When stocks and bonds are shaky, gold has a tendency to hold steady and even rise in value, particularly during times of inflation. Because of this, you may wish to invest in gold in your individual retirement account. Although coins are specifically prohibited as an IRA investment, some gold coins are allowed. Investing in gold with an IRA presents some challenges when deciding who will serve as trustee of the account.
IRS Publication 590 which summarizes the regulations for IRA accounts, notes that the IRS prohibits investment in collectibles in your IRA account. Included in this ban are artwork, metals, rugs, antiques and gemstones. Also included are coins, but only collectible coins such as older or rare coins primarily of interest to coin collectors, not people interested in the precious metal content in the coin.
Allowable Gold Coins
Tax law clearly specifies certain coins that can be held in an IRA. Allowable are one, one-half, one-quarter and one-tenth-ounce U.S. gold coins and one-ounce silver coins made by the U.S. Treasury Department. These are American Eagle gold and silver coins.
Other Metal Investments
You can also invest in certain platinum coins inside your IRA, as well as platinum and palladium bullion. These metals have more industrial value for their use in manufacturing catalytic converters for automobiles, but their value does tend to follow the movement of gold. Gold and silver bullion are also allowed. Bullion is the metal cast in bar form, rather than as a coin.
To invest in gold and silver in your IRA, you need an IRA trustee who is willing to handle these investments. Many trustees are not willing to invest in gold, because of its storage requirements. Furthermore, the gold must be stored under the control of the trustee to prevent an IRA owner from accessing and selling the gold outside of the tax-free structure of the IRA.