Can You Hold ETFs in a Traditional IRA?

Can you hold ETFs in a traditional IRA

IRAs are tax-advantaged retirement accounts that enable you to invest your earned income tax-efficiently. You can invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs; but be wary of fees and commissions when selecting investments.

Ben’s first suggestion is Schwab U.S. TIPS ETF SCHP, which invests in Treasury inflation-protected securities. This ETF could make an excellent addition to your IRA portfolio.


ETFs can make an excellent asset class to invest in for your IRA due to their wide-ranging diversification and low fees, but you should take your tax situation into consideration prior to investing. For instance, ETFs tracking precious metals should be treated as collectibles when sold and could incur up to 28% taxes upon transfer or sale of shares.

One factor to keep in mind when investing in ETFs in taxable accounts is unqualified dividends, which will be taxed at your regular income tax rate instead of at zero to 20% like qualified dividends are. Therefore, to maximize tax efficiency it would be ideal to opt for ETFs that pay qualified dividends or exempt distributions such as Schwab U.S. Dividend Equity ETF (SCHD), which holds high-dividend stocks such as AVGO and TXN with its yield of 3.32% as an ideal retirement portfolio investment option.


ETFs are among the many investments you can hold in an IRA, providing diversification, low costs and trading capabilities similar to stocks. You should be mindful of their fees known as expense ratios as increased expense ratios may reduce returns; trading commissions could further decrease earnings within your IRA account.

ETFs differ from mutual funds in that they can be traded throughout the day at market prices – making them perfect for use within an IRA account.

ETFs offer many advantages to IRA investors over mutual funds, including lower expense ratios and better tax efficiency. Furthermore, ETFs are transparent and easy to buy/sell which can speed up the growth of your IRA account. Plus there’s no loads which are front-end or back-end sales charges! Moreover, ETFs tend to be less costly than actively managed mutual funds while often boasting lower risk profiles.


ETFs offer investors an easy and flexible way to take advantage of intraday price fluctuations; however, ETFs carry all of the same market risks as individual stocks; therefore investors should consult the prospectus of each ETF they own to understand its associated risks.

Different ETF structures feature different operational details that could impact their tax status, which can help avoid unpleasant surprises at tax time. Being aware of these distinctions will allow you to avoid unpleasant surprises come tax season.

ETFs tend to be more tax-efficient than mutual funds in general, as their in-kind creation and redemption processes help limit capital gains distributions to shareholders, which reduce tax consequences within an IRA. Furthermore, ETFs don’t impose front- and back-end sales fees like mutual funds do; however precious metal ETFs present additional tax challenges because their holdings contain physical coins or bullion that must be structured as grantor trusts to avoid being treated as collectibles by the IRS.

Investment options

ETFs allow investors to diversify their portfolio by purchasing an index of securities instead of individual stocks, and trading them throughout the day compared with mutual funds which only offer end-of-day net asset value prices (NAV). Some ETFs also pay dividends that you can receive either as cash or reinvested through dividend reinvestment programs (DRIP). Such dividends are subject to ordinary income tax rates.

ETFs have earned themselves a stellar reputation for tax efficiency, making them popular components of taxable-account portfolios. But their tax efficiency should not be taken as evidence that ETFs are tax free; similar to any investment type, ETFs still generate capital gains distributions that must be taxed accordingly. Furthermore, certain ETFs such as those backed by precious metals (gold and silver) may require filing of Schedule K-1 forms for reporting purposes – some IRAs treat purchases of ETF shares like collectibles subject to special tax rates applicable only.

Raymond Banks Administrator
Raymond Banks is a published author in the commodity world. He has written extensively about gold and silver investments, and his work has been featured in some of the most respected financial journals in the industry. Raymond\\\'s expertise in the commodities market is highly sought-after, and he regularly delivers presentations on behalf of various investment firms. He is also a regular guest on financial news programmes, where he offers his expert insights into the latest commodity trends.

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