What Is a Bullion Depository?

What Is a Bullion Depository?


Written by John Rothans

Feb 9, 2022

Located in Kentucky, south of Louisville and north of Elizabethtown, is the facility known as Fort Knox. This veritable fortress holds about half of the American federal government’s stored gold, weighing more than 18,000 metric tons. It is also one of the world’s most famous bullion depositories.

But when you need to store your own gold or other precious metals, you can’t stash them at Fort Knox. Instead, you’ll need access to a highly secure private bullion depository.

What Is a Bullion Depository?

A bullion depository is a facility for the safekeeping of gold bars and coins or other precious metals. These depositories offer high-level, around-the-clock security—far better than the kind of security available at home or even with a safe deposit box at a bank. A bullion depository is similar to a bank vault but typically much larger.

While private companies usually operate bullion depositories, Texas opened the country’s first state-authorized bullion depository in 2018. This facility stores gold, silver, platinum, rhodium, and palladium belonging to private asset holders from across the United States.

Why Consider a Bullion Depository?

Storage of Personal Assets

Many asset holders opt to store precious metals in a bullion depository. This type of storage facility provides peace of mind for precious metals owners because security measures at a depository exceed those at a bank vault or, of course, your home.

Storage of Precious Metals IRA Assets

If you open a self-directed IRA and elect to purchase precious metals for this retirement account, you’re required to keep the precious metals at an IRS-approved bullion depository. You are not allowed to store IRA-held precious metals at home or in a safe deposit box.

Keep in mind that if you do attempt to store IRA precious metals at home or in a safe deposit box, you may face a hefty tax bill. This is because storing IRA assets in your own home might be viewed as “self-dealing.” Self-dealing is “when your self-directed retirement account makes a prohibited transaction with the same person who owns it (you),” as explained by the alternative asset advocates at Rocket Dollar. “You must keep your [assets] at arm’s length.”

In addition to a depository, here are some other entities you’re likely to deal with when you set up a precious metals IRA:

  • 401(k) provider: You’ll be working with your 401(k) provider if you want to shift money from your 401(k) to a self-directed IRA.
  • Custodian: Each self-directed IRA must have a custodian. A custodian can be a bank, credit union, trust company, or an entity licensed and regulated by the IRS as a “non-bank custodian.”
  • Precious metals distributor: On your behalf, your chosen custodian will buy precious metals from the distributor using assets in your IRA account and then schedule delivery of those precious metals to an IRS-approved depository.

How to Find an IRS-Approved Depository for Precious Metals

At least a dozen private bullion depositories are scattered around the country, and people continue to press for more. One Oklahoma senator filed a bill in February 2022 (SB1717) to create an Oklahoma Bullion Depository. But depending on where you live, you may have to search outside your state to find a bullion depository.

Among the IRS-approved depositories are Delaware Depository, Brink’s Global Services, HSBC Bank USA, J.P. Morgan Global Metals, CNT Depository, and A-M Global Logistics.

Fortunately, you don’t need to search for an IRS-approved depository on your own. A precious metals distributor like U.S. Money Reserve can help arrange secure, discreet delivery of your precious metals to a depository and introduce you to a vetted IRA custodian.

A depository gives you peace of mind that your precious metals are protected around the clock, and you’ll have to work with one when you open a precious metals IRA. Call U.S. Money Reserve to learn more about opening a precious metals IRA and selecting the right depository for you.


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