Nov 20

Maximum Contributions for Your Self Directed IRA and Roth IRA

The maximum contribution limit for a self-directed IRA for 2017 is $5,500 or $6,500 if you’re age 50 or older, or your taxable compensation for the year, if less. Contributions to a self-directed Roth IRA may be limited based on your filing status and income.

Contributions made to a self-directed IRA LLC must be made to the IRA administrator/custodian and may not be contributed directly to the LLC. Once the IRA contribution is made to the IRA administrator/custodian, the funds can then be transferred to the IRA LLC.

Is my IRA contribution deductible on my tax return?

If neither you nor your spouse is covered by an employer retirement plan, such as a 401(k), your deduction is allowed in full.

For contributions to a traditional IRA, the amount you can deduct may be limited if you or your spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work and your income exceeds certain levels. In the case of a Roth IRA, contributions aren’t deductible.

Maximum Contributions for Your Self Directed IRA and Roth IRACan I contribute to a traditional or Roth Self-Directed IRA if I’m covered by a retirement plan at work?

Yes, you can contribute to a traditional and/or Roth self-directed IRA even if you participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan (including a SEP or SIMPLE IRA plan). If you or your spouse is covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k) plan and your income exceeds certain levels, you may not be able to deduct your entire contribution.

Can I establish a self-directed IRA if only one spouse has earned income for the year?

Yes. If you file a joint return, you and your spouse can each make IRA contributions even if only one of you has taxable compensation. The amount of your combined contributions can’t be more than the taxable compensation reported on your joint return and cannot exceed the maximum IRA contributions for the year (for 2017 $5500 or $6500 if over the age of 50). It doesn’t matter which spouse earned the compensation.

How can I make a Roth IRA contribution if I earned too much money in 2017?

For 2017, if your modified adjusted gross income is below $181,000 and you file a joint return, you can make a Roth IRA contribution. For those who earned greater than $181,000 during the year, the IRS provides a formula, which will set forth the reduced maximum amount of Roth IRA contributions permitted for the year, if any.

One way to circumvent the Roth IRA income threshold rules, if to simply make an after-tax traditional IRA contribution and then convert the Traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. Since the Traditional IRA contribution was made after-tax there would be no tax on the Roth IRA conversion. This tactic was made possible when the IRS removed the income level restrictions for making Roth conversions in 2010.

Can I Make IRA contributions after age 70½

You can’t make regular contributions to a traditional IRA in the year you reach 70½ and older. However, you can still contribute to a Roth IRA and make rollover contributions to a Roth or traditional IRA regardless of your age.

To learn more about the self-directed IRA and self-directed Roth IRA contribution rules, please contact a self-directed IRA tax expert at 800-472-0646.

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Oct 19

Factors To Consider When Contemplating A ‘Backdoor’ Roth IRA

The following article, written by Adam Bergman, originally appeared on Forbes.com –

There have been no income level restrictions for making Roth IRA conversions since 2010, hence a high income earner can do a conversion of after-tax (non-deductible) IRA funds to a Roth IRA, which is known as a ‘backdoor’ Roth IRA. In other words, the ‘backdoor’ IRA allows a high- income earner, who has exceeded the Roth IRA annual income contribution limits, to circumvent those rules and make a Roth IRA contribution. However, as detailed below, a tax could be due on the conversion under the pro rata (aggregation) rules if the IRA holder has other traditional pre-tax IRAs that have not been taxed. In general, the taxes owed on the conversion will depend on the ratio of IRA assets that have been taxed to those that have not, making the ‘backdoor’ IRA unattractive for some.

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A regular contribution to a Roth IRA is generally limited to the lesser of the annual contribution limit or 100 percent of the individual’s compensation. The Roth IRA contribution limit is the same as the traditional IRA limit. For the year 2017, the annual contribution limit for an individual under the age of 50 is $5,500, and $6,500 for an individual over the age of 50.

An individual making Roth IRA contributions must reduce those contributions by the amount of any contributions made to a traditional IRA.  However, not all individual taxpayers are eligible to make Roth IRA contributions.  For taxpayer’s filing as single, one must have a modified adjusted gross income under $133,000 to contribute to a Roth IRA for the 2017 tax year, but contributions are reduced starting at $118,000.  Taxpayers filing as married, the combined modified adjusted gross income must be less than $196,000, with reductions beginning at $186,000.

Before considering a “backdoor” Roth IRA strategy, there are a number of important items to consider.  The first is the concept of the IRA pro rata aggregation rules.  Under Internal Revenue Code Section 408(d)(2), the aggregation rules hold that when an individual has multiple pre-tax IRAs, they will all be treated as one account when determining the tax consequences of any distributions (including a distribution out of the account for a Roth conversion). In other words, the aggregation rules can cause issues for individuals looking to take advantage of the ‘backdoor’ Roth IRA strategy that have multiple IRA accounts.

For example, Amy has $100,000 of existing pre-tax IRA assets across multiple IRA accounts. Amy now makes over $200,000 so is not eligible to make a Roth IRA contribution for this year. Amy wishes to make a $5,500 Roth IRA contribution by taking advantage of the ‘backdoor’ Roth IRA strategy, which involves making a non-deductible IRA contribution and then converting those funds into a Roth IRA.  However, since Amy has $100,000 of pre-tax IRA funds prior to the Roth IRA conversion, the aggregation rules will limit how much Amy can convert to a Roth IRA.

If Amy attempted to do a $5,500 Roth conversion (from combined IRA funds that now total $100,000 plus new $5,500 contribution equals $105,500), the return-of-after-tax portion will be only $5,500 / 105,500 = 5.2%. Which means the net result of his $5,500 Roth conversion will be $286 of after-tax funds that are converted, $5,214 of the conversion will be taxable, and she will end out with a $5,500 Roth IRA and $100,000 of pre-tax IRAs that still have $5,214 of related after-tax contributions. Hence, the net result of the IRA pro rata attribution rules is that a large portion of the after-tax funds linked with the new after-tax IRA contribution will not end up in the Roth IRA and will instead be connected with the existing pre-tax IRA funds.

Based on the example, the IRA attribution rules significantly limited the tax benefit of the ‘backdoor” Roth strategy for Amy as only a very small amount of the $5,500 after-tax funds were able to be converted tax-free to the Roth IRA. In addition, the IRA attribution rules only apply to pre-tax IRAs of the taxpayer, not his or her spouse, inherited IRAs, or any employer retirement plans (i.e. 401(k)), which can offer some interesting tax planning opportunities.

In addition to being mindful of the IRA attribution rules when considering a ‘backdoor’ Roth IRA conversion, one must also consider the step-transaction-doctrine. The step-transaction doctrine, which arose from a Supreme Court case, holds that a court can invalidate a transaction if the separate steps involved in the transaction have no independent substantial business purpose. In the context of the ‘backdoor’ Roth IRA strategy, the thinking goes that if the separate steps of the non-deductible IRA contribution and subsequent Roth conversion are done too quickly or simultaneously there is some risk the IRS could attempt to invoke the step-transaction doctrine in order to invalidate the Roth conversion.

There is no court precedent for this position, but many tax experts believe it would be wise to wait some time in between the nondeductible IRA contribution and the subsequent Roth conversion. There is also no firm rule for how long one should wait after the nondeductible contribution is made before making the Roth IRA conversion, but waiting a few months and having the IRA funds invested during the waiting period is thought to be sufficient.

Since 2010, the ‘backdoor’ Roth IRA strategy has been viewed as an attractive way for many high income earners to take advantage of the power of the Roth IRA.  Below are some tips to consider before doing a ‘backdoor’ Roth IRA:

  • Understand the Roth IRA contribution income limits for the taxable year in question
  • Determine whether you have any existing pre-tax IRA funds. If so, understanding the IRA attribution rules under Internal Revenue Code Section 408(d) is crucial
  • Are you currently participating in an employer retirement plan? If so, rolling over existing pre-tax IRA funds to an employer plan may help you circumvent the IRA attribution rules.
  • Be mindful of the step-transaction doctrine and consider waiting at least several months between the non-deductible contribution and the Roth IRA conversion
  • Consider not documenting that you are doing a ‘backdoor’ Roth IRA strategy.

It is unclear how long the ‘backdoor’ Roth IRA strategy will continue to be permitted. President Obama’s 2016 budget recommendations did attempt to end it, but the recommendation did not become law.  It is unclear what the Trump Administration’s position is with respect to it.  However, for now, the ‘backdoor’ IRA strategy continues to be a very popular way for high income earners to make Roth IRA contributions.

For more information about the ‘Backdoor’ Roth IRA, please contact us @ 800.472.0646.

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Aug 14

How to Convert an IRA to a Roth and the Advantages

Beginning in 2010, the modified Adjusted Gross Income (“AGI”) and filing status requirements for converting a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA are eliminated.

Below are some important points to consider when deciding whether to convert your Traditional IRA to a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC.

  • Do you have the ability to pay income taxes on the money you convert from your Traditional IRA?
  • Based on your income tax bracket, does it make sense to pay the entire tax due in 2017. If you expect your rate to go up, converting may be for you. If you think it will go down, then the opposite holds true.
  • Do you anticipate withdrawing Roth IRA funds for personal use within five years of conversion? If so, you may face taxes and penalties if you withdraw within five years of a conversion.

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 $118,000 can make a full contribution.  Contributions are phased-out starting at $118,000 and you cannot make a contribution if your adjusted gross income is in excess of $133,000.
  • Joint filers with modified adjusted gross income up to $186,000 can make a full contribution.  Once again, this contribution is phased-out starting at $186,000 and you cannot make a contribution if your adjusted gross income is in excess of $196,000.

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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Jun 16

How Does a Roth IRA Contribution Work?

Assume individual Jane decides to set aside $1,000 of her pretax income for an IRA contribution. She could contribute the entire $1,000 to a traditional IRA because the deduction for the contribution would effectively eliminate any current tax on the $1,000. Since a contribution to a Roth IRA is not deductible, she could contribute to a Roth IRA only the amount remaining after paying tax on the $1,000. Assume T is, at all times, taxed at a flat 30 percent. She could therefore make a Roth IRA contribution of $700 ($1,000 less 30 percent thereof).

For 2017, the maximum you can contribute to a Roth IRA is $5,500, or $6,500 if you are age 50 or older.

How Does a Roth IRA Contribution Work?

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

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