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Gold IRA Depositories: A Complete Guide

Catherine Tramell
Catherine Tramell

Last updated 19. june 2022

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There are three gold IRA pillars: custodian, dealer, and depository. Generally, gold IRA custodians grab the maximum spotlight as they are directly involved in an IRA account’s management. The gold dealer is next in line in terms of significance since they ensure the gold the IRA account holder buys or invests in is genuine and conforms to IRS regulations.

For some reason, a precious metals depository doesn’t get the same level of consideration and respect. Often, they are looked at as the third wheel in the arrangement.

Most individuals looking to set up a gold IRA do not even bother to research and look for the right gold depository services. Their efforts are focused on finding a suitable gold IRA custodian, supplemented with keenness in finding the right precious metals dealer. The gold IRA depository is often referred to by the IRA custodian.

Although there’s no harm in siding with a depository recommended by your IRA company, it’s advised not to take a path blindly, particularly when gold is on the line. Your gold IRA company is not referring to a gold IRA depository for no reason. There’s the ease of business between the two stems from past associations. But some companies may have ulterior motives too.

It’s, therefore, recommended you know a thing or two about the gold IRA depository you choose for your gold IRA, such as the kind of services they provide, their fee structure, and other important information.

In this article, we’ll take a look at gold IRA depositories in great depth, exploring all possible facets so you can deduce the information you need. Here are the topics we shall go over:

  • What is a gold IRA depository, and what are its benefits?
  • Things to look at when choosing a depository
  • The best gold IRA depositories and more

Kindly note we’ll not touch upon the fundamentals of a gold IRA here. We have covered the topic in whole or parts in our previous write-ups. If you’d like a primer on gold IRA, click the link and check out the related articles.

What is a Gold IRA Depository?

A gold IRA depository is an IRS-approved facility to store IRA gold. Since you cannot store IRA gold in a private location (your home), a repository is critical to an IRA arrangement. The IRS-approved gold storage space can be a national depository, a third-party trustee. Rarely is the repository a bank. The federal government has its safe storage spaces, too, such as the Fort Knox and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 

Generally, gold IRA depositories are secure facilities with proper safety protocols such as automatic relocking; motion, sound, vibration detectors; etc. The robust, disaster-proof buildings usually have round-the-clock armed security on duty. In short, your gold goes in and out of the heavily surveilled property only when you want it to. And even if anything untoward happens, insurance comes to the rescue.

P.S. A gold IRA can have both physical and digital gold. The depository only stores gold in the metal and not documents representing gold stock or fund purchases.

Read more: Top Gold IRA companies

Commingled and Segregated Storage

A gold depository can store the gold of its patrons together or in discrete sections.

Commingled

Typically, a general vault is assigned to all gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and other precious metals deposited by various individuals. A commingled or unallocated setup assures the safety of your bullion bars and coins. However, you’ll not receive the exact pieces deposited at distribution.

For instance, if you deposited a Canadian Maple Leaf gold coin minted in 2006, you’ll receive a Maple Leaf coin produced in the same year, which may or may not be your coin. Before adding your gold pieces, the depository notes down the amount, quality, and type of metal added.

Segregated

If you’re not comfortable with the commingled storage arrangement, look at dedicated storage spaces.

In the segregated arrangement, the gold is stored in a separate storage unit or locker duly labeled for identification. Therefore, you are ensured the gold you receive at the time of IRA distribution is the exact ones you originally bought and deposited. You’ll be charged extra storage fees for the special treatment and the possibly increased storage space needed. 

Note: The level of security and safety is the same with segregated and collective storage.

Tax Deference/Savings

As a gold IRA holder, you cannot legally store the gold in a facility that’s not IRS-recognized. If you keep the gold at your home or any private place, the IRS will levy taxes on your gold assets. But when you buy the gold and ship it directly to an IRS-approved depository from the dealer, with your custodian’s approval, you bypass those taxes as there’s no “distribution” per se and, therefore, no taxable distribution.

Things to Consider When Selecting a Gold IRA Depository

An approved depository with a good track record and reputation is a good start in your quest for a safety deposit box. But that should not be the be-all and end-all of your research. A few other things must be considered, too, such as the following:

Geographical Location

If the depository is far away and doesn’t have proper transportation and shipping infrastructure, even the best-in-class security features should not move the needle for you. Your costs may go up if you choose to work with them. Therefore, look to a depository that’s relatively nearby. It must be reputed and should provide all the tools you need to learn about the status of your valuables.

Storage Options

As mentioned above, a depository can offer commingled and/or dedicated storage. If you need segregated space for your gold, ensure the repository has the provision and doesn’t charge you a bomb for the privilege. With many depositories providing the allocated storage option, finding a repository that offers assigned storage space for a reasonable price shouldn’t be a problem. 

Fees

An IRS-approved depository or gold storage facility isn’t a non-profit, and your IRA custodian isn’t footing the storage costs either. If you opted to work with a dealer or depository referred by your custodian, discounts could be offered, but there’ll be no free lunch.  

The depository will charge you annual fees, usually a flat fee or based on the stored gold’s worth. You may also be charged for shipping the gold from and to the depository.

Insurance

While state-of-the-art buildings and world-class security systems signal holistic protection, the security infrastructure isn’t foolproof. It’s, therefore, imperative the depository you pick has adequate insurance cover for the building and its contents. Most gold IRA depositories have insurance covers worth millions and even a billion or more. The higher the amount, the more coverage for your gold.

Also, ensure the depository assumes legal ownership of the gold it stores and not just the structure. Because if it detaches itself from the gold and only takes up the “guardian” role, it cannot be sued or held legally liable for burglary or any damage to the gold articles within its custody.

While you’re at it, also check the depository has proper registrations and licenses to its credit.

5 Best Gold IRA Depositories

The following companies are not just duly approved and licensed but are completely transparent about their costs and fees, have reasonable pricing, solid cachet, robust logistics, and, of course, boast of state-of-the-art safety and security measures, among several other things.

Delaware Depository

Founded in 1999, Delaware Depository is a Wilmington, Delaware-based precious metals depository. It offers safekeeping, custody, and distribution services to financial institutions, IRA custodians, individual investors, etc.

The company has three gold IRA storage facilities: one in Wilmington and one each in Canada and Switzerland. You can choose to store gold coins and bullion bars in any of the three locations. All the locations have Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. and the CME Group, Inc. licenses.

The depository’s security procedures and measures include UL-rated safes, detection (motion, vibration, and sound), 24/7 video surveillance, and electronic security. The space also boasts comprehensive and detailed inventory reporting and controls systems, and there’s all-risk insurance cover worth $1 billion.  

Brinks Global Services

As the name hints, Brinks Global Services has an international network of storage facilities. And to help its patrons keep a check over their valuables, Brinks uses networked software that provides complete visibility and security of the precious metal assets.

Brinks keeps all your precious metals safe and secure in vaults safeguarded by all-risk protection and armored trucks. Most importantly, the depository takes full responsibility for the bullion gold coins and bars held in its vaults. The Brink’s Vision and Brink’s Online app provide complete visibility of your metals when needed. 

CNT Depository

CNT Depository boasts of a 63,000 sq. ft. facility dedicated to the safety and security of the stored valuables. The structure has a class 3 UL rating with rigorous storage standards and adopts a layered security approach to ensure complete protection.

CNT has segregated storage services tailored to meet both individual and institutional requirements. Like other depositories on this list, CNT offers secured packaging and transportation of your gold assets. The facility is Lloyd’s of London-insured, and monthly internal and yearly external audits are carried out to ensure the facilities are up to pace.

The depository has the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) licenses.

International Depository Services

International Depository Services (IDS) offers gold IRA storage provisions in Delaware (New Castle), Texas (Dallas), and Canada (Mississauga, Ontario).

The three strategically located depositories are secure and state-of-the-art, serving individual, institutional, and IRA custodians. All three facilities have COMEX (The Commodity Exchange) and ICE approval. The depositories come with class III gold vaults to facilitate safe and secure gold storage.

Some of the other salient features of IDS’ IRS-approved depositories include:

  • Lloyd’s of London precious metals insurance
  • 24/7 surveillance with modern, redundant (which is a good thing) security systems
  • Specially assigned storage spaces for gold, silver, platinum, and other precious metals, and
  • UL certification

Visit the repository’s website to learn more.

Regal Assets

Unlike the above depositories, Regal Assets is a full-fledged gold IRA company. Besides performing custodian duties, it also offers gold storage services. You’ll not have to look for a depository with Regal Assets as your precious metals IRA custodian.

Regal Assets offers storage services for precious metals of all kinds and types. For instance, it provides secured storage for raw gold and minted pieces such as Gold American Eagles. The repository offers services whether the gold and silver are bought outside of or within a retirement account.

The gold bars and silver coins are stored separately after independent audits and verifications. There’s no shared or pooled ownership arrangement. Also, your precious metal IRAs are insured for their total value. The storage fee is a flat fee. That means your annual fees won’t crop up as your IRA grows. And there are no hidden fees. Visit the official Regal Assets site to learn more about its offerings.

Honorable mention: As mentioned earlier, banks may also offer vault storage facilities. Among those banks are JP Morgan Chase Bank, Bank of England, Barclays, and HSBC, to name a few.

Read more: Best gold IRA companies

Conclusion

For retirement investments, investing in physical gold isn’t the only route. Gold stocks and mutual funds are also options. But a mutual fund or stock doesn’t afford the satisfaction of owning precious physical metals. Precious metals IRA account lets you hold precious metals. Most importantly, they save you the hassle and costs attached to buying and storing actual precious metals.

To reiterate, “storage” is key to gold IRAs and other precious metals IRAs. Therefore, do not overlook the significance of associating with the right IRS-approved depository services.

With the above-listed storage institutions, you are in good hands. But if you choose not to deposit your gold with any of the above due to logistics concerns or other reasons, make sure the depository you zero in on is credible and duly approved. As always, talk to your financial advisor before making a move.

FAQs

Can I build a gold storage facility at home and seek IRS approval?

Unfortunately, IRS doesn’t entertain private gold storage facilities for an IRA arrangement, even if those are truly modern and secure storage setups. IRS is not keen because it would become easy for individuals to spend or distribute funds without reporting.

It’s not illegal to store gold privately. But you cannot do the same under a gold IRA umbrella. Keeping gold discreetly at home can attract taxes since the IRS categorizes the precious metal as a “collectible.” And income taxes apply to the distribution.

If your IRA company instructs or is okay with storing IRA gold on your premises, look for another service provider. All the advertisements propagating home-based gold IRA storage are false and misleading.