Everything You Need To Know About The Gold IRA Tax Rules

Everyone has been fascinated with precious metals for many decades. Gold and silver coins were initially used as currency. You also had rare metals used as decorations or turned into jewelry.

In fact, most of the world’s economies relied on the Gold Standard to value currency, and that wasn’t too far in the past. Though that’s not true for the current economy, gold is still around and is quite relevant. It’s a commodity that’s traded throughout the world and is a highly popular alternative investment option.

During the 2000s, the price of gold skyrocketed, making potential investors flock to it. In fact, gold had outperformed all other options in the stock market. Still, the trend reversed in 2010, and gold investors started losing money.

When you fast-forward to today, gold is still highly appealing to investors because they can diversify their portfolios with it. Annual returns are just a small part. Some investors want to maximize profits after they must pay taxes on the investment. Each decision you make should focus on taxation.

A gold IRA is actually a self-directed IRA that holds acceptable precious metals, such as gold, silver, and other coins. Because it’s self-directed, a custodian can carry many assets in that account. Generally, gold investments like this are set up with a precious metal dealer who buys, stores, and sells the bars and coins.

Before you jump in and decide to use precious metal investing options, you should understand the gold IRA tax rules and gold prices. That way, you know how to buy physical gold and when selling gold might be the wisest decision. See our article on the very popular gold company, Goldco.

tax rules for gold investment

Different Gold Investment Types

Investors used to buy gold bars or coins. They had to hold onto that physical gold until they were able to sell at a profit. However, there are now many ways for you to invest in gold.

Investing in gold is often done by purchasing gold bullion or gold coins. Investors buy them from registered brokers and store them in a safe deposit box at home or in a bank.

You may also pay a fee so that the broker stores the physical gold bullion and gold coins for you. Most people use a gold IRA; you buy the gold from a registered dealer who follows the rules of the IRS. However, you must use a depository that’s approved by the IRS and make all of your purchases through a custodian.

There are also physical gold ETFs, which are a combination of physical gold purchases with stock market principles. You buy the ETF shares, and each one is worth the same as the gold’s physical weight.

CEFs work similar to ETFs, but they’re structured differently. They are like trusts where you invest in a non-physical gold vehicle, such as gold mining stocks, gold mutual funds, and gold mining ETFs.

These investment vehicles let you invest in gold without owning it physically. The returns on such investments are directly related to worldwide production, borrowing cost, trading activity, and gold prices.

For companies that can help you investing with Gold IRA, view our articles on Augusta Precious Metal USA and Regal Assets USA.

What Are Precious Metals?

Precious metals are often considered rare metals with higher economic values and include things like platinum, silver, and gold. Most gold investors prefer to have multiple metals in their retirement accounts.

The Costs Associated with Investing in Gold

Before you learn about taxation, you want to understand the other costs that are associated with investing in gold. The expenses and fees could pile up quickly for gold IRAs, so you may drastically reduce your returns if you’re not careful.

You should always know how much it might cost to invest in gold to improve your bottom line. Remember, there are no short-term capital gains here.

Storage fees are the primary thing to watch for, and most people prefer to store it at home because it’s cheaper. However, having physical gold at home comes with many risks. With that, you can’t be a gold IRA owner if you don’t keep the gold at a depository. Therefore, you must pay a fee to the custodian to hold the gold.

If you do store gold in your home or elsewhere, you may have to open a brokerage account with a dealer. You could also pay the bank to hold the gold in safe deposit boxes. Home storage often requires a safe deposit box, a safe, and a separate insurance policy for the home.

Those who prefer to invest in gold funds should expect to pay annual fees for the management of the portfolio and trading. It’s wise to estimate what the return on investment might be after those costs are taken out.

Taxes are likely the largest expense you might pay. Though you can cash out your gold IRA before retirement age, you are sure to pay taxes on it. However, that’s discussed a little later to better help you understand.

Gold and Taxes

When you’re thinking of investing in gold, you should determine the investment type you want. It should make you the most money, but you want to ensure you’re not left with a huge tax bill. Therefore, you must focus on the tax treatment and gold classification.

The IRS treats your gold investments similarly to collectible investments. Therefore, investing in gold is the same as investing in artwork and comic books.

There are many challenges associated with gold investments from a tax perspective. You could face two different scenarios. The first is that you purchase gold and sell it, though you hold it for less than one year. Those transactions are treated as ordinary income or short-term capital gains.

With the second scenario, you purchase the gold and sell it after owning it for more than a year. Your transaction is taxed like ordinary income, but your tax rate is capped at 28 percent. This leads to a bigger tax hit. Therefore, you may want to look for an alternative method for gold investing to increase your bottom line and lower your tax bill.

Gold IRAs are often the most affordable choice. In the next section, you learn about the gold IRA and how it’s beneficial to improve your ROI after taxes.

See our article on how many rollovers you can make per year.

Taxation and Gold IRAs

Individuals first had IRAs in 1974, and they were advertised as a better investment vehicle for the person’s retirement. One key advantage of the IRA was the investments were only taxed when the person withdrew money from the account. Therefore, IRAs were excellent because investors could delay those tax payments and lower their capital gains.

However, collectibles weren’t allowed as investments in the beginning. The IRS changed that rule in 1986, allowing Americans to invest in gold and silver US coins. It expanded on that in 1998, allowing bullion. Still, the gold/silver purity had to be 99.5 percent or higher.

Then, a bigger shift came in 2007. The IRS announced that those gold ETFs as IRA investments weren’t considered collectibles. This remains in effect today, and investors often take advantage of it.

You should note that the IRS has restrictions in place for gold IRAs. For example, you can’t take possession of the gold you’re investing, so it must be stored through an intermediary, called a depository. That means you must pay a storage fee each year. However, gold IRAs are still one of the best options for your investment portfolio.

There are many factors to consider when investing in gold through the IRA. Most gold investments are provided by traditional IRAs, and they could offer better returns than Roth IRAs.

Once you cash out the gold IRA, you pay taxes on the gains immediately afterward. Plus, there may be additional taxes or fees, such as the early withdrawal cost of 10 percent.

However, gold IRA investments don’t require the maximum collectibles tax rate of 28 percent. Instead, you see the marginal tax rate. Still, you could pay more than 28 percent if you’re in the high-income tax bracket.

Therefore, your income bracket determines the amount of tax you pay. If you take a loss on the investment, it can be written off on your tax return because it isn’t deducted.

You must start taking distributions from the individual retirement account when you turn 70.5 years old, even if you don’t want to cash out completely.

What Are Traditional IRAs?

A traditional IRA contribution is tax-deductible, though you have to pay taxes when withdrawing the precious metal or money from the traditional IRA.

The amount withdrawn is added to the annual gross income and subject to ordinary income tax. If you take distributions before 59.5 years of age, you pay a 10 percent penalty.

There are ways to avoid the penalty for a traditional IRA, such as using that money for medical insurance or to buy a home.

What Are Roth IRAs?

Roth IRA contributions aren’t deductible and are tax-free when they’re withdrawn. The earnings could have penalties and taxation if:

  • You’re under 59.5 years of age
  • Your account is under 5 years old

The last condition applies no matter your age. The penalty for the first condition might be waived for similar exceptions found with the traditional IRAs. However, Roth IRAs don’t require you to take minimum distributions at any age.

Finding a Better Return on Gold

While you could see massive gains because gold increases in value, that doesn’t mean you can see significant ROI after taxes. The collectible taxes could be paid out if you purchase physical gold, such as coins and bullion.

The same applies if you use an ETF for investing in gold.

However, you can hold the gold for more than a year. If you do that, you only pay the long-term capital gains tax. That way, the gold gets the long-term tax treatment because it’s invested in an IRA.

Mutual funds, ERNS, and gold mining stocks may produce lower returns before they’re taxed. However, the ROI after taxes could be higher. Therefore, you might want to consider a gold CEF, as well.

Another factor is that gold might dip in price. It’s not 100 percent safe as an investment, but all investment options have risks. Therefore, you should think about them before investing in gold.

The results you see are ultimately determined by many factors. These include your risk tolerance for your investment portfolio and the mixture of gains and losses from all investments.

Overall, tax planning is the best option here. If you notice that your gold is losing value, you may want to do something different. However, if it starts increasing in value, you may hold onto it longer.

Acceptable Purchases

To be compliant with all gold IRA tax rules, you’ve got to limit the precious metal purchases to bars and coins that the Internal Revenue Service deems acceptable. Otherwise, you’re subjected to excise taxes, and the IRA could lose its status.

The precious metal should be 99.5 percent pure, but there are exceptions for some coins. Plus, coins can only be proofs and bullion; your IRA can’t be used to collect those rare numismatic coins.

Here are the acceptable precious metals:

Physical Gold

If you hope to create a gold IRA, you must use gold bars and gold bullion coins. These can include:

  • Gold bars/rounds produced by NYMEX- and COMEX-approved national government refineries or mints that meet the min. fineness requirements
  • Chinese Gold Panda coins
  • Canadian Maple Leaf coins
  • Australian Nugget and Kangaroo coins
  • American Eagle proof coins
  • Austrian Philharmonic coins
  • American Eagle bullion coins
  • American Buffalo coins (no proofs and must be uncirculated)

Other Precious Metals

You can have different precious metals in your retirement account, and it can still be considered a gold IRA. These include:

Silver Coins

  • Silver bars/rounds produced by a NYMEX- and COMEX-approved national government refinery or mint that meets the min. fineness requirements
  • Mexican Libertad coins
  • Chinese Panda coins
  • Canadian Maple Leaf coins
  • Australian Kookaburra coins
  • American Eagle proof coins
  • Austrian Philharmonic coins
  • American Eagle bullion coins


  • Platinum bars/rounds produced by a NYMEX- and COMEX-approved national government refinery or mint that meets the min. fineness requirements
  • Isle of Man Noble coins
  • Canadian Maple Leaf coins
  • Australian Koala coins
  • American Eagle proof coins
  • American Eagle coins


  • Palladium bars/rounds produced by a NYMEX- and COMEX-approved national government refinery or mint that meets the min. fineness requirements
  • Canadian Maple Leaf coins


Various factors affect your after-tax returns, whether you hold the investment for more than a year or not. That includes whether or not that investment is subjected to the maximum collectibles tax rate or if you receive the same tax treatment as long-term capital gains.

Those who invest in physical gold may have to pay for storage and insurance, as well. Most of the time, gold IRAs are the best option for an individual retirement account. However, you’re likely to pay administration fees and have a trustee store the physical gold coins for you.

Generally, a gold IRA is suitable when you want to directly invest. However, funds, ETFs, and gold mining stocks are indirect options. It depends on if you choose a Roth IRA or traditional IRAs or use a brokerage account.

Most of the time, you see a higher ROI after taxes if you choose traditional IRAs than using a Roth IRA. Still, the best option for precious metals in an individual retirement account is through a gold IRA.

While there are other gold investment vehicles, such as the gold futures ETF, the gold IRA is often wiser. Still, the Internal Revenue Service has many gold IRA tax rules that you must understand so that you don’t make mistakes and pay higher taxes. It’s best to find an appropriate gold IRA partner to assist.

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Peter Grantham

Peter has been an avid investor in for all his life. Over that time he has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience including stocks, bonds, real estate, retirement, precious metals, cryptocurrencies and business investments. You can get in touch at my email: info@smallunites.org As the owner of this site "My Gold Silver Bitcoin", he aims to bring his knowledge and experience to new investors and seasoned veterans. My mailing address is: 41847 Moen Grove, Greenton, Arkansas, 80976

The owners of this website may be paid to recommend Goldco. The content on this website, including any positive reviews of Goldco and other reviews, may not be neutral or independent.

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