IRA Approved Silver: Eligible Silver for Your IRA

Silver IRA Coins

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You may already have a self-directed IRA, or you’re considering getting one so that you can invest in physical precious metals. But now you’d like to know: what sort of silver is approved for your IRA?

According to an Act of Congress, silver may be held in an IRA, provided it meets specific minimum purity standards (.999 fine for silver coins and 99.9% purity for silver bullion). It also may not be held by the IRA owner but must instead be stored in an IRS-approved depository by the IRA trustee.

Investing money in precious metals such as silver may appeal to you. But you’ve heard that not all forms of silver are acceptable for an IRA, and indeed, not all IRAs are sufficient for silver.

This post will give you what you need to know about investing silver in an IRA.

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Why Would You Want to Include Silver in an IRA?

With the recent rapid price appreciation of assets, investors and IRA owners such as yourself may be worried about accounts being overexposed to equities.

However, the safest fixed-income investments, such as money-market funds, treasury bonds, and certificates of deposit, are paying near-zero interest rates.

You can use an IRA to directly invest in silver bullion and coins instead of indirect investments such as precious metal exchange-traded funds and mining stocks.

Precious metals also enjoy the tax-free or tax-deferred status, and using a self-directed IRA allows one to invest in physical silver while enjoying these tax benefits.

Such an IRA can serve as a hedge against inflation. However, it is focused on a single asset class rather than a range of assets.

Another potential disadvantage is that it often has higher fees than a traditional or Roth IRA investing in bonds, stocks, and mutual funds.

How is it Possible to Include Silver in an IRA?

At first glance, the Internal Revenue Code appears to prohibit holding physical precious metal assets in an IRA.

It states that an IRA investment in a metal or coin is considered the acquisition of a collectible. This transaction, therefore, counts for federal income tax purposes as a taxable distribution from the IRA for the IRA owner to acquire the collectible.

Therefore, this proviso in the Internal Revenue Code prohibits IRAs from being used to invest in precious metals, whether as bullion or coins.

However, Congress has enacted a statutory exception to this general rule.

IRAs can be used to invest in specific silver, gold, and platinum coins, as well as silver, gold, platinum, and palladium bullion, provided that it meets the required standards of purity as specified under IRC § 408(m)(3).

You should note that this statutory exception also rules that the coins or bullion cannot be held by you as the IRA owner, but must instead be held by the gold IRA custodian or trustee in an IRS-approved depository.

These rules about investing in precious metals using an IRA apply whether you have a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA.

What Forms of Silver are Acceptable for an IRA?

As mentioned, only certain specified silver coins are eligible for IRA investing. Congress voted in 1997 that silver coins of a minimum purity of .999 fine are eligible for IRAs.

As a result, the relevant law specifically mentions American Silver Eagles as eligible for IRAs, as they are .999 fine silver.

The following coins are all minimum .999 fine and therefore approved for IRA investing:

Silver coins that have been certified or slabbed or are proof coins or graded numismatics are ineligible for inclusion in a precious metals IRA.

Silver bullion (silver bars), whether 5 oz, 10 oz, 100 oz, or 1 kg, must be 99.9% pure or better.

Another way to hold the silver in an IRA is by buying shares in an approved exchange-traded fund, such as iShares Silver Trust.

Which IRA Trustees Act as Precious Metal IRA Trustees?

To hold silver in an IRA, you will have to find an IRA trustee willing to set up a self-directed IRA and arrange the physical storage or transfer of precious metal assets in storage facilities such as Delaware Depository in Wilmington, Delaware.

Only a few firms are willing to act as precious metal IRA trustees, which does not include any major brokerage firms.

Examples of willing precious metal IRA trustees are Broad Financial, the Entrust Group, Comprehensive Advisor, American Estate & Trust, GoldStar Trust Company, Equity Trust Company, Strata Trust Company, and New Direction Trust Company.

Note that the mention of these trustees does not constitute an endorsement.

The Tax Laws Applicable to Holding Silver in an IRA

The self-directed IRA you will require to invest in silver can be either a traditional or a Roth IRA.

Investments grow tax-free while in either type of IRA. If you sell the silver, you will not be taxed as long as you retain the gain in the silver IRA.

The IRS regards silver coins and bullion the same as all other assets in an IRA. You cannot withdraw the silver from the account without penalty until you, the owner, turn 59 1/2 years old.

When you turn 70 1/2, federal laws require you to begin making mandatory withdrawals from your IRA. You can either sell the metal and draw a cash distribution or draw the physical metal from the account.

Conclusion

Silver provides a valuable hedge against inflation and market volatility, and using your IRA to invest in silver is a desirable option.

You will require a self-directed IRA and a trustee willing to handle precious metals. The silver will need to be .999 fine (for silver coins) or 99.9% pure (for silver bullion).

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