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Silver Bullion for IRAs

An IRA, or Individual Retirement Account, is a form of retirement savings. When first created in 1974, IRA accounts were fairly limited. Today, however, there are more types of IRA strategies available to investors. If you prefer investing in precious metals, consider a silver IRA.

A precious metal IRA is a retirement account backed by investments in physical precious metals. Because no two personal investment strategies are identical, be sure to speak with a precious metals IRA specialist who can provide advice based on your specific situation.


Many investors opt for a silver IRA as a way to avoid the volatile nature of stocks and bonds, and to protect their savings from further market declines, particularly given the current global economic climate. Precious metals can be a way to hedge against inflation and protect your wealth from being eroded over time.

A precious metal IRA offers the opportunity to diversify your retirement investments. Many investors choose a silver IRA in addition to their other retirement investments in order to diversify their portfolio or take advantage of the specific investment potential of silver.

Regardless of your retirement planning strategy, it is wise to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. A silver IRA protects your savings from severe devaluations if your other investments take a significant hit.

How IRAs Work

Most individual investors are allowed to invest a maximum of $4,000 per year (or $5,000 if you're age 50 or older) in a tax-sheltered IRA account. Usually, investors buy stocks, bonds, or mutual funds with this money, though it is also possible to buy precious metals with it.

A silver IRA account is a retirement savings account backed by silver. The actual silver bars or coins are held in a depository. However, you cannot simply purchase coins from a local coin dealer and place them into an IRA, and you cannot put silver bullion you already own into your IRA.

According to IRS rules, the IRA account owner cannot have physical control over the assets (the coins) held in the account. Instead, they must be purchased through a Self Directed IRA Account.

Three parties are involved in setting up a precious metal IRA – a custodian, a bullion seller, and a depository. The custodian handles your money. Most investment brokers are able to serve as your IRA administrator, though not all allow precious metal IRAs.

Once the account is funded, the administrator will make payments to the bullion dealer. All of the silver bullion held by the IRA must be stored in an IRS-approved precious metal depository. Do keep in mind that precious metals stored at a depository do incur annual storage fees, regardless of whether they are held in an IRA.

Eligible Silver

While you do have the ability to choose which physical silver to purchase, and who to purchase it from, only specific bars and coins are eligible for IRA investment. Until 1997, the only silver coins eligible for silver IRAs were the American Silver Eagle.

In recent years, the rules have been relaxed; now, IRA accounts can hold other legal tender silver coins meeting specific standards of purity (0.995 fine or higher), such as the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf.

Silver bullion rounds and bars of at least 0.999 fineness are also eligible. Note that they must carry the hallmark of an approved refiner or mint. One-hundred-ounce silver bars have become particularly popular for IRA investment, as they have a minimal premium over the spot price of silver when compared with the premiums associated with American Silver Eagle coins.

Numismatic items, like graded coins, are not allowed in an IRA, as their value is based on their rarity, rather than just the precious metals they contain. Note that pre-1965 US junk silver coins (90% pure) are also ineligible.

Tax Advantages

IRA accounts are frequently chosen for their tax advantages. Consult with a tax advisor if you are considering opening a silver IRA for investing in precious metals. The tax benefits vary between Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. Traditional IRAs are considered tax-deferred accounts.

The money you deposit is not taxed until it is withdrawn, and then it is considered income, taxed at your normal income tax rate. With Roth IRAs, a form of tax-exempt investment, the money is taxed when it is deposited, with no taxes due when it is withdrawn, even on the profits.

In general, when selling the silver held in an IRA, there is no capital gains tax. As a result, you may be able to avoid paying capital gains taxes on the profit made when selling your silver bullion.