What gold is IRS approved?

In the realm of investment and financial planning, gold has maintained its reputation as a timeless and valuable asset. It’s often considered a safe haven, a hedge against inflation, and a means to diversify one’s portfolio. However, not all gold is treated equally, especially when it comes to tax implications. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States has specific guidelines for what constitutes IRS approved gold. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into what exactly IRS approved gold is, its significance, and the factors to consider when investing in it.

Understanding IRS Approved Gold

IRS approved gold refers to specific types of gold investments that meet the criteria outlined by the IRS for tax advantages. These criteria revolve around the purity, form, and source of the gold. The primary distinction lies in whether the gold qualifies as a collectible or as a precious metal under IRS regulations.

Types of IRS Approved Gold

  1. Bullion Coins: IRS approved gold includes certain gold bullion coins. Bullion coins are minted by governments and are valued for their gold content rather than their numismatic value. Examples of IRS approved gold bullion coins include the American Gold Eagle, Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, and South African Krugerrand.
  2. Proof Coins: Proof coins are specially minted versions of bullion coins, produced with meticulous attention to detail and a polished finish. While they are collectible, some proof coins, such as the American Gold Eagle Proof, can be considered IRS approved gold.
  3. Gold Bars: Gold bars from reputable refiners that meet specific purity standards are also considered IRS approved gold. These bars are often available in various weights and are typically sold based on the current market price of gold.

Purity Requirements

IRS approved gold must meet certain purity requirements to qualify for preferential tax treatment. Generally, the gold must have a purity of at least 99.5%. This requirement ensures that the investment is in the form of genuine gold, rather than gold-plated items or alloys.

Prohibited Types of Gold

Certain gold investments are not considered IRS approved gold. These include:

  1. Numismatic Coins: Numismatic coins are valued not only for their gold content but also for their rarity, historical significance, and condition. These coins do not meet the IRS’s criteria for purity and are subject to different tax treatment.
  2. Gold Jewelry: While gold jewelry is made from gold, it is typically not considered IRS approved gold. Jewelry is valued for its craftsmanship and design rather than its gold content.

Significance of IRS Approved Gold

Investing in IRS approved gold can have significant implications for taxation. Unlike gains from the sale of collectibles, gains from the sale of IRS approved gold are generally taxed at the capital gains rate, which can be more favorable for investors. However, it’s important to note that holding IRS approved gold within a tax-advantaged account, such as a self-directed Individual Retirement Account (IRA), can provide additional tax benefits.

Factors to Consider

  1. Authenticity: Ensure that the IRS approved gold you’re considering is authentic and sourced from reputable dealers or mints. Counterfeit gold can be a concern in the market.
  2. Market Conditions: Like any investment, the price of gold can be volatile. Stay informed about market trends and consider your investment horizon.
  3. Tax Implications: While IRS approved gold has tax advantages, it’s essential to consult with a tax professional to understand the specific tax implications based on your financial situation.
  4. Storage and Security: Consider how you will store your IRS approved gold. Security measures are crucial to protect your investment.


IRS approved gold offers investors a way to benefit from the value of gold while enjoying favorable tax treatment. By meeting specific criteria set by the IRS, certain gold coins and bars can be deemed as precious metals rather than collectibles. When investing in IRS approved gold, it’s vital to understand the purity requirements, potential tax benefits, and the various forms of gold that qualify. As with any investment, conducting thorough research and seeking professional advice can help you make informed decisions that align with your financial goals.