Commentary on the Wall Street Journal article by Laura SaundersThe Internal Revenue Service isn’t too keen on the recent advertisements suggesting retirement savers store their tax-free individual retirement account funds in gold at their house or in safety-deposit boxes, the Wall Street Journal writes.
Storing Gold at Home: Legal, But with Caveats
The statement from the IRS comes in response to a number of ads online and on the radio, such as one from Hartford Gold Group, suggesting investors can avoid stock market turbulence by investing IRA accounts in gold coins and bullion they can store where they like, including their home, according to the Journal.
But the law on such practices is cloudy, the publication writes.
For example, IRA assets can’t be stored in collectibles such as antiques, gems, artworks or wine, according to the Journal. On the other hand, it’s legal to keep IRA investments in coins and bullion-quality bars in metals such as gold, silver and platinum, the publication writes.
But few IRA investment providers offer the option — Vanguard and Charles Schwab don’t allows their clients to invest IRAs in physical metals, according to the Journal.
The IRS may be taking issue with just how difficult and expensive investing in physical gold could end up for the investor. Fidelity, which allows IRA investing in some coins and bullion, charges up to 2.9% to buy and 2% to sell the assets, and a further 0.125% quarterly storage fee, the publication writes.
And keeping the gold at home is not an option: out of tax compliance considerations, Fidelity requires physical metals to be stored at a qualified facility and doesn’t let IRA investors take the gold out or even view it without notification from the IRA custodian, the Journal writes.
Proponents of store-at-home gold say that IRA owners can legally keep their gold in a safe-deposit box or at home if they are the owners and managers of a limited-liability company that uses the funds from the IRA to obtain the gold, according to the publication.
Some attorney says this structure would allow investors to store coins owned by the LLC at home — but for bullion, they would still have to store it in an LLC-owned safety-deposit box, the Journal writes.
Home storage can get pricy, too: one professional whose company provides paperwork for at-home storage of IRA gold charges $400 to $1,200 to set up such an LLC, according to the publication.
And because the issue of LLC ownership by IRA has no legal precedent, companies advertising home storage of IRA gold are careful to note that they don’t provide legal advice, the Journal writes.
* * *
Amid the increasingly mainstream “war on cash” and ‘hoarding’ across the globe, the timing of the IRS’ warning about keeping gold in your IRA seems highly coincidental at best and more than worrisome at least as the “different this time” confiscation methods shift attitudes from concerns to actions…
The government blatantly stole wealth from the American people before.
Many worry the U.S. government might confiscate gold again if it becomes desperate enough. I don’t think those fears are unfounded. The U.S. government’s abysmal financial situation is only getting worse.
But would it really do a 1933-style grab again?
I don’t think it will. However, there is another growing threat to your gold.
More Likely Than Outright Confiscation
Today, only a tiny fraction of the U.S. population owns gold. Heck, I’d bet most Americans have never even seen a gold coin, much less appreciate its value.
This wasn’t the case in 1933, when the U.S. was still on a variation of the gold standard. That’s why the government probably won’t repeat the 1933 rip-off. It’s simply not worth the effort.
If the government wants to confiscate wealth, it’s far more likely to go for the easy option… steadily debasing the currency by printing money. It’s a stealthy way to confiscate from savers.
That doesn’t mean gold owners are in the clear.
I think the government will try a new scam: taxing windfall profits on gold. This would make it much easier for the government to accomplish something similar to its 1933 heist.
There’s precedence for it, too. In 1980, Congress passed the Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax Act, which taxed up to 70% of “windfall profits” of domestic oil producers.
What the heck is a windfall profit anyway?
As far as I can tell, it’s whatever politicians decide it is. It’s completely arbitrary. There are no objective measures to define it.
In short, a windfall profit is simply a profit politicians don’t like. The whole concept is a scam—a word trick to camouflage and sanitize legalized theft.
If the price of gold explodes, I wouldn’t be surprised if Congress passes a Fair Share Gold Windfall Profit Tax Act levying a tax of 80%, 90%, or more on gold profits.
* * *