Feb 21

How to Purchase Real Estate with a Self Directed Roth IRA LLC

Using a Self Directed IRA LLC To Purchase Real Estate

Using a Self Directed IRA LLC To Purchase Real Estate

As Home Prices Rise, Flippers Make a Comeback

“This is a great time to be in the house-flipping business”

-Wall Street Journal, December 28th, 2016

Please click here to read the article.

Most people mistakenly believe that their Roth IRA must be invested in bank CDs, the stock market, or mutual funds. Few Investors realize that the IRS has always permitted real estate to be held inside IRA retirement accounts. Investments in real estate with a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC are fully permissible under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). IRS rules permit you to engage in almost any type of real estate investment, aside generally from any investment involving a disqualified person.

In addition, the IRS states the following on their website: “…..IRA law does not prohibit investing in real estate but trustees are not required to offer real estate as an option.”

Advantages of Using a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC to Purchase Real Estate

Income or gains generated by a Roth IRA generate tax-free profits. Using a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC to purchase real estate allows Using a Self Directed Roth IRA LLC To Purchase Real Estatethe Roth IRA to earn tax-free income/gains and never pay taxes on any future date, rather than in the year the investment produces income.

With a Self-Directed IRA Roth LLC, you can invest tax-free and not have to pay taxes ever! All the income or gains from your real estate deals flow though to your Roth IRA tax-free!

Types of Real Estate Investments

Below is a partial list of domestic and foreign real estate-related investments that you can make with a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC:

  • Raw land
  • Residential homes
  • Commercial property
  • Apartments
  • Duplexes
  • Condos/townhomes
  • Mobile homes
  • Real estate notes
  • Real estate purchase options
  • Tax liens certificates
  • Tax deeds
  • Farm land
  • Any domestic or foreign real property

Investing in Real Estate with a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC is Quick & Easy!

Purchasing real estate with a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC is essentially the same as purchasing real estate personally.

  • Set-up a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC with the IRA Financial Group
  • Identify the investment property
  • Purchase the investment property with the Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC. As manager of the Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC, you will not be required to seek the consent of the custodian to make a real estate investment providing you with “checkbook control” over your Roth IRA funds.
  • Title to the investment property and all transaction documents should be in the name of the Roth IRA LLC. Documents pertaining to the property investment must be signed by the LLC manager (you).
  • All expenses paid from the investment property go through the Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC. Likewise, all rental income checks must be deposited directly in to the Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC bank account. No Roth IRA related investment checks should be deposited into your personal accounts and no Roth IRA funds should be deposited into your personal account.
  • All income or gains from the investment flow through to the Roth IRA tax-free!

Tax Advantages of Using a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC!

Using a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC to make real estate investments presents a number of exciting tax planning opportunities.

The primary advantage of using a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC to make real estate investments is that all income and gains associated with the Roth IRA real estate investment grow tax-free and will not be subject to tax upon withdrawal or distribution. This is because unlike traditional IRAs, you are generally not subject to any tax upon taking Roth IRA distributions once you reach the age of 59 1/2.

The IRA Financial Group will take care of the entire setup of your Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC “Checkbook Control” structure. The whole process can be handled by phone, email, fax, or mail and typically takes between 7-21 days to complete, the timing largely depending on the state of formation and the custodian holding your retirement funds. Our IRA experts and tax and ERISA professionals are onsite greatly reducing the setup time and cost. Most importantly, each client of the IRA Financial Group is assigned a retirement tax professional to help with the establishment of the Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC “Checkbook Control” structure. You will find that our fee for this service is significantly less than other companies that perform the same or similar services.

To learn more about using a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC to invest in real estate, please contact one of our Self-Directed Roth IRA Experts at 800-472-0646 for more information.

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Feb 20

Benefits of Using Your IRA to Fund a Business with ROBS

When it comes to using retirement funds to buy or finance a business that you or another “disqualified person” will be involved in personally, there is only one legal way to do it and that is through the Business Acquisition Solution, also known as a Rollover Business Start-Up (ROBS). The ROBS solution takes advantage of an exception in the tax code under Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) Section 4975(d) that allows one to use 401(k) plan funds to buy stock in a “C” Corporation, which is known as “qualifying employer securities”. The exception to the IRS prohibited transaction rules found in IRC 4975(d) requires that a 401(k) plan buy “qualifying employer securities”, which is defined as stock of a “C” Corporation. This is the reason why one cannot use a self-directed IRA LLC to invest in a business the IRA holder or a disqualified person will be personally involved in or why a 401(k) plan cannot invest in an LLC in which the plan participant or disqualified person will be involved in without triggering the prohibited transaction rules.

So How Does the ROBS Solution Work?

The structure typically involves the following sequential steps:

1. An entrepreneur or existing business owner establishes a new C Corporation;

2. The C Corporation adopts a prototype 401(k) plan that specifically permits plan participants to direct the investment of their plan accounts into a selection of investment options, including employer stock, also known as “qualifying employer securities.”

3. The entrepreneur elects to participate in the new 401(k) plan and, as permitted by the plan, directs a rollover or trustee-to-trustee transfer of retirement funds from another qualified retirement plan into the newly adopted 401(k) plan;

4. The entrepreneur then directs the investment of his or her 401(k) plan account to purchase the C Corporation’s newly issued stock at fair market value ( i.e., the amount that the entrepreneur wishes to invest in the new business); and finally

5.The C Corporation utilizes the proceeds from the sale of stock to purchase an existing business or to begin a new venture.

What Are Some of the Advantages of the ROBS Solution?

  • Save Money: The primary advantage of establishing a ROBS solution is to be able to use your retirement funds to invest in a business you will be personally involved in without having to pay tax the retirement funds you wish to use as a distribution to tax and potentially penalty. By being able to invest the retirement funds into the business without having to take a taxable distribution and a 10% early distribution penalty if under the age of 591/2, using a ROBS solution could save someone close to 45% of the distribution amount. For example, if someone under the age of 591/2 was looking to use $100,000 of retirement funds to fund a business and ended up taking a taxable distribution of that amount, that individual would likely have to pay approximately 45% of the 100,000 or $45,000 in tax to the IRS when declaring the distribution on their tax return. The tax rate could be lower if the individual was in a lower income tax bracket or the retirement funds needed were insignificant, but using a ROBS solution would save having to pay tax and potentially a 10% penalty on that amount.
  • Invest in Yourself: The ROBS solution allows one to invest their retirement funds in a business that will be actively run by the retirement account holder. As a result, one is essentially investing their retirement funds in themselves rather than on Wall Street. Of course, not all businesses are successful. According to Bloomberg, close to 80% of new businesses fail in the first 18 months. Hence, investing your hard earned retirement funds in a new business is certainly a risk. However, it is a risk that you are legally entitled to take as per the Internal Revenue Code. Using retirement funds to invest in your business is not for everyone, but for those entrepreneurs that would rather invest in themselves than Wall Street, the ROBS solution is an option.
  • Diversification: There is a growing sentiment among financial advisors, especially after the 2008 financial crisis, that in order to protect your retirement funds from a market downturn, your retirement funds should be well diversified. One can generally not eliminate investment risk completely, but one can manage your level of risk. Every investment has some amount of risk, however, having your retirement funds invested in different types of investments, such as stocks, real estate, and even private businesses, can be a way of diversifying your retirement portfolio and better protecting your retirement funds. Also, it is believed that diversification can enable a retirement portfolio to grow both when markets boom and returns crumble in one sector One should certainly work with a financial planner and tax professional when looking at investment options, especially when it comes to using retirement funds to buy a business.
  • Earn a Salary: In order for one to be a participant of a 401(k) Plan, one needs to be an employee of the business, which adopted the plan. This is the reason why if you own Apple or IBM stock but don’t work at those companies, you cannot participate in their company 401(k) plans. Hence, in order to be eligible to participate in the corporation 401(k) plan you must become a W-2 employee of the C Corporation. For many entrepreneurs the ability to earn a salary and be actively involved in the business is the reason they are using a ROBS solution versus using a self-directed IRA.
  • Benefit from having a 401(k) Retirement Plan: One of the best ways for you to save toward your own retirement and ensure your future security is through an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan. Below are some of the advantages of offering and participating ion a 401(k) Plan.
  • Matching Contributions Many employers will match a portion of your savings: It’s like passing up free money if you don’t participate. A safe harbor 401(k) Plan, which is a popular type of 401(k) plan for small businesses, offer employees who participate in the plan a 3% matching contribution made by the employer. Thus, for example, if the employee earns $40,000 in salary during the year and contributes 3% of the salary of $1200 to the 401(k) plan, the employer would contribute an additional $1200 (3% of the salary) to the individual 401(k) plan account.
  • Retaining employees: with most businesses offering their employees retirement benefits, it is worthwhile for small businesses to compete for talented workers by implementing 401(k) benefits. Offering 401(k) plan benefits is a great way to retain key employees. In general, when potential hires are considering multiple job offers, they’ll compare those offers based on corporate culture, growth opportunities, and benefits packages.
  • Easy Administration: 401(k) Plan administration is now easier and more cost-effective than ever with Internet options available to small employers. In addition, IRA Financial Group offers recordkeeping and third-party administration services for your plan allowing you to spend more time focusing on your business and less on your plan.
  • You Can Participate As Well: You are eligible to participate in the company 401(k) plan if you are an owner or an employee of the company that sponsor’s the 401(k) plan. Current regulations allow plan participants to contribute up to $18,000 ($24,000 if over the age of 50) of their income on a pre-tax basis each year. That means that in addition to your tax savings for offering the plan and providing matching contributions, you’ll receive yet another tax savings for participating in the plan. This savings can be substantial – an owner in the 35% tax bracket who made the maximum contribution would have saved approximately $6,500 in taxes in 2016.

To learn more about the benefits of the ROBS strategy, please contact a retirement tax expert at 800-472-0646.
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Feb 15

Can You Get a Mortgage on a Piece of Property with a Self Directed IRA?

Yes. The mortgage would need to be a non-recourse type of loan. With a nonrecourse loan, if your Self-Directed IRA fails to make the payments, the only recourse the lender has is the property itself. Also, note that if your IRA obtains a loan, unrelated debt financing income tax (UDFI) will apply, which will subject the portion of the income or gains that are debt financed to Unrelated Business Taxable Income (UBTI).

Can You Get a Mortgage on a Piece of Property with a Self Directed IRA?“Debt-financed property” refers to borrowing money to purchase the real estate (i.e., a leveraged asset that is held to produce income). In such cases, only the income attributable to the financed portion of the property is taxed; gain on the profit from the sale of the leveraged assets is also UDFI (unless the debt is paid off more than 12 months before the property is sold).

Check out this link for more info about investing in real estate with a Self-Directed IRA.

Please contact one of our Self Directed IRA Experts at 800-472-0646 for more information.
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Feb 12

Trump, The Fiduciary Rule And Your IRA

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com, authored by Adam Bergman –

On February 3, 2017, President Trump announced that he will use a memorandum to ask the labor secretary to consider rescinding a rule, better known as the fiduciary rules, set to go into effect in April 2017 that orders retirement advisers, overseeing about $3 trillion in assets, to act in the best interest of their clients.

The fiduciary rule, rolled out by the Obama administration, took many years to develop. The fiduciary rule aimed to protect retirement savers from bad advice and keep more money in their pockets. It also sought to indirectly change the way the industry structures its products and advisor compensation policies.

Trump, The Fiduciary Rule And Your IRAUnder the fiduciary rules, broker-dealers would be required to act in their clients’ best interest rather than encouraging money moves that directly benefit the broker’s bottom line.  Among the requirements in the rule, brokers have to justify the varying compensation they can receive for recommending one investment product over another to a retirement saver. Brokers said that rule makes sales fees on some mutual funds, known as sales loads, and some funds’ differing share-class prices problematic for accounts that charge investors for each transaction made.

Currently, if you work with a financial advisor who is a registered broker, he or she only has to recommend investments that are “roughly suitable” for you. That means if your advisor has the option between two similar mutual funds, but one pays out a higher commission, he or she can put you in that one—even if the other fund has lower fees and would boost your portfolio in the long run. In rescinding the fiduciary rules, the Trump administration wants to keep this system in place, arguing that the fiduciary rule will limit investment choices and burden the industry with unnecessary regulations.  According to The industry’s top lobby group, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association estimated the fiduciary rule would cost firms $5 billion to implement and another $1.1 billion annually to maintain.

The Obama Administration believed that fiduciary rules would help lower costs for American retirement account investors as well as better protect the average retirement investor from bad advice and unnecessary fees.  On the flip side, the financial industry has attacked the rules as being overly burdensome as well as potentially limiting the type of investments and advice financial advisors can offer.  To this end, in 2016, Edward Jones and some other financial advisors announced that it would stop offering mutual funds and exchange traded funds in IRA accounts that charge investors a commission and move to an account value fee based arrangement.

In the end, President Trump seemingly sided with the financial and securities industry that the fiduciary rules were overly burdensome and would limit investment options for IRA holders.  In the end, it appears that President Trump was not convinced that any lower consumer costs associated with the enactment of the fiduciary rule would be enough to overcomes its perceived shortfalls. Because the fiduciary rules have not yet been enacted into law, President Trump’s executive order rescinding the rule will have no current impact on IRA investors, however, the long-term impact could be significant for both investors and financial advisors.

For more information about the fiduciary rule, please contact us @ 800.472.0646.

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Feb 08

What Exactly is Unrelated Business Taxable Income?

The tax advantage of an IRA is that income is tax-free until distributed. In general, an exempt organization is not taxed on its income from an activity that is substantially related to the charitable, educational, or other purpose that is the basis for the organization’s exemption. Such income is exempt even if the activity is a trade or business. However, to prevent tax-exempt entities from competing unfairly with taxable entities, tax-exempt entities are subject to unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) when their income is derived from any trade or business that is unrelated to its tax-exempt status.

What Exactly is Unrelated Business Taxable Income?UBTI is defined as “gross income derived by any organization from any unrelated trade or business regularly carried on by it” reduced by deductions directly connected with the business. An exempt organization that is a limited partner, member of a LLC, or member of another non-corporate entity will have attributed to it the UBTI of the enterprise as if it were the direct recipient of its share of the entity’s income which would be UBTI had it carried on the business of the entity.   UBTI also applies to unrelated debt-financed income (UDFI).   “Debt-financed property” refers to borrowing money to purchase the real estate (i.e., a leveraged asset that is held to produce income). In such cases, only the income attributable to the financed portion of the property is taxed; gain on the profit from the sale of the leveraged assets is also UDFI (unless the debt is paid off more than 12 months before the property is sold). There are some important exceptions from UBTI: those exclusions relate to the central importance of investment in real estate – dividends, interest, annuities, royalties, most rentals from real estate, and gains/losses from the sale of real estate. However, rental income generated from real estate that is “debt financed” loses the exclusion, and that portion of the income becomes subject to UBTI. Thus, if the IRA borrows money to finance the purchase of real estate, the portion of the rental income attributable to that debt will be taxable as UBTI.

For an IRA, any business regularly carried on or by a partnership or LLC of which it is a member is an unrelated business. For example, the operation of a shoe factory, the operation of a gas station, or the operation of an computer rental business by an LLC or partnership owned by the Self Directed IRA LLC would likely be treated as an unrelated business and subject to UBTI.

Although there is little formal guidance on UBTI implications for self-directed real estate IRAs, there is a great deal of guidance on UBTI implications for real estate transactions by tax-exempt entities. In general, Gains and losses on dispositions of property (including casualties and other involuntary dispositions) are excluded from UBTI unless the property is inventory or property held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of an unrelated trade or business. This exclusion covers gains and losses on dispositions of property used in an unrelated trade or business, as long as the property was not held for sale to customers. In addition, subject to a number of conditions, if an exempt organization acquires real property or mortgages held by a financial institution in conservatorship or receivership, gains on dispositions of the property are excluded from UBTI, even if the property is held for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business. The purpose of the provision seems to be to allow an exempt organization to acquire a package of assets of an insolvent financial institution with assurance that parts of the package can be sold off without risk of the re-sales tainting the organization as a dealer and thus subjecting gains on re-sales to the UBIT.

Please contact one of our Self Directed IRA Experts at 800-472-0646 for more information.

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Feb 07

Workplace Retirement Plan May Limit IRA Deductions

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com

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In general, one may be able to claim a deduction on their individual federal income tax return for the amount contributed to a pre-tax Individual retirement account (“IRA”), also known as a Traditional IRA.  Whereas, after tax or Roth IRA contributions are not tax deductible.  For 2017, the maximum IRA contribution is $5500 and $6500 if over the age of fifty. However, in the case of an individual that is covered by an employer qualified retirement plan, such as 401(k) plan, the IRA contribution amount that individual can deduct could be limited by his or her modified adjusted gross income (“AGI”).  An individual’s AGI is essentially the amount of gross income earned during the year, less certain adjustments. One can find the allowable reductions to your income on the front page of IRS Form 1040.

The two key factors in determining the amount an individual can deduct from their pre-tax Traditional IRA contribution in a given year are (i) whether the individual is covered by an employer 401(k) plan and (ii) their AGI. For individuals that are not covered by an employer 401(k) plan, they are free to deduct the full amount of their IRA contribution up to $5500 or $6500, if over the age of fifty, for 2017.  For example, if Bill Gates was no longer employed by Microsoft or any other company and was not covered by a retirement plan at work, he would be able to deduct the full amount of his IRA contribution for 2017, notwithstanding his annual gross income amount.  Whereas, if Bill Gates was still employed at Microsoft and was covered by the company’s retirement plan, he would not be able to take a deduction for his IRA contribution because his income would exceed the maximum threshold amount.   Interestingly, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) rules do not distinguish whether the individual that is covered by an employer retirement plan actually participated and made contributions to the plan.  The rule states, however, that so long as the employee is covered by the employer retirement plan, that individual’s AGI will determine whether he or she can take a tax deduction for the IRA contribution.  Thus, if an individual is covered by an employer sponsored retirement plan, notwithstanding whether that individual actually made a contribution to the plan, the individual’s AGI will be the determining factor whether he or she can deduct his or her IRA contribution.  An individual that does not have access to an employer 401(k) plan has no such limitation.

For 2017, if an individual is covered by a retirement plan at work, the following table provided by the IRS will help one determine what amount of his or her IRA contribution for 2017 is tax deductible.

 
Filing Status Your Modified AGI IRA Deduction Amount
single or
head of household
$62,000 or less
______________more than $62,000 but less than $72,000________________
$72,000 or more
A full deduction up to the amount of your 2017 contribution limit
_______________Partial deduction
________________
No deduction
married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) $99,000 or less
________________more than $99,000 but less than $119,000________________
$119,000 or more
A full deduction up to the amount of your 2017 contribution limit
_______________
Partial deduction
________________
No deduction
married filing separately Less than $10,000
______________
$10,000 or more
Partial deduction
_______________No deduction

Having the ability to contribute and deduct IRA contributions is an important aspect of many Americans’ retirement strategy.  In order to best take advantage of the existing IRA contribution and deduction rules available, it is vital that Americans with access to an employer retirement plan have a solid understanding of how the IRA contribution deduction rules work.

For more information about IRA Contribution Rules, please contact us @ 800.472.0646.

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Feb 01

Is There Any Holding Period Requirement Before Taking Tax-Free Distributions from a Roth IRA?

Generally, distributions from a designated Roth account are excluded from gross income if they are (1) made after the employee attains age 59 1/2 , (2) “attributable to” the employee being “disabled,” or (3) made to the employee’s beneficiary or estate after the employee’s death. However, the exclusion is denied if the distribution occurs within five years after the employee’s first designated Roth contribution to the account from which the distribution is received or, if the account contains a rollover from another designated Roth account, to the other account.

Is There Any Holding Period Requirement Before Taking Tax-Free Distributions from a Roth IRA?

Please contact one of our Roth IRA Experts at 800-472-0646 for more information.

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Jan 30

IRA Financial Group Introduces New Bitcoin Self-Directed IRA with Checkbook Control

Bitcoin self-directed IRA LLC will allow for tax-free treatment on bitcoin transactions using retirement funds

IRA Financial Group, the leading provider of self-directed IRA LLC and Solo 401(k) Plans is proud to announce the introduction of the self-directed IRA bitcoin with checkbook control. The bitcoin self-directed IRA LLC structure will allow retirement account investors to purchase bitcoins and generate tax-deferred or tax-free gains. “We are excited to offer our clients with a tax efficient and cost effective way to use retirement funds to buy bitcoins,” stated Adam Bergman, a partner with the IRA Financial Group.

IRA Financial Group Introduces New Bitcoin Self-Directed IRA with Checkbook ControlOn March 25, 2014, the IRS issued Notice 2014-21, which for the first time set forth the IRS position on the taxation of bitcoins. According to the IRS, “Virtual currency is treated as property for U.S. federal tax purposes,” the notice said. “General tax principles that apply to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency.” By treating bitcoins as property and not currency, the IRS is providing a potential boost to investors but it also imposing extensive record-keeping rules—and significant taxes—on its use. With IRA Financial Group’s self directed IRA LLC bitcoin solution, traditional IRA or Roth IRA funds can be used to buy bitcoins without tax.

The primary advantage of using a Self Directed IRA LLC to make investments is that all income and gains associated with the IRA investment grow tax-deferred.

IRA Financial Group’s Self-Directed IRA LLC for bitcoin investors, is an IRS approved structure that allows one to use their retirement funds to make bitcoin and other investments tax-free and without custodian consent. The Self-Directed IRA LLC involves the establishment of a limited liability company (“LLC”) that is owned by the IRA (care of the IRA custodian) and managed by the IRA holder or any third-party. As manager of the IRA LLC, the IRA owner will have control over the IRA assets to make traditional as well as non-traditional investments, such as real estate.

Using IRA Financial Group’s self directed IRA LLC with “checkbook control” solution to make bitcoin investments offers a number of very interesting investment opportunities, including the ability to diversify ones retirement portfolio with real estate, precious metals, and other alternative investment options.

IRA Financial Group is the market’s leading provider of self-directed retirement plans. IRA Financial Group has helped thousands of clients take back control over their retirement funds while gaining the ability to invest in almost any type of investment, including real estate without custodian consent.

The IRA Financial Trust Company, a self-directed IRA custodian, was founded by Adam Bergman, a partner with the IRA Financial Group.

Adam Bergman, IRA Financial Group partner, has written six books the topic of self-directed retirement plans, including, The Checkbook IRA, Going Solo, Turning Retirement Funds into Start-Up Dreams, Solo 401(k) Plan in a Nutshell, Self-Directed IRA in a Nutshell, and In God We Trust in Roth We Prosper.

To learn more about the IRA Financial Group please call 800-472-0646.

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Jan 26

Some Helpful Tips For Investing In Real Estate Using Retirement Funds

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com and was written by our own Adam Bergman –

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Most people mistakenly believe that their retirement accounts must be invested in traditional financial related investments such as stocks, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, etc. Few Investors realize that the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) permits retirement accounts, such as an IRA or 401(k) plan, to invest in real estate and other alternative types of investments.  In fact, IRS rules permit one to invest retirement funds in almost any type of investment, aside generally from any investment involving a disqualified person, collectibles and life insurance.

One of the primary advantages of purchasing real estate with retirement funds is that all gains are tax-deferred until a distribution is made or tax-free in the case of a Roth account (after-tax). For example, if one purchased a piece of property with retirement funds for $100,000 and later sold the property for $300,000, the $200,000 of gain appreciation would generally be tax-deferred. Whereas, if you purchased the property using personal funds (non-retirement funds), the gain would be subject to federal income tax and in most cases state income tax.

The two most common vehicles for purchasing real estate with retirement funds is the self-directed IRA or an employer sponsored 401(k) plan.  However, most employer 401(k) plans do not offer real estate as a plan investment option and, thus, the self-directed IRA has become the most popular way to buy real estate with retirement funds.  Establishing a self-directed IRA is quick and relatively inexpensive and can be done in just a few days.  The most challenging aspect of investing in real estate using retirement funds is navigating the IRS prohibited transaction rules.  In general, pursuant to Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) Section 4975, the retirement account holder cannot make a retirement account investment that will directly or indirectly benefit ones self or any disqualified person (lineal descendant of the retirement account holder and related entities), perform any service in connection with the retirement account investment, guarantee any retirement account loan, extend any credit to or from the retirement account, or enter into any transaction with the retirement account that would present a conflict of interest.  The purpose of these rules is to encourage the use of retirement account for accumulation of retirement savings and to prohibit those in control of the retirement account from taking advantage of the tax benefits for their personal account.

Aside from navigating the IRS prohibited transaction rules, the following are a handful of helpful tips for making real estate investment using retirement funds:

  • The deposit and purchase price for the real estate property should be paid using retirement account funds and not from any disqualified person(s)
  • All expenses, repairs and taxes incurred in connection with the retirement account real estate investment should be paid using retirement funds – no personal funds from any disqualified person should be used
  • If additional funds are required for improvements or other matters involving the retirement account-owned real estate investment, all funds should come from the retirement account or from a non-“disqualified person”
  • Partnering with yourself or another disqualified person in connection with a retirement account investment could trigger the IRS prohibited transaction rules.
  • If financing is needed for a real estate transaction, only nonrecourse financing should be used. A nonrecourse loan is a loan that is not personally guaranteed by the retirement account holder or any disqualified person and whereby the lender’s only recourse is against the property and not against the borrower.
  • If using a nonrecourse loan to purchase real estate with a self-directed IRA, the unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”) rules could be triggered and a tax rate reaching as high as 40 percent could apply.  Note – an exemption from this tax is available for 401(k) plans pursuant to IRC 514(c)(9). If the UBTI tax is triggered and tax is due, IRS Form 990-T must be timely filed.
  • No services should be performed by the retirement account holder or any “disqualified person” in connection with the real estate investment.  Please see: Finally Some Clarity On What You Can And Cannot Do In Your Self-Directed IRA for additional information
  • Title of the real estate purchased should be in the name of the retirement account. For example, if Joe Smith established a Self-Directed IRA LLC and named the LLC “XYZ, LLC”, title to the real estate purchased by Joe’s Self-Directed IRA LLC would be as follows: XYZ LLC.  Whereas, if Joe Smith established a self-directed IRA with ABC IRA Trust Company (custodian), and the custodian purchased the real estate directly on behalf of Joe without the use of an LLC, then title would read:  ABC IRA Trust Company FBO John Doe IRA.
  • Keep good records of income and expenses generated by the retirement account owned real estate investment
  • All income, gains or losses from the retirement account real estate investment should be allocated to the retirement account owner of the investment
  • Make sure you perform adequate diligence on the property you will be purchasing especially if it is in a state you do not live in.
  • Beware of fraud if purchasing real estate from a promoter.
  • If using a self-directed IRA LLC to buy real estate, it is good practice to form the LLC in the state where the real estate will be located to avoid any additional filing fees.  Also, be mindful of any annual state LLC filing or franchise fees.

Using retirement funds to buy real estate can offer retirement account holders a number of positive financial and tax benefits, such as a way to invest in what one knows and understands, investment diversification, inflation protection, and the ability to generate tax-deferred or tax-free (in the case of a Roth) income or gains. The list of helpful tips outlined above should provide retirement account investors looking to buy real estate with a guideline of how to keep their retirement account from running afoul of any of the IRS rules.  However, retirement account holders using retirement funds to invest in real estate must be mindful of the broad application of the IRS prohibited transaction and UBTI rules and should consult with a tax professional for further guidance.

For more information about using a Self-Directed IRA to invest in real estate, please contact us @ 800.472.0646.

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Jan 24

Do You Need a Special Custodian to Make Self-Directed IRA Investments?

Pursuant to Section 408 of the Internal Revenue Code, an IRA must be established by a bank, financial institution, or authorized trust company.  Thus, a bank such as Wells Fargo, financial institution such as Vanguard, or a trust company such as the IRA Financial Trust Company are authorized to establish and administer IRAs.  The main difference is that not all IRA custodians allow the IRA to invest in alternative assets, such as real estate.

Individual Retirement Account is a term that most Americans have some understanding of.  They are commonly aware that it is a type of retirement account that was designed by Congress to encourage people to save for retirement. They generally understand that one can contribute a certain amount of income each year to the IRA account for investment. However, most do not have a solid understanding of the concept of tax deferral and the fact that retirement funds can be invested in assets other than stocks or mutual funds through what has become known as a Self-Directed IRA.

Do You Need a Special Custodian to Make Self-Directed IRA Investments?So why don’t they know this? It’s not because the majority of Americans are uneducated, indifferent, or incurious – they simply have not been told. It’s not in the financial interests of the traditional institutional investment companies, such as Bank of America, Charles Schwab, or E-Trade, to encourage you to make alternative investments using retirement funds. They make money when you invest in their financial products and keep your money there for a long time, whether through highly profitable trading commissions or by leveraging the power of your savings. They make no money when you use your money to invest in alternative or nontraditional investments, such as a plot of land or a private business. They get no commissions as a result. They lose access to your money too. Why would they inform you that such a strategy was permissible and possibly even preferable depending on the circumstances?

Yet, such nontraditional or alternative retirement asset investments are perfectly legal. The IRS has permitted them since 1974. It says so right on the IRS website.

And the best way to make those investments is through the Self-Directed IRA.

What are the Responsibilities of a Self-Directed IRA Custodian?

The majority of all Self-Directed IRA custodians are non-bank trust companies for the reasons outlined above.  The Self-Directed IRA custodian or trust company will typically have a banking relationship with a bank who will hold the IRA funds in a special account called an omnibus account, offering each Self-Directed IRA client FDIC protection of IRA funds up to $250,000 held in the account.  For example, IRA Financial Trust is a non-banking IRA custodian. IRA Financial Trust has partnered with Northern Trust, one of the most respected private banks in the world, to offer our Self-Directed IRA clients a safe and secure way to make Self-Directed IRA investments.

The following are the primary roles and responsibilities of a Self-Directed IRA custodian:

  • IRS approved
  • Permitted to hold and custody IRA and 401(k) plan assets
  • Subject to state regulation by the state division of banking
  • Performance of administrative recordkeeping regarding the Self-Directed IRA
  • Perform administrative review of the Self-Directed IRA assets
  • Assisting in opening & funding your IRA account
  • Making the investment(s) on your behalf
  • Making distributions & paying expenses per your request
  • Providing you with quarterly statements
  • Answering questions about your account and our procedures
  • Reporting information required by the IRS and other governmental agencies
    • IRS Form 1099R – Distributions from your IRA
    • IRS Form 5498 – Contributions to and Fair Market Value of your IRA

What are the Differences Between a Self-Directed IRA Custodian and Third-Party Administrator?

All IRA custodians, banks, financial institutions, and approved trust companies are regulated entities that are authorized by the IRS to act as IRA custodians. Since custodians are directly approved by the IRS, they are the only entity in this group that’s allowed to physically hold retirement assets. IRA custodians are needed in order to make investments with IRA funds and, as a result, are regulated by federal and state banking authorities.

Whereas, an IRA administrator is not able to hold or custody IRA assets and is not approved or overseen by the IRS or any state banking regulators. IRA administrators essentially act as intermediaries between the IRA owner and a partner custodian.

Why Is It Important to Work Directly with an IRA Custodian?

IRA administrators are not subject to any IRS or state audit or reviews.  Accordingly, they are not subject to ongoing oversight, especially in the area of prohibited transactions, which is important in order to keep your Self-Directed IRA in full IRS compliance. Whereas, an IRA custodian is subject to quarterly state banking division audits and reviews, as well as IRS audits, helping keep your IRA safe from prohibited transactions and fraud.

To learn more about establishing a Self-Directed IRA account with the IRA Financial Trust Company, please contact a Self-Directed IRA specialist at 800-472-0646.

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