Can You Store Your Gold IRA At Home? (Don’t Make This Mistake)

Roy Guller

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Like most people, you've come across ads telling you to invest in gold and then store your gold IRA at home. The question is whether this is a legitimate option or if it’s something you should avoid.

The answer to this question is quite simple. You should never store your gold IRA at your home. It can lead to a great deal of trouble and tax implications.

Though investing in gold for retirement is entirely legitimate, there are specific ways that the IRS requires you to store it. But what happens if you don't follow those rules?

Can I Store My Gold IRA At Home?

Regardless of what the ads might say, the IRS has very clear rules about all types of IRAs, including gold IRAs. These rules expressly state that "the law does not permit IRA funds to be invested in life insurance or collectibles.” This includes metals.

Fortunately, they do make an exception for "highly refined bullion." If it fits that category, it's acceptable to hold gold and other bullion in an IRA. However, the IRS is very clear that it must be “in the physical possession of a bank or an IRS-approved nonbank trustee.”

Though this is a clear rule, it's the exception that allows you to invest your IRA in gold that the advertisements play on. They say that the IRS has made an exception that allows you to store it at home, but that is not the case.

What Happens If I Get Caught Storing My Gold IRA At Home?

If your gold IRA does not fit the "highly refined bullion" category and is not held by a bank or IRS-approved nonbank trustee, it falls into the category of "collectibles." It is considered taxable for the year that you invested it in the gold when this occurs.

Think about it like any other IRA. Your money is not taxed when it’s in the actual investment. However, as soon as you cash it out, it becomes taxable.

For your gold investment to be considered an IRA, it has to be held properly. If it's not, it doesn't fit the category of an IRA, and your money is considered distributed. Therefore, you’ll be paying taxes for that year.

You also have to consider what happens when you take money out of an IRA early. You face a penalty of 10% additional tax. The same occurs with your gold investment when it is not held correctly.

In short, if you are caught keeping your gold IRA in your home, you’ll be paying taxes and a penalty of at least 10%. And those taxes will be charged for each year you’ve kept your gold at home.

Therefore, if you’ve had it sitting in your safe for five years, you can face taxes for that entire period. You wouldn't be the only one if you bought into the "keep your gold IRA at home" scam. Check out the story below to learn about someone else who did.

Have A Reputable Company Store YOur Gold

Couple Stored Their Gold IRA At Home & Owe the IRS Big 

Can I Store My Gold IRA At Home

Andrew and Donna McNulty saw internet ads about investing in gold and silver, then storing it at home. They decided it was a wise move. In 2015, they started the process of transferring almost $750,000 of money from other investment types to invest in gold, silver, and a condo.

The McNulty's thought they had gone about everything right. They organized a self-directed IRA, purchased shares of an LLC, got a bank account in the LLC’s name, purchased the assets, documented them, and labeled them as belonging to the IRA. They then put them in a safe at home.

An audit uncovered these actions and led the McNultys to court. The judge ruled against them, and now they have to pay almost $270,000 of taxes and penalties of over $50,000. Altogether, this adds up to more than one-third of the value of their investments.

Where did the McNultys go wrong? There are a few areas that led to this ruling.

  • There was no oversight. The IRS clearly states that gold IRAs are to be held by a third party. This was not the case, as the gold was sitting in their safe. It gave them consistent access to the gold, making it a collectible.
  • They took money out of their retirement assets to invest in other assets. This is not a problem, but they held the gold at their home. They did not leave them in an IRS-approved location, which made them a collectible. However, they did not pay taxes at that time.
  • While it may seem like this was just due to confusion about the rules, there was another factor. They didn't tell their tax preparer about their gold IRA, which made it appear as though they might have known better. At the very least, it pointed out that they didn't seek any professional advice on the matter, which investors should always do before diving into something they see in an ad.
  • They engaged in what is referred to at the IRS as “prohibited transaction rules against self-dealing.” In short, this means that the IRA owner cannot personally benefit from an IRA. For example, you cannot claim a rental home as a part of an IRA if you stay in it sometimes. In the McNulty case, their gold falls into the self-dealing category because it’s considered a collectible at their disposal.

Why Were These Ads So Successful? 

To prevent yourself from falling for a scam like this one, it's essential to understand how it worked so well. First, it pointed out what was seen as a "gray area" with the gold exception.

It wasn't a gray area, though. It was simply a lack of knowledge on the investors' part. You must always do your own research and seek professional guidance before making big financial decisions.

The other reason it worked so well is that it played on people's emotions. We live in troubling times, so it doesn't take much to create a sense of fear. Many of these ads pointed out how you might "lose everything" if anything goes sideways. Their solution is to keep it with you, which might be a sound strategy if it weren't strictly against the IRS's rules.

If an advertisement strikes fear in you as these do, it’s probably not something you should listen to. Financial decisions require logic and reason. Making them based on your emotions is never a sound strategy.

Gold IRA Storage Fees

If you have your gold IRA sitting at home right now, it's essential to legitimize it as quickly as possible. There are several IRS-approved locations to store your gold IRA – for a fee, of course.

You might be dreading needing to pay money to store it, but it's not as expensive as you might think. Some depositories charge as little as $10 per month, while others charge several hundred per year. It typically depends on the amount you need to store and any additional fees that individual depositories charge.

Below are some examples of the prices you can expect to pay. As you'll see, some charge flat rates each year while others vary. Options like Money Metals quote percentages as opposed to flat rates.

They state on their website that the amount can change each month as the value of your gold fluctuates. If you choose to use an option that does not quote a flat rate, you'll want to check the value of gold each month to keep up with your fee structure.

Custodian

Annual Storage Fees

$100 storage fee
$80 custodial fee

$150 storage fee

$100 admin fee

$100 non-segregated storage
$150 segregated storage
$80 maintenance fee

$100 storage fee
$80 annual fee

$150 - $225 storage fee (depending on location)
$80 custodial fees

Varies according to value in storage:
$0 – $15,999: $96
$16,000 – $99,999: 0.59%

$100,000 – $999,999: 0.49%
$1,000,000 – $2,999,999: 0.39%
$3,000,000 and up: Call for pricing

Summary

There are no circumstances in which storing your gold IRA at home is a good idea. Doing so can leave you paying a large amount of your retirement fund for taxes and penalties. Not to mention the potential dangers of storing something so valuable in your home. You could easily get robbed and lose your entire IRA and put your family in danger.

Always play it safe with your retirement funds by following the IRS rules to the letter. And anytime you see advertisements for "great investment opportunities" that you're unfamiliar with contact a financial advisor to ensure it's really as good as it sounds.

About Roy Guller

I have been an investment adviser for more than 30 years and managed more than 500 million dollars for my exclusive group of clients. My expertise lies in retirement funds and I want to share my wealth of experience with you so you can make the right decisions for your future.

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