IRS Approved Depository Precious Metals: A Comprehensive Guide

Top IRS-Approved Depositories
Investing in precious metals is a popular strategy for diversifying one’s financial portfolio, and many individuals choose to include these assets in their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) imposes certain regulations on the storage of precious metals held within IRAs, requiring that these assets be kept in approved depositories to ensure their safety and security. In this article, we’ll explore the topic of IRS-approved precious metal depositories, giving you the information you need to make well-informed decisions for your retirement investments.

There are currently seven IRS-approved depositories in the United States that are authorized to store all major precious metals, including gold, silver, platinum, and other platinum group metals such as palladium and rhodium. These depositories are designed with state-of-the-art security measures in place to protect your investments and provide peace of mind. It is important to understand that precious metals held in a self-directed IRA must be stored in one of these IRS-approved depositories, and cannot be kept at home or in a personal safe.

Choosing the right depository for your precious metals IRA is an essential step in the investment process. Each approved depository offers various services and storage options, making it crucial to research and compare the available choices to find the ideal fit for your individual needs and preferences. In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into specific details about these depositories, guiding you towards making an informed decision for your financial future.

IRS Approved Depository Overview

IRS Approved Depository

As someone who invests in precious metals, I know how important it is to store them in a secure and reliable location. That’s where IRS-approved depositories come into play. These depositories are facilities specifically designed for the safekeeping of gold, silver, and other precious metals. They offer high-level, around-the-clock security—far better than the kind of security available at home or even with a safe deposit box at a bank.

In fact, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) approves depositories to ensure that precious metals are maintained in secure vaults. This is an essential consideration for investors who own physical assets like precious metals, especially when they’re part of a self-directed IRA.

From my research, I’ve learned that precious metals held in a self-directed IRA must be stored in an IRS-approved depository for safekeeping. This means that as an account holder, I cannot keep these metals at home and maintain their tax-advantaged status.

In terms of cost, most gold depositories have comparable pricing. From what I’ve gathered, the typical fees range around $100 annually for non-segregated vault storage and $150 annually for segregated vault storage. Nonetheless, it’s always a prudent choice to confirm these figures with the gold company you’re dealing with.

By choosing to store my precious metals in an IRS-approved depository, I can rest assured knowing that my investments are well protected and securely stored, adhering to the IRS’s guidelines and regulations.

Eligible Precious Metals

As an investor in precious metals and considering an IRS-approved depository, it’s essential to know which precious metals are eligible for inclusion in such a storage facility. In this section, I will discuss the four main precious metals that are permitted: gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.


Gold is a popular choice for investors due to its historical value and stability. The IRS stipulates that gold must be of a minimum fineness of 0.995 (99.5%) in order to be eligible for storage in an approved depository. This means that only high-quality gold bullion coins and bars will qualify. Some examples of eligible gold products include:

  • American Gold Eagle coins
  • Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins
  • Gold bars from reputable refineries


Silver, another popular precious metal, also has specific fineness requirements set by the IRS. In order to be eligible for storage, silver must have a minimum fineness of 0.999 (99.9%). Items that meet this criterion include:

  • American Silver Eagle coins
  • Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins
  • Silver bars from recognized mints and refineries


Platinum has unique properties that make it valuable for a variety of industrial applications in addition to its role as an investment asset. The IRS requires that platinum stored in approved depositories have a minimum fineness of 0.9995 (99.95%). Some examples of platinum products that meet this standard are:

  • American Platinum Eagle coins
  • Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf coins
  • Platinum bars from reputable mints


Palladium is another precious metal that has gained popularity among investors. To be eligible for storage in an IRS-approved depository, palladium must have a minimum fineness of 0.9995 (99.95%). Eligible palladium products include:

  • Canadian Palladium Maple Leaf coins
  • Bars from recognized mints and refineries

In summary, gold, silver, platinum, and palladium are the four primary precious metals eligible for storage in IRS-approved depositories. Each metal has specific fineness requirements, ensuring that only high-quality investment products are permitted.

Storage Requirements

Physical Storage

As an owner of precious metals in a self-directed IRA, it is important to ensure these assets are safely stored in an IRS-approved depository. Storing these precious metals at home is not permitted by the IRS, as they consider it a distribution which may result in fines and taxes. By selecting an approved depository, I can have peace of mind knowing that my investments are secure and in compliance with IRS regulations.

Segregation and Commingling

When choosing a depository for precious metals, I need to consider the type of storage offered, which generally falls into two categories: allocated (segregated) and commingled.

In an allocated or segregated storage option, my gold coins or bars are kept distinct from the assets of other clients. This option offers a higher level of security, as my precious metals are exclusively identifiable as mine and are not mixed with those of other investors. However, it may come with higher storage fees.

On the other hand, commingled storage means that my assets are stored together with the precious metals of other clients. Although this option can be more cost-effective, it may present a greater risk in case of disputes or complications arising from the depository’s record-keeping or handling of the assets.

Setting Up an Account

Selecting a Depository

When setting up an account for precious metals, I first need to choose an IRS-approved depository for safekeeping. This ensures that the metals in my self-directed IRA comply with regulations and are stored securely. To find the best option for me, I can compare depositories based on factors such as location, security features, and storage fees.

Opening and Funding

Once I’ve selected a depository, the next step is to open a self-directed IRA with an IRS-approved custodian. The custodian will help me navigate the account setup process, including any necessary paperwork and funding options. I can fund the account through a rollover, transfer, or cash contribution depending on my specific retirement goals and circumstances.

After my account is set up, I can choose the precious metals that best align with my investment objectives. My IRS-approved custodian will then purchase the metals on my behalf, and they will be held securely at the IRS-approved depository I chose earlier in the process.

Remember to keep track of my investments and work closely with my custodian to ensure that all transactions are compliant with IRS guidelines.

Withdrawal and Distribution

As an expert in IRS Approved Depository Precious Metals, I want to share some key points regarding withdrawal and distribution rules for an IRA holding precious metals. This is essential information to understand for anyone with a precious metals IRA.

Taking a Distribution

When it comes to taking distributions from a precious metals IRA, the same rules apply as with any other traditional IRA. If you withdraw funds or assets before the age of 59 1/2, you will be assessed a 10% penalty by the IRS. The reason for this penalty is that retirement funds are invested from your pre-tax income, which means they are not taxed until distributions are taken.

In-Kind Distributions

One unique aspect of owning precious metals within an IRA is the ability to take an in-kind distribution. An in-kind distribution means your chosen depository will safely and securely send your precious metals right to your door1. This is particularly helpful if you’re mandated to take a required minimum distribution (RMD), but do not wish to sell your precious metals until a later time.

To summarize, the withdrawal and distribution rules for a precious metals IRA are similar to those of traditional IRAs. The crucial difference lies in the option of in-kind distributions for precious metals, providing an additional level of flexibility for investors.

IRA Requirements

When it comes to investing in precious metals for your Individual Retirement Account (IRA), there are certain requirements set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that need to be followed. In order to comply with these guidelines and ensure the security of your investments, I’ve provided a summary of the essential IRA requirements.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that not all types of precious metals are eligible for inclusion in an IRA. The IRS has approved specific gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins and bars that meet their purity standards. For example, gold must be 0.995 fine or higher, and silver must be 0.999 fine or higher.

Additionally, the precious metals purchased for your IRA must be held in a qualified and IRS-approved depository. These depositories are responsible for storing, managing, and protecting your investments. There are currently seven IRS-approved depositories for precious metals, one of which is the Delaware Depository Service Company.

It’s also crucial to work with a reputable and authorized custodian to oversee your precious metals IRA. Custodians must be approved by the IRS and adhere to their regulations. They’re responsible for managing your account, processing transactions, and ensuring the proper storage of your assets in an approved depository.

Lastly, you cannot personally hold or store the precious metals in your own home or a non-regulated location, as this would violate IRS rules for IRA-eligible assets. The Tax Court has ruled against such practices in the past, so it’s essential to use a qualified depository to avoid any potential issues or penalties.

By adhering to these IRA requirements, you can confidently invest in precious metals as part of your retirement planning strategy, knowing that your assets are securely stored and managed according to the highest industry standards.

Fees and Charges

When it comes to fees and charges associated with IRS-approved depository precious metals, there are a few factors to keep in mind. First, let’s talk about custodian fees. Typically, custodians charge a yearly maintenance fee to cover administrative costs related to managing your account and paperwork. This fee may range from $75 to $300 annually. Some businesses charge more for larger accounts, such as $175 for accounts under $100,000 and $225 for accounts over $100,000.

In addition to custodian fees, storage fees also play a significant role in the total cost of maintaining a precious metals IRA. Storage fees vary depending on the depository and type of storage you choose. For example, segregated storage may cost more than non-segregated storage, as it requires a separate space for your metals. The storage fee is generally based on the total value or weight of your precious metals holdings and can either be a flat fee or a percentage of the value.

It’s also essential to consider any fees related to the purchase and selling of precious metals. When buying or selling metals, dealers may charge setup fees, commissions, or spreads (the difference between the buying and selling price of a metal). These costs can be a fixed amount or a percentage of the transaction value. Ensure to compare different dealers’ fees and charges to make an informed decision.

Lastly, remember that taxes can play a role in the overall cost of owning precious metals in an IRA. If your precious metals investments are considered collectibles held for over a year, they are typically taxed as ordinary income but capped at 28%. This tax rate is higher than the long-term capital gains taxes, generally 15%, although higher-income individuals may incur higher tax rates capped at 20%.

In summary, when managing an IRS-approved depository precious metals account, it’s crucial to consider custodian fees, storage fees, transaction fees, and taxes. By keeping these factors in mind, you can better understand the overall costs associated with your precious metals IRA.


As I explored IRS-approved depositories for precious metals, I found that these storage facilities are essential for investors who hold precious metals in their self-directed Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Storing precious metals in an IRS-approved depository ensures that these investments are safe and compliant with the regulations governing self-directed IRAs.

I learned that there are several reputable depositories across the United States, and each offers secure storage options for precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum. Some popular choices include Delaware Depository Service Company and U.S. Money Reserve. It’s important to choose a depository that meets one’s needs in terms of accessibility and security features.

In terms of fees, I discovered that most gold depositories have comparable pricing structures, but it’s still wise to confirm the specifics with your chosen facility. Typically, one can expect to pay around $100 annually for non-segregated vault storage and $150 annually for segregated storage.

In conclusion, utilizing an IRS-approved depository for precious metals storage is a crucial step for investors who want to ensure the safety and compliance of their assets. By researching available options and keeping the necessary fees in mind, investors can make informed decisions regarding the storage of their precious metals investments.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for precious metals in an IRA?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has specific requirements for precious metals to be included in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). The metals must be physically held by an IRS-approved depository, and they need to meet minimum fineness standards. For example, gold must have a fineness of 0.995 or higher, while silver must have a fineness of 0.999 or higher.

Which silver bars qualify for inclusion in an IRA?

Silver bars eligible for inclusion in an IRA must meet the minimum fineness requirement of 0.999. Additionally, they should be produced by a government mint or a refiner accredited by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) or the Commodity Exchange (COMEX).

Does the IRS track precious metal purchases?

The IRS does not directly track precious metal purchases. However, they do have reporting requirements for precious metal dealers in certain situations, like when a client sells or trades large quantities of metals.

What are the reporting requirements for selling gold?

When selling gold, the IRS requires reporting on transactions involving more than 25 ounces of gold coins or certain types of bullion. It’s essential to consult a tax professional for specific reporting requirements to ensure compliance with the IRS.

What is the difference between collectibles and IRA-approved metals?

Collectibles are items of personal interest that may appreciate in value over time but do not meet the IRS requirements for IRA investments. IRA-approved metals, on the other hand, are precious metals that have met the minimum fineness standards and are held in an IRS-approved depository or vault.

Are there any loopholes regarding precious metals in an IRA?

I am not aware of any loopholes regarding precious metals in an IRA. It’s crucial to follow the IRS guidelines, like using an approved depository for storage and meeting the minimum fineness requirements. Consulting with a financial advisor may provide insight into the unique strategies and opportunities related to IRA-supported precious metals investment.