There’s nothing more appealing for a gold investor than the idea, perpetrated by some precious metals companies this summer, that you can park your tax-free gold IRAs at home or your bank safety-deposit box.
Not only could you safeguard your metal from global uncertainty, government debt, market quicksand and economies mired in mud. You can keep your precious gold away from the eye of Uncle Sam.
Trouble is: it’s all a misguided sham. And our stern advice: don’t do this at home.
A recent Wall Street Journal story pointed out what many in the gold industry have known for some time -- that the Internal Revenue Service frowns upon retirees who wish to stash their gold, silver and other precious metals individual retirement accounts at their house or in safety deposit drawers.
It was President Richard Nixon, struggling with stagflation, who in 1971 restored the right for Americans to own gold after abandoning the gold standard for foreign exchange.
It was President Ronald Reagan who, after banning South African krugerrands in response to apartheid in the 1980s, authorized new American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins. And it was the 40th U.S. president who, for different reasons, authorized American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins.
And it was President Bill Clinton, who signed the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, who permitted the investment of IRA assets in “certain bullion.”
That meant that gold, silver and other precious metals that met certain Internal Revenue Service fineness standards could be held in an IRA retirement account under your name, in the custody of a federally certified depository, or vault.
When the time comes, the account holder may liquidate his or her IRA metals for cash or finally take them home. Either is tantamount to an IRA distribution, and taxed accordingly.
But what the gold IRA renegades have been doing is employing complex financial chicanery to allegedly allow bullion owners to manage and keep their IRA precious metals without a third-party watchdog.
As a result, the Internal Revenue Service now “warns taxpayers to be wary of anyone claiming that precious metals held in your IRA can be stored at home or in a safe-deposit box,” according to the Journal.
But proponents of the store-at-home gold say that IRA owners can legally keep their gold in a safe-deposit box or at home if they are the owners and managers of a limited-liability company that uses the funds from the IRA to obtain the gold, it writes..
Their attorneys say this arrangement grants an investor’s right to store coins owned by the LLC at home, it says. But bullion, they add, would still have to store it in an LLC-owned safety-deposit box.
It’s all hogwash. And it not only tarnishes the precious metals business, but puts earnest investors at risk of heavy IRS tax penalties -- or worse.
Unfortunately, the hucksters who have been advocating this alleged workaround have been charging big bucks to set up such limited liability corporations. And the gold companies advertising home-storage of IRA gold have been coy, with disclaimers saying they don’t provide legal advice.
A tax-deferred Individual Retirement Account backed by tangible precious metals must by law be managed by a third-party IRA custodian. We guide investors on how to obtain a self-directed precious metals IRA, from opening an account to selecting suitable gold or silver to choosing an insured depository.
Clients then store their bullion in an IRS-certified depository, built to provide insured, guarded protection for their precious metals.
As much as we would like to diversify our retirement portfolios by investing in a gold IRA out of sight of the tax man, we believe it would end in financial harm to your precious retirement savings.