Oct 27

Investing in Hedge Funds with a Self Directed IRA

The Internal Revenue Code does not describe what a Self Directed IRA can invest in, only what it cannot invest in. Internal Revenue Code Sections 408 & 4975 prohibits Disqualified Persons from engaging in certain type of transactions. The purpose of these rules is to encourage the use of IRAs for accumulation of retirement savings and to prohibit those in control of IRAs from taking advantage of the tax benefits for their personal account.

When it comes to using retirement funds to invest in a hedge fund, it is important to be mindful of the IRS prohibited transaction rules under Internal Revenue Code Section 4975. In general, the IRS has restricted certain transactions between the IRA and a “disqualified person”. The definition of a “disqualified person” (Internal Revenue Code Section 4975(e)(2)) extends into a variety of related party scenarios, but generally includes the IRA holder, any ancestors or lineal descendants of the IRA holder (i.e. parents, children, spouse, daughter-in-law, or son-in-law), and entities in which the IRA holder or a disqualified person holds a controlling or management interest. Furthermore, Internal Revenue Code Section 4975(c)(1)(D) and (E) outlines rules that relate to self-dealing or conflict of interest transactions that involves an investment that could directly or indirectly personally benefit a disqualified person. The self-dealing or conflict of interest prohibited transaction rules have the broadest application especially when it comes to hedge fund type investments.

A hedge fund is an alternative investment vehicle available only to sophisticated investors, such as institutions and individuals with significant assets. In general, retirement funds are permitted to invest in hedge funds. The prohibited transactions rules tend to become more of an issue when the person using the IRA funds or any disqualified person related to the IRA owner has a personal interest or relationship with the hedge fund investment. In other words, an IRA can generally make an investment into a hedge fund in which neither the IRA holder nor any disqualified person has any personal ownership or relationship with. The issues begin to arise from an IRS prohibited transaction standpoint when the IRA owner wishes to use retirement funds to invest in a hedge fund where her or she or a disqualified person is either an owner, employee or, in some cases, has a professional relationship with the fund in question.

In general, if structured correctly, there may be a way for one to use their retirement funds to invest in a hedge fund that one is personally involved in.  The key is to make sure that the IRA investment into the hedge fund will not directly or indirectly personally benefit the IRA owners since that type of investment would likely trigger a prohibited transaction.

Generally, hedge funds are structured as limited partnerships or LLCs. In the case of a limited partnership, a general partner (“GP”) is created that tends to perform all the hedge fund management tasks. The GP generally owns a small percentage of the partnership. The investors are limited partners (“LP”) of the partnership. A typical fee structure for a hedge fund is the 2 and 20 model, which means the hedge fund manager will take a 2% management fee of all assets under management and then take 20% of the profits generated by the fund after the LP investors have received their money they invested back and, in some cases, a preferred return on the money invested is also returned to the investor.

Investing in Hedge Funds with a Self Directed IRA LLCA popular question is whether an individual who is a principal or in a management position with the hedge fund can use their retirement funds to invest in the fund. To begin with, the use of the retirement funds cannot be invested into the GP entity since that is the entity where the services are generally being performed on behalf of the hedge fund and where the management fee and carried interest are typically being directed as investing IRA funds into a company where the IRA holder has a personal ownership or is performing services as an employee would likely violate the IRS prohibited transaction rules. Therefore, the question then becomes can the IRA holder who has some personal ownership in the hedge fund use retirement funds to invest as an LP of the fund? The answer generally depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the transaction. However, in general, there are ways that one can properly structure an investment of retirement funds into a hedge fund in which the IRA holder has some personal interest. The main question that needs to be asked and answered positively is if the IRS looked at the transaction, could they argue that the IRA owner has in any way directly or indirectly personally benefited by the IRA investment. If the IRA owner cannot prove that he or she did not receive any direct or indirect personal benefit from the IRA investment into the hedge fund, then the IRS would likely argue that the investment triggered a prohibited transaction. Since the onus is always on the taxpayer to disprove a claim made by the IRS, it is crucial that the IRA owner that is seeking to make a retirement investment into a hedge fund in which he or she has some personal connection to be extremely confident that he or she can prove, if requested, that no personal benefit was derived from the retirement account investment, either directly or indirectly. Accordingly, when it comes to using retirement funds to make investments into a hedge fund in which the IRA owner has a personal relationship with, issues such as the management fee and carried interests are items that need to be taken into account when structuring the self-directed IRA hedge fund investment.

The Tax Court in Rollins v. Commissioner, a 2008 Tax Court case, offers some insight as to how the IRS looks at transactions that involve investments into entity’s where the IRA owner has a small ownership interest in. Even though the Rollins case not involve using retirement funds to invest in a hedge fund, it nevertheless offers some insight as to the IRS thoughts on the application of the IRA self-dealing and conflict of interest rules. The Rollins case is especially helpful in examining how the IRS could look at a transaction involving the use of retirement funds into a hedge fund in which the IRA owner has some personal relationship or ownership interest. Mr. Rollins was a CPA who had an ownership in several companies. One of the companies, in which he owned less than 10%, served as a director, but received no compensation, was in financial trouble and needed additional funds. Mr. Rollins decided to use his 401(k) plan funds to lend the company money at prevailing interest rates. The IRS audited the transaction and argued that the loan from Mr. Rollins 401(k) plan to the company was a prohibited transaction as the loan personally benefited him. The Tax Court agreed and basically stated that even though the company was not itself a disqualified person because Mr. Rollins owned less than 50% of the company, nonetheless he could not provide that he did not directly or indirectly personally benefit from the loan made to the company by his 401(k) plan. Clearly the Tax Court felt that Mr. Rollins personally benefited from the loan since without the loan his personal investment would have been lost. The Rollins case is a good illustration as to how the IRS could view an investment into a hedge fund by an IRA owner who has some personal interest in the hedge fund below the 50% ownership threshold.

Below are several examples that highlight the complexities involved in structuring an investment of retirement funds into a hedge fund in which the IRA owner has some personal relationship or ownership:

1. Joe is looking to start a hedge fund and needs $100,000 to begin operations. The hedge fund would be a limited partnership and Joe would be charging a traditional 2% management fee and 20% carried interest on fund profits. Joe will own 100% of the general partner of the hedge fund and is looking for investors to invest in the hedge fund. Joe wishes to use his IRA funds to invest in his hedge fund.

Issues for Joe to consider: Joe would clearly not be able to use his IRA funds to invest in the general partner since he will own 100% of that entity personally and that would likely trigger a prohibited transaction. What if Joe wanted to invest the funds as a limited partner of the fund? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this question as the answer is generally dependent on the facts and circumstances involved in the transaction. For example, if the only way Joe could attract investors to the fund is to show he also has invested in the fund and the only funds he had available to invest were IRA funds, the IRS could argue that the use of his IRA funds would personally benefit him since without his IRA funds being used he would not be able to attract investors to his fund and derive a personal financial return from owning the fund.

2. Ben is a 2% partner at a hedge fund that has $500 million under management. The hedge fund is set-up as a limited partnership. The hedge fund has a traditional fee model of 2% management fee and 20% carried interest. The hedge fund is looking to raise an additional $250 million and Ben is seeking to use $250,000 from his IRA to invest as a limited partner of the fund. His limited partnership interest would be 2.5% of the total fund.

Issues for Ben to consider: Ben is clearly a disqualified person because he is the IRA holder, but the hedge fund he is a partner at would likely not be since he owns just 2% of the fund, pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 4975(e)(2). However, the self-dealing or conflict of interest rules under Internal Revenue Code Section 4975(c)(1)(D) and (E) could treat Ben’s investment into the fund as a prohibited transaction. The question Ben must ask himself is whether he would receive any personal benefit, either directly or indirectly, from making the fund investment with his IRA funds. For example, would the fund be in financial trouble without Ben’s investment? Will Ben receive a salary bonus if he invests in the fund? Or what if, Ben is required to invest in the fund in order to maintain his position as partner of the fund? These are some of the facts that would need to be examined before determining whether Ben’s investment would rise to the level of a prohibited transaction.

3. Steve is a 99% owner of hedge fund A, which has over $750 million in assets under management. The hedge fund is set-up as a limited partnership. The hedge fund has a traditional fee model of 2% management fee and 20% carried interest. The hedge fund is looking to create fund B, which will be exclusively investing in a pool of loans. Fund B will be looking to raise $500 million from outside investors. Steve and a number of hedge fund A executives want to invest their retirement funds into fund B, but expect to own less than 5% of fund B. Fund A will be charging a management fee and carried interest on the limited partners of fund B.

Issues for Steve to consider: Since Steve owns 99% of hedge fund A and hedge fund A will be receiving a fee from the limited partners of fund B, a management fee and carried interest allocated to Steve’s IRA and potentially his executives could violate the prohibited transaction rules under Internal Revenue Code Section 4975. Fees paid by Steve’s IRA to a company he owns 99% of could be considered a prohibited transaction. What if Steve and his executives were able to have their IRAs exempted from the management fee and carried interest going to the general partner of fund A or were able to buy a different membership class of fund B, which did not have to pay any fees to hedge fund A. Because of Steve’s large ownership interest in hedge fund A, it is especially important that he focuses on the self-dealing and conflict of interest prohibited transaction rules to make sure his IRA investment into fund B could not be viewed as personally benefiting him directly or indirectly.

Unrelated Business Taxable Income

After examining the IRS prohibited transaction rules in order to determine whether an IRA investment into a hedge fund could be made, another set of IRS rules must be reviewed in order to verify whether a tax would be imposed on the income allocated to the IRA from the hedge fund investment.

In general, when it comes to using a Self Directed IRA to make investments most investments are exempt from federal income tax. This is because an IRA is exempt from tax pursuant to Internal Revenue Code 408 and Section 512 of the Internal Revenue Codes exempt most forms of investment income generated by an IRA from taxation. However, in the case of the use of margin, nonrecourse debt, or income generated from an active trade or business conducted via an LLC or partnership, a tax would be imposed on a percentage of the income generated. These rules have become known as the Unrelated Business Taxable Income rules or UBTI or UBIT. If the UBTI rules are triggered, the income generated from that activities will generally be subject to close to a 40% tax for 2016. The UBTI generally applies to the taxable income of “any unrelated trade or business…regularly carried on” by an organization subject to the tax. The regulations separately treat three aspects of the quoted words—“trade or business,” “regularly carried on,” and “unrelated.” In the case of an IRA, all active business activities will be treated as unrelated.

So why have I never heard of these rules before? The reason is that since most Americans with retirement funds invest in publicly traded stocks or mutual funds, which are often structured as a “C” Corporation, an entity subject to tax. A “C” corporation is also known as a blocker corporation. Unlike an LLC, which is treated as a passthrough entity, income from a “C” Corporation is blocked or stays in the “C” Corporation and does not flow to the shareholder. Whereas, income from an LLC passthrough the to the member/owner of the LLC – there is no entity tax with an LLC or partnership. Hence, any income allocated to an IRA via an LLC or passthrough entity would not be subject to an entity level tax and could be subject to the UBTI tax if the LLC was engaged in an active trade or business or margin or debt was used by the LLC. In other words, if one buys stock of a “C” corporation with a retirement account, the UBTI tax rules would not apply. Whereas, if one purchased an interest in a passthrough entity, such as an LLC, with IRA funds and the LLC was engaged in an active trade or business, used margin, or acquired debt, then the income allocated to the IRA could be subject to the UBTI tax.

In the case of an IRA investment into a hedge fund, if the hedge funds activities rise to the level of a trade or business, or if margin or debt is used in the hedge funds trading activities, then even though the investment may not violate the IRS prohibited transaction rules, the income could be subject to the UBTI tax rules. Since most hedge funds are structured as passthrough entities, gaining a solid understanding of the UBTI tax rules is extremely important.

Using retirement funds to invest in a hedge fund is not on its face a prohibited transaction, however, when the IRA owner has some personal involvement with the hedge fund, the IRS prohibited transaction rules must be closely examined to make sure the investment would not trigger a prohibited transaction.

The tax professionals and CPAs of the IRA Financial Group have helped hundreds of hedge fund investors use their retirement funds to make hedge fund related investments, including in their own funds, and have significant experience in this area.

To speak with an IRA Financial Group tax professional, please contact us at 800-472-0646.

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Oct 25

What Exactly is a Rollover IRA?

To permit tax-free transfers of retirement savings from one type of investment to another, as well as to increase the portability of qualified plan rights for employees moving from one job to another, Congress included a complicated web of rollover provisions in ERISA. These provisions cover transfers from one IRA to another, transfers from qualified pension, profit-sharing, stock bonus, and annuity plans to IRAs, and transfers from IRAs to qualified plans. An IRA may also, under limited circumstances, make a rollover distribution to a health savings account (HSA). In other words, if you receive a distribution from a qualified plan, you might decide to put some or all of the distribution amount into an IRA. The IRA that receives the qualified plan distribution is called a rollover IRA.

What Exactly is a Rollover IRA?

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

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Oct 20

New Podcast – Why You Need a Special IRA Custodian to Make Self-Directed IRA Investments

IRA Financial Group’s Adam Bergman discusses why it is necessary to have an IRA Custodian for making investments with your Self-Directed IRA.

 

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Oct 18

Real Estate Investing in San Antonio, TX

Do you live in or around San Antonio, Texas? Are you looking to invest in real estate? Did you know you can use your retirement funds to invest in almost anything, including real estate, tax free? If you currently have a retirement plan at a traditional financial institution, you may not know this. That’s because they want to push the investments they’re familiar with, such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds. With an IRA Financial Group Self-Directed IRA LLC, you can invest in almost anything without the consent of your custodian. Further, with checkbook control, you can make an investment by simply writing a check. Now is the time to invest in the San Antonio area. In a recent client survey, San Antonio ranked in the Top 5 for real estate investments. Continue reading to see how to use your retirement funds to invest.

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

Income or gains generated by an IRA generate tax-deferred/tax-free profits. Using a Self-Directed IRA LLC to purchase real estate allows the IRA to earn tax-free income/gains and pay taxes at a future date (in the case of a Roth IRA the income/gains are always tax-free), rather than in the year the investment produces income.

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

Why Buy Real Estate Using a Self-Directed IRA LLC

  • Gains are tax free
  • Positive cash flow is tax free
  • No time limit for holding property
  • IRA can borrow money – Leverage your investment with non-recourse financing
  • Potential to earn a larger rate of return on invested capital

Tax Advantages of Buying Real estate with a Self-Directed IRA LLC

When purchasing real estate with a Self-Directed IRA LLC, in general, all income and gains generated by your pre-tax retirement account investment would generally flow back into the retirement account tax-free. Instead of paying tax on the returns of a real estate investment, tax is paid only at a later date, leaving the real estate investment to grow unhindered. Generally, self-directed IRA real estate investments are usually made when a person is earning higher income and is taxed at a higher tax rate. Withdrawals are made from an investment account when a person is earning little or no income and is taxed at a lower rate.

For example, if Joe established a Self-Directed IRA LLC with $100,000 to purchase real estate and make other investments. Assume Joe kept his Self-Directed IRA LLC open for 20 years. Further assume that Joe was able to generate an average annual pre-tax rate of return of 8% and the average tax rate was 25%. By using a tax-deferred Self-Directed IRA LLC strategy, after 20 years Joe’s $100,000 investment would be worth $466,098 – a whopping $349,572 after taxes on the earnings. Whereas, if Joe made the investments with taxable funds (non-retirement funds) Joe would have only accumulated $320,714 after 20 years.

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

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

  • Set-up a Self-Directed IRA LLC with the IRA Financial Group
  • Identify the investment property
  • Purchase the investment property with the Self-Directed IRA LLC – no need to seek the consent of the custodian with a Self-Directed IRA LLC with “Checkbook Control
  • Title to the investment property and all transaction documents should be in the name of the Self-Directed IRA LLC. Documents pertaining to the property investment must be signed by the LLC manager
  • All expenses paid from the investment property go through the Self-Directed IRA LLC. Likewise, all rental income checks must be deposited directly in to the Self-Directed IRA LLC bank account. No IRA related investment checks should be deposited into your personal accounts.
  • All income or gains from the investment flow through to the IRA tax-free!

Structuring the Purchase of Real Estate with a Self-Directed IRA LLC

When using a Self-Directed IRA LLC to make a real estate investment there are a number of ways you can structure the transaction:

1. Use your Self-Directed IRA LLC funds to make 100% of the investment

If you have enough funds in your Self-Directed IRA LLC to cover the entire real estate purchase, including closing costs, taxes, fees, insurance, you may make the purchase outright using your Self-Directed IRA LLC. All ongoing expenses relating to the real estate investment must be paid out of your Self-Directed IRA LLC bank account. In addition, all income or gains relating to your real estate investment must be returned to your Self-Directed IRA LLC bank account.

2. Partner with Family, Friends, Colleagues

If you don’t have sufficient funds in your Self-Directed IRA LLC to make a real estate purchase outright, your Self-Directed IRA LLC can purchase an interest in the property along with a family member (non-disqualified person – any family member other than a parent, child, spouse, daughter-in-law, son-in–law), friend, or colleague. The investment would not be made into an entity owned by the IRA owner, but instead would be invested directly into the property.

For example, your Self-Directed IRA LLC could partner with a family member (non disqualified person – any family member other than a parent, child, spouse, daughter-in-law, son-in–law), friend, or colleague to purchase a piece of property for $150,000. Your Self-Directed IRA LLC could purchase an interest in the property (i.e. 50% for $75,000) and your family member, friend, or colleague could purchase the remaining interest (i.e. 50% for $75,000).

All income or gain from the property would be allocated to the parties in relation to their percentage of ownership in the property. Likewise, all property expenses must be paid in relation to the parties’ percentage of ownership in the property. Based on the above example, for a $2,000 property tax bill, the Self-Directed IRA LLC would be responsible for 50% of the bill ($1000) and the family member, friend, or colleague would be responsible for the remaining $1000 (50%).

Isn’t Partnering with a family member in a Real Estate Transaction a Prohibited Transaction?

Likely not if the transaction is structured correctly. Investing in an investment entity with a family member and investing in an investment property directly are two different transaction structures that impact whether the transaction will be prohibited under Code Section 4975. The different tax treatment is based on who currently owns the investment. Using a Self-Directed IRA LLC to invest in an entity that is owned by a family member who is a disqualified person will likely be treated as a prohibited transaction. However, partnering with a family member that is a non-disqualified person directly into an investment property would likely not be a prohibited transaction. Note: If you, a family member, or other disqualified person already owns a property, then investing in that property with your Self-Directed IRA LLC would be prohibited.

3. Borrow Money for your Self-Directed IRA LLC

You may obtain financing through a loan or mortgage to finance a real estate purchase using a Self-Directed IRA LLC. However, two important points must be considered when selecting this option:

  • Loan must be non-recourse – A “prohibited transaction” is a transaction that, directly or indirectly involves the loan of money or other extension of credit between a plan and a disqualified person. Normally, when an individual purchases real estate with a mortgage, the traditional loan provides for recourse against the borrower (i.e., personal liability for the mortgage). However, if the IRA purchases real estate and secures a mortgage for the purchase, the loan must be non-recourse; otherwise there will be a prohibited transaction. A non-recourse loan only uses the property for collateral. In the event of default, the lender can collect only the property and cannot go after the IRA itself.
  • Tax is due on profits from leveraged real estate – Pursuant to Code Section 514, if your Self-Directed IRA LLC uses non-recourse debt financing (i.e., a loan) on a real estate investment, some portion of each item of gross income from the property are subject to Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBTI). “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 example, if the average acquisition indebtedness is $50 and the average adjusted basis is $100, 50 percent of each item of gross income from the property is included in UBTI.

Why Work With the IRA Financial Group?

The IRA Financial Group was founded by a group of top law firm tax and ERISA lawyers who have worked at some of the largest law firms in the United States, such as White & Case LLP, Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, and Thelen LLP. Over the years, we have helped thousands of clients establish IRS compliant Self-Directed IRA LLC solutions. With our work experience at some of the largest law firms in the country, our retirement tax professionals’ tax and real estate IRA knowledge in this area is unmatched.

For more information about using your Self-Directed IRA LLC to invest in real estate in San Antonio, please contact an IRA Expert at the IRA Financial Group @ 800.472.0646.

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Oct 17

What Are the Advantages of Converting an IRA to a Self-Directed Roth IRA?

The main advantage of a Roth IRA over a Traditional IRA is that if you qualify to make contributions, all distributions from the IRA are tax-free. Furthermore, unlike traditional IRAs, you may contribute to a Roth IRA for as long as you continue to have earned income (for a traditional IRA – you can’t make any contributions after you reach age 70 1/2).

Self-Directed Traditional IRA

Self-Directed Roth IRA

Tax deductible contributions

Contributions are not tax deductible – contributions made to a Roth IRA are from after tax dollars

Distributions may be taken by age 59 1/2 and are mandatory by 70 1/2.

No Mandatory Distribution Age – with a Roth IRA you are not required to ever take distributions

Taxes are paid on amount of distributions (10% excise tax may apply if withdrawn prior to age 591/2)

No taxes on distributions if rules and regulations are followed

Available to everyone; no income restrictions

  • Single filers, Head of Household or Married Filing Separately (and you did not live with your spouse during the year) with modified adjusted gross income up to $117,000 can make a full contribution.  Contributions are phased-out starting at $117,000 and you cannot make a contribution if your adjusted gross income is in excess of $132,000.
  • Joint filers with modified adjusted gross income up to $184,000 can make a full contribution.  Once again, this contribution is phased-out starting at $184,000 and you cannot make a contribution if your adjusted gross income is in excess of $194,000.

Funds can be used to purchase a variety of investments (stocks, real estate, precious metals, notes, etc.)

Funds can be used to purchase a variety of investments (stocks, real estate, precious metals, notes, etc.)

IRA investments grow tax-free until distribution (tax deferral)

All earnings and principal are 100% tax free if rules and regulations are followed – No tax on distributions so maximum tax-deferral

Income/gains from IRA investments are tax-free

Income/gains from IRA investments are tax-free

Purchasing a real estate property and taking possession of the property after 59 1/2 would be subject to tax

Purchasing a domestic or foreign real estate property then taking possession after 59 1/2 would be tax-free

To learn more about the advantages of converting a Traditional IRA to a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC please contact one of our IRA experts at 800-472-0646.

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Oct 14

IRA Financial Group Proud To Offer Self-Directed SEP IRA with No Transaction fees or Account Value Fees

Checkbook control self-directed SEP IRA is an open architecture trustee directed retirement plan for the self-employed and 2015 Contribution Deadline is October 15, 2016

IRA Financial Group, the leading provider of self-directed IRA and Solo 401(k) plans, is proud to offer one of the nation’s only self-directed SEP IRA plans that does not include any transaction fees or account value fees. With IRA Financial Group’ self-directed SEP IRA plan, one will have checkbook control over the plan assets and will be able to make traditional as well as alternative asset investments, such as areal estate from a local bank. Unlike a Solo 401(k) where contributions have to be made by April 15, one can make SEP IRA contributions for the 2015 taxable year up until October 17, 2016. “The self-directed SEP IRA is a great retirement plan that allows one to make high annual contributions of up to $53,000 up to October 17, 2016 and make traditional as well as alternative assets, such as real estate”, stated Adam Bergman, a partner with the IRA Financial Group.

 IRA Financial Group Proud To Offer Self-Directed SEP IRA with No Transaction fees or Account Value FeesA SEP is a simplified employee pension plan. Any employer can establish a SEP. An employer can maintain both a SEP and another plan. Annual contributions an employer makes to an employee’s SEP-IRA cannot exceed the lesser of (i) 25% of compensation, or $53,000 for 2016. However, special rules apply when figuring out the maximum deductible contribution for a self-employed individual (typically 20% of compensation). With a Self-Directed SEP IRA LLC, one will be able to invest in almost any type of investment opportunity that you discover, including: real estate (rentals, foreclosures, raw land, tax liens etc.), private businesses, precious metals, hard money & peer to peer lending as well as stock and mutual funds; you’re only limit is your imagination. The income and gains from these investments will flow back into your SEP IRA tax-free. “With IRA Financial Group’s self-directed SEP IRA, there are no transaction and asset value fees when buying real estate or other alternative asset investments,” stated Mr. Bergman.

The IRA Financial Group was founded by a group of top law firm tax and ERISA lawyers who have worked at some of the largest law firms in the United States, such as White & Case LLP, Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, and Thelen LLP.

IRA Financial Group is the leading provider of self-directed IRA and Solo 401(k) plan. 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 and private business investments without custodian consent.

To learn more about the IRA Financial Group please visit our website at http://www.irafinancialgroup.com or call 800-472-0646.

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Oct 11

IRA Prohibited Transaction with Disqualified Persons

In general, the type of transactions that could fall under the prohibited transaction rules pursuant to IRS Code Section 4975 can be viewed in the context of three unofficial categories:

Direct Prohibited Transactions

4975(c)(1)(A): The direct or indirect Sale, exchange, or leasing of property between an IRA and a “disqualified person”

  • Ben leases an interest in a piece of property owned by his Self Directed IRA to his son
  • Jen sells real estate owned by her Self-Directed IRA to her father
  • Todd sells real estate he owns personally to his Self-Directed IRA
  • Carl transfers property he owns personally to his Self-Directed IRA
  • Mary Purchases real estate with her IRA funds and leases it to her mother
  • Kevin uses his Self-Directed IRA funds to purchase an interest in an entity owned by his wife
  • Peter Transfers property he owns personally subject to a mortgage to his Self-Directed IRA.
  • Tracy uses personal funds to pay expenses related to her Self Directed IRA real estate investment
  • Lara uses personal funds to pay taxes and expenses related to her Self-Directed IRA real estate investment

4975(c)(1)(B): The direct or indirect lending of money or other extension of credit between an IRA and a “disqualified person”

  • Keith lends his son $4,000 from his IRA
  • Joe Uses the assets of his Self-Directed IRA as security for a loan
  • Mr. Peek and Mr. Fleck personally guarantee a business loan owned by their self-directed IRA
  • Tammy personally guarantees a bank loan to her Self-Directed IRA
  • Bill uses his personal assets as security for an Self-Directed IRA investment
  • Allan uses Self-Directed IRA funds to lend an entity owned and controlled by his father $25,000
  • Terry acquires a credit card for his Self-Directed IRA LLC bank account

4975(c)(1)(C): The direct or indirect furnishing of goods, services, or facilities between an IRA and a “disqualified person”

  • Dan purchases real estate with his Self-Directed IRA funds and personally makes repairs on the property
  • Larry purchases a condo with his Self-Directed IRA funds and paints the walls without receiving a fee
  • Kris buys a piece of property with his Self-Directed IRA funds and hires his son to work on the property
  • Karen buys a home with her Self-Directed IRA funds and her son makes repairs for free
  • Lisa owns an office building with her Self-Directed IRA and hires her son to manage the property for a fee
  • Shari owns an apartment building with her Self-Directed IRA funds and has her father manage the property for free
  • Joe receives compensation from his Self-Directed IRA for investment advice
  • Troy acts as the real estate agent for his Self Directed IRA

4975(c)(1)(D): The direct or indirect transfer to a “disqualified person” of income or assets of an IRA

  • Steve uses a house owned by his Self Directed IRA for personal uses
  • Tim deposits Self-Directed IRA funds in to his personal bank account
  • Pat is in a financial jam and takes $12,000 from his Self-Directed IRA to pay a personal debt
  • Mark buys precious metals using his Self-Directed IRA funds and uses them for personal gain
  • Jack purchases a vacation home with his Self-Directed Self Directed IRA funds and stays in the home on occasion
  • Amy buys a cottage on the lake using her Self Directed IRA and rents it out to her daughter and son-in-law
  • Sylvia purchases a condo on the beach with her Self Directed IRA funds and lets her son use it for free
  • Richard uses his Self-Directed IRA to purchase a rental property and hires his friend to manage the property. The friend then enters into a contract with Richard and transfers those funds back to Richard
  • Pam invests her Self-Directed IRA funds in an investment fund and then receives a salary for managing the fund.
  • Charles uses his Self-Directed IRA funds to purchase real estate and earns a commission as the real estate agent on the sale
  • Keith uses his Self-Directed IRA funds to lend money to a company he owns and controls
  • John invests his Self-Directed IRA funds into a business he owns 75% of and manages

Self-Dealing Prohibited Transactions

4975(c)(1)(E): The direct or indirect act by a “Disqualified Person” who is a fiduciary whereby he/she deals with income or assets of the IRA in his/her own interest or for his/her own account

  • Sara makes an investment using her Self-Directed IRA funds into a company she controls which will benefit her personally
  • Jason uses his Self-Directed IRA funds to invest in a partnership with himself personally in which he and his family will own greater than 50% of the partnership
  • Helen uses her Self-Directed IRA funds to invest in a business she and her husband own and operates and her and her husband earns compensation from the business
  • Steve uses his Self-Directed IRA funds to lend money to a business in which he controls and manages
  • Victor invests his Self-Directed IRA funds in a trust in which Victor and his wife would gain a personal benefit
  • Brenda uses her Self-Directed IRA funds to invest in a real estate fund managed by her Son. Brenda’s son receives a bonus for securing her investment.
  • Frank invests his Self-Directed IRA funds into a real estate project that his development company will be involved in order to secure the contract
  • Ryan uses his Self-Directed IRA funds to invest in his son’s business that is in financial trouble
  • David uses his Self-Directed IRA funds to buy a note on a piece of property for which he is the debtor personally

Conflict of Interest Prohibited Transactions

Subject to the exemptions under Internal Revenue Code Section 4975(d), a “Conflict of Interest Prohibited Transaction” generally involves one of the following:

4975(c)(i)(F): Receipt of any consideration by a “Disqualified Person” who is a fiduciary for his/her own account from any party dealing with the IRA in connection with a transaction involving income or assets of the IRA

  • Jay invests his Self-Directed IRA funds into a corporation in which he manages and controls but owns a small interest in
  • Betty uses her Self-Directed IRA funds to loan money to a company she owns a small interest in but manages and controls the daily operations of the company
  • Sally uses her Self-Directed IRA to lend money to a business that she works for in order to secure a promotion
  • Lance uses his Self-Directed IRA funds to invest in a real estate fund that he manages and where his management fee is based on the total value of the fund’s assets.

For more information on prohibited transactions, please contact an IRA Expert at 800-472-0646.

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Oct 10

Can I Rollover a SIMPLE IRA into a Self Directed IRA LLC?

Yes, a distribution from a Simplified Incentive Match Plan for Employees, or SIMPLE IRA, to the individual for whose benefit the account or annuity is maintained is not taxable to the recipient if reinvested within 60 days in another IRA (other than an endowment contract) for the benefit of the same individual.

Can I Rollover a SIMPLE IRA into a Self Directed IRA LLC?A Self-Directed IRA LLC will allow you to make investments without the consent of a custodian.  By gaining checkbook control over your retirement funds, you may invest in (almost) anything you like.  These investments include, but are not limited to, real estate, tax liens, precious metals, certain coins and businesses.  If you are a small business owner/employee, a Self-Directed SIMPLE IRA is another option you may consider when planning for retirement.

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

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Oct 07

Tax Strategies for a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC

Using a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC presents a number of exciting tax planning opportunities. Whether you currently have a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA, the IRA Financial Group’s in-house tax and ERISA professionals have significant experience helping clients use a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC to maximize their tax benefits and investment returns.

Investment Tax Strategies:

The primary advantage of using a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC to make investments is that all income and gains associated with the Roth IRA 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. This presents a number of exciting tax strategies, a few of which are described below:

  • Purchasing a vacation home in or outside of the United States with Roth IRA funds and moving in tax-free at age 59 1/2
  • Purchasing a retirement home in or outside of the United States with Roth IRA funds and moving in tax-free at age 59 1/2
  • Purchasing an office building with Roth IRA funds and then using the building for your own business after you turn 59 1/2
  • Investing in precious metals and then taking possession of the metals once you reach the age of 59 1/2
  • Investing in tax deeds and then taking possession of the property personally once you reach the age of 59 1/2
  • Investing in a distressed property – generating large gains and then withdrawing the funds tax-free for personal use upon reaching the age of 59 1/2
  • Investing in an investment fund – generating large gains and then withdrawing the funds tax-free for personal use upon reaching the age of 59 1/2

Roth Conversion Valuation Discount Tax Strategies:

The amount of taxable income on a Roth conversion is based on the fair market value of the IRA assets subject to the conversion. Tax Strategies for a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLCTherefore, the lower the fair market value of the IRA assets the lower the taxes that will be due on the Roth conversion. In general, pursuant to case law, the standard of “fair market value” is an objective test using hypothetical buyers and sellers. Furthermore, in determining the valuation of an LLC, the assets to be valued must be the interests in the entity. The IRA Financial Group’s retirement tax professionals in conjunction with a number of valuation experts have developed a structure that will allow you to take a discount when determining the fair market value of the IRA assets subject to the Roth conversion, thus, reducing the amount of tax you will have to pay on the conversion.

The Roth Conversion Valuation Discount Strategy is based on tested case law. The valuation discounts applicable to an LLC with IRA assets typically fall into two categories: (1) a discount for lack of control, and (2) a discount for lack of marketability. The retirement tax professional at the IRA Financial Group along with a valuation expert will help develop a customized Roth conversion tax strategy that will allow you to take a discount of anywhere from 15% to 35% on the value of the IRA assets subject to the Roth conversion. The Roth Conversion Valuation Discount Strategy can save you thousands of dollars in taxes and is based on established case law.

For example, if you have a Traditional IRA and want to convert to a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC to purchase raw land, real estate, precious metals, or invest in an investment fund, using the Roth Conversion Valuation Discount Strategy can save you thousands of dollars on the conversion.

To learn more about how a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC can offer you significant tax and investment benefits please contact one of our IRA Experts at 800-472-0646.

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Oct 05

Is the Self Directed IRA Approved by the IRS?

The Self Directed IRA LLC structure was affirmed in the Tax Court case Swanson v. Commissioner, 106 T.C. 76 (1996), and further confirmed by the IRS in Field Service Advisory (FSA) 200128011 (April 6, 2001).

In Swanson v. Commissioner, 106 T.C. 76 (1996), the Tax Court, in ruling against the IRS that the funding of a new entity by an IRA for self directing assets was not a prohibited transaction, stated the following:

“We find that it was unreasonable for [the IRS] to maintain that a prohibited transaction occurred when Worldwide’s stock was acquired by IRA #1. The stock acquired in that transaction was newly issued — prior to that point in time, Worldwide had no shares or shareholders. A corporation without shares or shareholders does not fit within the definition of a disqualified person under section 4975(e)(2)(G). It was only after Worldwide issued its stock to IRA #1 that petitioner held a beneficial interest in Worldwide’s stock, thereby causing Worldwide to become a disqualified person under section 4975(e)(2)(G).”

This conclusion was also acknowledged by the IRS in Field Service Advisory (FSA) 200128011 (April 6, 2001). In that FSA, the IRS stated:

Is the Self Directed IRA Approved by the IRS?“In light of Swanson, we conclude that a prohibited transaction did not occur under section 4975(c)(1)(A) in the original issuance of the stock of FSC A to the IRAs in this case. Similarly, we conclude that payment of dividends by FSC A to the IRAs in this case is not a prohibited transaction under section 4975(c)(1)(D). We further conclude, considering Swanson, that we should not maintain that the ownership of FSC A stock by the IRAs, together with the payment of dividends by FSC A to the IRAs, constitutes a prohibited transaction under section 4975(c)(1)(E).”

The choice of entity (LLC) should seemingly not affect the holding of the Swanson case or FSA 200128011. Rather, it is the fact of the newly issued equity interest in the newly formed entity that is pertinent. The IRS is cognizant of the hazards of litigation presented by pursuing this course as a mode of challenge. In Swanson, the Tax Court required the IRS to pay Swanson’s costs and attorney fees.

In light of Swanson and FSA 200128011, the formation and capitalization of a new LLC for purposes of self directing IRA investments in itself should not be considered a prohibited transaction under Internal Revenue Code Section 4975. We note, however, that transactions involving the LLC and a disqualified person or that directly or indirectly a disqualified person may be prohibited under Internal Revenue Code Section 4975.

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

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