. However, gold IRA accounts still fall under the regulations of the IRS. They enforce strict measures to ensure account owners and managers maintain those precious metals’ accounts accordingly.

Understanding those rules can allow you to maximize the potential benefits. It also ensures you capitalize on your retirement strategy as you retain control of the precious metals available in the self-directed IRA until you retire. As you consider these rules, it may raise some questions. I would recommend you check out the page we have that answers the frequently asked questions concerning investing in a gold IRA. 

Gold IRA Account Types

The term gold IRA refers to an individual retirement account like any other. The only difference is that you get more control over precious metals, such as gold bars, gold coins, silver coins, and other approved precious metals. The investment has specific tax advantages that you enjoy over a prolonged period depending on the type of retirement account you choose.

Roth IRARoth IRA accounts

Roth gold IRA is more of an after-tax account. It does not have any upfront tax deductions, and you do not have to pay taxes when you begin to withdraw after retirement. You experience those benefits in earnings and withdrawals.

Traditional gold IRA

Traditional gold IRA accounts are tax-deferred but similar to pre-tax income in relation to taxation. The profits and contributions are not taxed, and the contributions are tax-deductible. The IRS limits contributions to the IRA account – account owners above 50 have a $6,500 limit, while those under the age cap have a $5,500 limit.


Simplified Employee Pension gold individual retirement accounts are more suitable for investors in the self-employed category. The SEP gold IRAs have higher limits of up to 25% of salary less than $53,000.

Other gold individual retirement account types you may come across include self-directed IRA, non-deductible retirement plan, and Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees.

Qualification Criteria

Before the taxpayer relief act, self-directed accounts could not have precious metals. The changes brought much-needed relief, but the IRA account owner must know the approved precious metals. Find out the types of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium that you can purchase for your IRA account, together with other assets that can diversify your retirement portfolio.

Other retirement accounts are transferable to gold IRA accounts. Some retirement accounts like Roth or traditional IRAs do not have regulations prohibiting such changes. Others, such as Thrift Savings Plans, are transferable if the account owner is at least 59 ½ years or is not working for the same employer. You can work with a gold IRA specialist to help you understand all the rules and regulations and determine if your current traditional retirement account is transferable.

Rules Regarding Precious Metals in IRA main coins allowed in gold ira

Not all precious metals are acceptable in gold IRA investing. The few physical precious metals held must meet the purity levels stipulated by the Internal Revenue Service and be classified under collectible metals. The United States mint director or other foreign mints must also approve them. Being an official currency of a popular public entity makes it easier to maintain the value of the precious metal.

The IRS rules also state that the physical gold must contain 24 karats, even though gold coins with 22 karats get an exception. Other physical precious metals like silver, platinum, and palladium must be in bullion. Silver coins must have a 99.9% purity rate, and palladium and platinum must be 99.95%. The precious metals IRA must also have an IRS-approved IRA custodian to deposit them.

Precious metals with a lower value than what is stipulated by the IRS cannot go into a gold IRA, but you can still buy them if you want. For gold IRA precious metals, consider:

  • Gold such as American gold eagle coins, American gold buffalo coins, Canadian gold maple leaf coins, and bars or rounds from an approved national government mint.
  • Silver IRAs such as American Eagle Proof coins, Australian Kookaburra coins, Canadian silver maple leaf, Mexican Libertad, and Australian philharmonic coins
  • Platinum IRA and palladium can be American eagle coins, Canadian maple leaf coins, and bars and rounds from approved refineries and mints.

Penalty Rules for Early Withdrawal

The Internal Revenue Service imposes a 10% penalty on early withdrawals from gold IRAs. That is on top of taxes according to the income. However, they also allow several exceptions for early withdrawals by investors younger than 59 ½ years. The penalty does not apply if:

  • The gold IRA owner develops a disability
  • The contributor dies, and the beneficiary needs to withdraw the funds
  • There is a need for urgent medical funds
  • The gold IRA account owner loses their job and can no longer keep up with insurance payments
  • There is a need for education funds by the account owner or their immediate family member
  • The gold IRA owner needs up to $10,000 to purchase a home for the first time
  • The owner practices substantially equal periodic payments throughout the lifespan of the investment

Gold IRA Administrators Regulations

Gold IRAs require a custodian to move the four precious metals to a gold IRA. The IRS does not allow the addition of precious metals IRAs to self-directed IRAs even if they meet the internal revenue code. The custodian buys the gold for you. IRS-approved custodians are available from banks, insurance agencies, and retirement companies. They purchase the gold on your behalf and organize its movement into the storage facilities that protect it.

It is important to remember that not all IRA administrators have experience with gold IRAs. You must choose those with expertise in precious metals IRA. You must also get a new self-directed IRA account.

Precious Metals Storage Rules

Gold in the Bank Opening door of safe in the Bank

Precious metal investors are never allowed to handle physical metals. That means you cannot keep them in a safe deposit box in your bank or at home, even for a single day. IRS does not allow investors to buy gold with the intention of sending it to the new IRA account custodians.

If that happens, the IRS will consider them as distributed metals and impose penalties, including taxes. Part of IRS rules and regulations state that the gold bullion coins and other metals can be part of your IRA investment if they are in the physical possession of a bank or trustee approved by the internal revenue service.

The custodian plays an essential role in the acquisition of precious metal IRAs. They are responsible for transferring them to an IRS-approved depository. You can set up the new gold IRA and choose the off-site storage. The administrator can also recommend a few options that you can accept or decline. The custodian will work with the storage facility to protect the gold until you give distribution or sale orders, after which they will send the distribution to your address through insured delivery.

The depositories serve the specific purpose of holding precious metals from self-directed IRAs. As such, you must pay annual fees from the retirement funds in the IRA. The physical metals remain in the vault until you distribute them.

Most approved depositories store gold, silver, and other precious metals allowed by multiple clients in shared commingled storage. It means you can receive similar precious metals instead of the exact ones you purchased when investing in the new account. You can request to have a segregated storage space at additional fees. The option means your precious metals will be marked and strictly kept under your IRA account number. You get the exact metals you bought during distribution.

It is also important to note that you can get physical gold when the IRA term ends – it is commonly at 59½ years. If you reach that age and do not want to liquidate the precious metals, you can take physical possession of the gold or silver without worrying about penalization. That is one of the main differences between traditional IRA and gold IRA.

Gold IRA Tax Conditions

In most cases, you get to pay tax when you get a distribution of your account without exceptions. If you make profits while holding the precious metals, you will have to pay capital gains taxes of up to 28% after you get the distributions. You will pay taxes if you choose to take the metals in physical form. You can also understand IRA tax regulations according to the account type.

Roth IRA

Roth gold IRAs are not tax-deductible, and withdrawals of the funds are tax-free. However, gold investments attract penalties under specific conditions, like when you decide to distribute the assets before the account reaches five years or before 59½ years of age. Understanding the stipulations that allow penalty exceptions can help you enjoy waivers.

Traditional IRA

The retirement accounts are tax-deductible, and investors pay taxes during withdrawal. The retirement funds from the gold IRA are added to the annual gross income. That means you pay full income tax and not capital gains. There is a 10% penalty for withdrawals before 59 ½ years.

The penalty exception comes in when there is a medical emergency if the IRA owner needs funds to pay for a medical cover or bills. You can also avoid the penalty if you create an annuity depending on life expectancy. You will start taking distributions from 70½ years or pay 50% of the amount you fail to withdraw as excise tax each year.

Inherited IRA

The IRS does not expect an IRA owner who passes away to pay penalties or taxes. The beneficiaries of the gold IRA funds will take over payment of all expenses using the money available in the account they inherit. However, the IRAs will remain tax-free.

If the account owner passes away before the age of 59½, beneficiaries must wait for the account to be at least five years before withdrawals. Otherwise, they will face a 10% penalty. The alternative is to space them out to reduce the tax burden, as long as the duration is not more than five years.

The following factors can determine whether you get an extension of that period:

  • Age of the oldest beneficiary
  • Relation to the deceased
  • Age of the account owner when they died
  • If one of the beneficiaries is an entity

Investors can cash in gold and such precious metals before the withdrawal. If you withdraw the retirement savings directly, the current value will determine the tax amount. A tax advisor or accountant can give you appropriate tax advice.

Contribution Limits for Gold Coins and Gold IRA Accounts

Knowing the annual contribution limits for the account is critical. Confirm with the administrator before allotting any amount. The current gold IRA rules and regulations have the contribution limits at $5000 yearly, with people over 50 having a cap at $6000. You can use rollover funds from a similar retirement plan like a 401k or a check to fund the retirement account. Keep in mind that a rollover from a current employer can be challenging.

Remember, if you take physical possession of the bullion coins, you must be ready to handle the income tax. Consider the tax implications before taking out the assets.

The age limit for a gold IRA also differs from paper assets like mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. Withdrawal is for account owners who are 59½ years, and it becomes mandatory for those over 70 years.

Fees Involved in Gold IRAs

Setup charges – The amount you pay to create a new gold IRA. The amount depends on the institution you choose.

Administrator fees – The amount you must pay the custodian in charge of your account.

Seller’s costs – The type of gold or precious metal determines the amount you pay. It is a one-time fee.

Storage charges – The amount you give the depository.

Cash-out fees – You incur market rate fees when you sell gold proofs, bullions, or coins to a third party.

You should also consider a number of other points as you choose a gold ira company, as this will help you further in your decision-making.


You can always have more than one retirement account. It reduces investment risks and allows you to diversify your retirement portfolio without a hassle, which means you can have a self-directed IRA, Roth IRA, and Traditional IRA, so long as you do not exceed the set limits.

About the author

Nathan Tarrant

Nathan has worked in financial services, marketing, and strategic business growth for over 30 years. He was the founder and COO of a Queens award-winning financial services company based in the UK.

He operated as a financial & alternative investment advisor to delegates of the UN, World Health Organization, and senior managers of Fortune 500 companies in Geneva Switzerland, after the 2008 financial crash.

Today he is head of operations and marketing for Ascenture Capital Group based in Virginia.

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