If you’re looking to invest in actual silver or any other precious metal and don’t want to deal with the metal’s storage and security requirements, look at an IRA (individual retirement account). A regular IRA won’t allow silver or other precious metals investments. You’d need to set up a “precious metals IRA” for that purpose.
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A precious metals IRA is an SDIRA (self-directed individual retirement account) that could also be referred to as a silver IRA, gold IRA, platinum IRA, etc., based on its metal contents. If the IRA consists primarily of silver coins and bars, you may refer to it as a silver IRA. A silver IRA may also have gold and other precious metals as holdings.
Read more: Sterling Silver vs. White Gold
So, what is a silver IRA, and what types of silver are allowed in a silver IRA account? Are there any specific requirements the silver bars and coins must meet to be IRA-eligible? To provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the topic, we’ll discuss the following:
- What are silver IRAs?
- Silver IRA requirements
- Approved silver coins and bars
- Non-approved silver coins and bars and more
Silver usually plays second fiddle to gold and, as a result, doesn’t get the attention it deserves. This piece attempts to shift the balance in silver’s favor. Read on.
What is a Silver IRA?
A silver IRA is a self-directed IRA that allows investments in silver bullion for retirement. Traditional IRAs do not entertain gold, silver, or other precious metal investments. The IRA silver is under the watch of a custodian who will help enlist a depository to store the physical metal. Also, the silver bought should be IRA-eligible silver and purchased from a recognized precious metals dealer. So, what deems a silver item “IRA eligible?”
(Note: A silver or precious metal IRA doesn’t include paper assets. You don’t need an SDIRA for them, as silver stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs are allowed in a regular IRA (traditional or Roth).
IRS’ IRA Requirements for Silver
Silver IRA-eligible products include coins and bars. The silver goods must meet specific purity and mintage requirements set by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to qualify for a precious metals IRA account. Listed below are the requirements:
- All silver coins and bars held in a silver IRA should be 0.999 percent pure at the minimum.
- The silver articles held under the IRA must be kept at an IRS-approved depository. Storing the silver items at home disqualifies the IRA arrangement with immediate effect and subjects the purchase to taxes. For the list of repositories, contact your custodian.
- The silver coins or bars should have been produced at IRS-approved mints. IRS may, at times, not acknowledge a national government mint. In that case, coins minted by a state-sponsored mint won’t make the cut even if they meet the above requirements.
Although not an IRA prerequisite, choosing the right custodian is critical to the performance of and your experience owning a precious metal IRA. A proper IRA custodian will function as the account’s trustee. The custodian will help you open and set up your silver IRA and locate the right stakeholders for your account, besides managing various other aspects of the IRA account.
IRA-Approved Silver: Coins and Bars
The following are popular silver coins that meet the above precious metals IRA requirements:
- American Silver Eagle: The American Silver Eagle coin is America’s official silver coin. It was originally issued in 1986 and has been in production since then.
- Austrian Silver Vienna Philharmonic: The Vienna Philharmonic silver coin is a pure silver round initially issued in February 2008. It’s one of the first European silver coins to be 99.9 percent pure.
- Canadian Silver Maple Leaf: Issued by the Royal Canadian Mint, the Canadian Maple Leaf coins in silver are a replica of the coin’s prevalent gold bullion version.
- Mexican Silver Libertad: Mexican Silver Libertad coins are among the first few silver coins minted for investors.
- South African Silver Krugerrand: Unlike the gold version, the silver Krugerrand coin is pure or 0.999 pure silver and, therefore, eligible for a precious metal IRA. Krugerrand gold coins, by the way, don’t qualify for an IRA.
Some other IRA-approved silver coins are the Australian Silver Koala, Australian Silver Lunar, Silver Morgan Dollar, Silver Peace Dollar, and Australian Silver Kookaburra Coins, to name a few. The certified coins listed here aren’t the only ones eligible for a silver IRA. If you come across coins that meet IRS’ silver coin requirements for an IRA, those qualify too.
About Silver Bars
Compared to coins, silver bars are relatively generic. Most look pretty alike. The only difference is the stamp or name of the mint engraved into the bar and a few other details on the rear of the bars. Not to mention, bullion bars are usually bigger. They are also pure because they are not meant for circulation. Therefore, most silver bars make the precious metals IRA cut. Here are some popular ones:
Johnson Matthey and PAMP Suisse are well-recognized names, and their silver bars unsurprisingly qualify for inclusion in a silver IRA. These fine silver bars come in different sizes. The Credit Suisse bar is pretty straightforward on the design front. The PAMP bar, however, is a little more ornate and imaginative on the rear, affording PAMP’s pure bars increased recognition in the bullion bar world.
Other silver bars that qualify for an IRA include the Sunshine Silver Bar, Walking Liberty Silver Bar, A-Mark Silver Bar, RCM Silver Bar, and OPM Silver Bar. In case you were curious, “RCM” and “OPM” stand for “Royal Canadian Mint” and “Ohio Precious Metals,” respectively.
Silver Bullion Not Eligible for an IRA
If your silver rounds and bars don’t meet the purity and mint origin requirements, they automatically will not qualify for an IRA. Commemorative coins, collector’s coins, rare coins, or any other silver coin that sells for a premium will not be eligible for a silver IRA as their inflated prices make buying them difficult to justify from the investing sense. Besides that, here are some silver coins not allowed in a silver IRA.
- Silver Britannia
- Silver Queen’s Beasts
- French Silver Coins
- Chinese Silver Panda
- Silver Swiss Francs
- Andorra Silver Coins
- Somalia Silver Elephant Coins
These coins don’t qualify for a precious metals IRA because they don’t meet one or more of the IRS’ stipulations for including physical precious metals in an IRA.
Read more: How is Gold Taxed in IRA
A silver IRA is next in line if you want to invest in a precious metal under an IRA arrangement that is not a gold one. The precious metal comes without the additional premium other prized physical assets such as gold have attached. That’s because silver is more prominent or not as rare as gold.
Setting up a silver IRA is identical to putting up any other IRA involving any precious tangible asset or metal. Selecting a self-directed IRA custodian and precious metals dealer, zeroing in on the specific silver coins and/or bars, choosing a depository, executing a transaction, withdrawing the retirement funds, etc., are par for the course. Feel free to browse our site and read the articles to learn more about the process.
Do note that there shall be certain minimum or maximum annual contribution limits to your silver IRAs. The specifics of which vary with your custodian. To learn more, talk to your account custodian.
Can you include other precious metals in a silver IRA?
Yes, you can include gold, platinum, and palladium in a silver IRA, provided they meet their respective minimum fineness requirements. But then the IRA will no longer go by the “silver IRA” name. It will be more apt to call it a precious metals IRA account.
Are there special fees attached to a silver IRA?
There will be added fees to a silver or precious metals IRA arrangement since the setup entails custodial, transportation, and asset storage fees not associated with paper asset-based IRAs. You may or may not dub those extra costs “special fees.” The costs won’t be hidden, however.
Are there silver bars and rounds that aren’t pure enough but are still considered IRA-eligible silver?
No silver coin or bar is included in a precious metal IRA despite not meeting the purity requirement or other criteria for the IRA. The American Gold Eagle coin is the only exception.