For many retirement account investors, understanding how the Unrelated Business Taxable Income Rules work, also known as UBTI, UBIT, or debt-financed income rules, and how they may potentially apply to one’s retirement account investment has been a challenge.  The main reason is that the majority of IRA or 401(k) plan investors invest in traditional types of investments, such as equities, mutual funds, and ETFs, which do not trigger the application of the UBTI tax rules since most passive investments that a retirement account might invest in are exempt from the UBTI rules, such as interest, dividends, and capital gains.

Click here to read the full article on Forbes.com!

Bitcoin is usually described as virtual currency. That’s useful shorthand, but is it really money? And should it be taxed as if it is? Or is it a capital asset? How about a commodity? Or what about a collectible? Most commentators have viewed bitcoins either as a virtual type of currency or capital asset. However, the potential still exists that the IRS could argue that bitcoins do not satisfy the main functions of money and acts more like a stamp or other collectible than a currency.

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).”

Zacky v. Commissioner, TC Memo 2004-130

The Zacky case involved three separate loans all of which were prohibited transactions under Section 4975(c)(1)(B), (D) and (E). 

The taxpayer, Mr. Zacky, was the president and sole owner of Aspects Inc. (“Aspects”), a corporation that maintained a qualified profit sharing plan.  Mr. Zacky was one of many participants under the plan and also served the plan’s sole trustee.  Mr. Zacky borrowed funds (Loan #1) from the plan to pay Aspects payroll liability that was about to become due. 

At some point thereafter the plan lent funds (Loan #2) to a related corporation, Inland Empire Properties, Inc. (“Inland”).  Mr. Zacky was also the president and sole owner of Inland, which had no other employees.  Inland owned and leased to Aspects and other tenants a commercial building.  The purpose of Loan #2 was to enable Mr. Zacky to pay off an outstanding car loan, and to that end Mr. Zacky transferred title to the vehicle to Inland shortly after Loan #2 was made.

Subsequent to Loan #2, the plan made another loan to Inland (Loan #3) to enable Inland to pay mortgage and real estate taxes due on the building it owned.

No principal or interest had been paid on any of the loans.  Moreover, Mr. Zacky, in his capacity as the plan’s trustee, did not seek nor attempt to compel repayment (but did require two loans to other participants to be repaid).

On June 9, 2017, the Department of Labor's (DOL) final rule meaningfully expanded when a person is deemed to be treated as a fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code (Code) as a result of providing investment advice.  The final rule was initially set to become applicable on April 10, 2017, but the DOL delayed the final rule's applicability date for sixty days, until June 9, 2017 and also issued a new temporary enforcement policy for the transition period commencing on June 9th and ending on December 31, 2017...

Click here to read the full article on Forbes.com!

Making an investment through a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC can be done in a few easy steps:

1. Set up a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC.

With IRA Financial Trust, you no longer have to spend $2000 to $5,000 or more to set up your Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC.

We provide the following all for one low price

  • Free tax consultation with our in-house retirement tax professionals
  • Setup your LLC in the State of your choice
  • Prepare and file the Articles of Organization with the State
  • Generate a special purpose, attorney-reviewed Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC Operating Agreement
  • Generate a special purpose, attorney-reviewed Subscription Agreement, as required by the Custodian
  • Obtain the EIN from the IRS
  • Co-ordinate setup with the Custodian of your Choice
  • Free tax and IRA support regarding the Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC Structure
  • Expedited Service Guarantee!
  • Satisfaction Guaranteed!

The IRA Financial Trust Company 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 Trust Company is assigned a retirement tax professionals 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.

No – not with a Self Directed IRA LLC. All investment decisions are made by you, as manager of the Self Directed IRA LLC. It’s simple - when you want to make an investment, you write a check, use your debit card, wire funds, etc. All documents can be signed by you, as manager of the LLC.

IRA Financial Trust, the leading provider of self-directed IRA LLC solutions, announces the findings of an internal report that shows that hard money lending for real estate has become a popular investment option for self-directed IRA investors. The IRS has always permitted an IRA to lend money to non-disqualified persons. 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, and entities in which the IRA holder holds a controlling equity or management interest.

Internal Revenue Code Section 514 requires debt-financed income to be included in unrelated business taxable income. It was enacted in 1969 for reasons best understood in their historical context.

Since the creation of IRAs back in the early 1970s, the IRS has always permitted an IRA to purchase, hold, or flip real estate. In fact, it states it right on the IRS website. By using a Self-Directed IRA to buy real estate, you will be able to purchase raw land, domestic or foreign real estate, residential or commercial property, flip homes, and much more tax-free and without requiring custodian consent!

For a growing number of investors, crytocurrency is not only the future of money, but also an attractive and potentially profitable investment asset, though highly risky and volatile. Bitcoin has become the public’s most visible and popular cryptocurrency and it is also among the oldest, having first emerged in 2009. Over one year, the market capitalization for bitcoin has increased enormously, from around $7.16 billion in May 2016 to $27.9 billion today. As the price of bitcoin has risen over the last year or so, so has the confidence among investors, including retirement account investors.

If you take money out of a qualified plan, IRA, or Self-Directed IRA before you reach the age of 59 and 1/2, your withdrawal is called an early distribution, and you will have to pay a 10% early distribution tax on the money unless you can meet one of the following exceptions:

Your investment may be disallowed under Internal Revenue Code Section 408 or result in a “Prohibited Transaction” under Internal Revenue Code Section 4975 and could result in the immediate disqualification of your Self-Directed IRA.

Although IRAs are generally not ERISA plans, the Department of Labor has jurisdiction over these plans for purposes of the prohibited transaction rules, including individual requests for exemptions from those rules. There are two different consequences for incurring a prohibited transaction under the Code:

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a company that has option to be taxed as a partnership, this is beneficial because the LLC won’t pay any taxes on gains, and instead it will be the owner of the LLC who is liable for any taxes just as if they earned the money themselves. Because the owner of the LLC is your Self-Directed IRA (the IRA owner is the manager), there are no taxes unless you are running a business that is unrelated to the purpose of an IRA (making investments), using debt financing or taking a distribution from your IRA. In addition, the LLC offers limited liability and asset protection with respect to the assets of the IRA.

Please contact one of our Self Directed IRA Experts at 800-472-1043 for more information.

Fake news that gold can be held at home with a self-directed IRA runs counter to IRS law

IRA Financial Trust Company, a custodian for self-directed IRA LLC and solo 401(k) plans announces the release of a free guide on using a self-directed IRA to purchase gold and other IRS approved precious metals. The free precious metals guide will help self-directed IRA investors navigate the IRS rules surrounding the purchase and possession of IRS approved precious metals, such as gold or American Eagle coins.

The IRS does not list the type of assets or investments that may be purchased with retirement funds, but does indicate which categories of assets or investments are not permitted. Internal Revenue Code Section 408(m) sets forth a list of approved precious metals and coins that are not considered “collectibles” and may be purchased with retirement funds. “Because the rules for the purchase and possession of IRS approved metals and coins are complex, IRA Financial Trust felt it was important to provide a detailed guide for self-directed IRA investors,” stated Adam Bergman, President of the IRA Financial Trust Company, a self-directed IRA custodian.

A Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC offers you several advantages than a traditional IRA -

Tax-Free Investing: 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.

Investment Options: With the Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC, you can invest in almost any type of investment, including real estate, private business entities, tax liens, precious metals and commercial paper tax-free!

The Self-Directed IRA is a retirement solution that will unlock a world of investment opportunities. The Self-Directed IRA is a retirement investment vehicle that allows one to use their retirement funds to make traditional as well as non-traditional investments, such as real estate tax-free and without custodian consent. In most instances, investors using retirement funds to make an investment will use cash to make the investment. Whether the investment is in the form of stocks, precious metals, or real estate most investors using retirement funds to make the investment will not borrow any funds to make the investment. In other words, most investors using retirement funds will use cash to make the investment.

Self-Directed IRAs are generally permitted to engage in most types of investments, however, if a Self Directed IRA engages in certain types of "prohibited transactions" or invests in life insurance or collectibles you may jeopardize the tax-deferred status of your IRA account. This could lead to the disqualification of the IRA and severe tax consequences. Therefore, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the IRA rules.

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 Trust Company’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.

A Self-Directed IRA LLC offers one the ability to use his or her retirement funds to make almost any type of investment on their own without requiring the consent of any custodian or person. The IRS and Department of Labor only describe the types of investments that are prohibited, which are very few.

The basis of the prohibited transaction rules are based on the premise that investments involving IRA and related parties are handled in a way that benefits the retirement account and not the IRA owner. The rules prohibit transactions between the IRA and certain individuals known as “disqualified persons”. These rules can be found in Internal Revenue Code Section 4975. In general, 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, and entities in which the IRA holder holds a controlling equity or management interest.

The IRS permits using a Self-Directed IRA LLC to purchase real estate or raw land. Since you are the manager of the Self-Directed IRA LLC, making a real estate investment is as simple as writing a check from your Self-Directed IRA bank account. The advantage of purchasing real estate with your Self-Directed IRA LLC is that all gains are tax-deferred until a distribution is taken. In the case of a Roth Self-Directed IRA, all gains are tax-free.

For example, if you purchased a piece of property with your Self-Directed IRA LLC for $100,000 and you 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.

April 21st, 2017

Now that the tax filing deadline has passed for the 2016 tax year, this is a perfect time to start thinking about some simple ways to boost retirement savings and at the same time lower overall tax liability for 2017...

Click here to read the article on Forbes.com.

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a company that has option to be taxed as a partnership; this is beneficial because the LLC won’t pay any taxes on gains, and instead it will be the owner of the LLC who is liable for any taxes just as if they earned the money themselves. Because the owner of the LLC is your Self-Directed IRA (the IRA owner is the manager), there are no taxes unless you are running a business that is unrelated to the purpose of an IRA (making investments), using debt financing or taking a distribution from your IRA. In addition, the LLC offers limited liability and asset protection with respect to the assets of the IRA.

Please contact one of our Self Directed IRA Experts at 800-472-1043 for more information.

The IRA Financial Trust Difference

The IRA Financial Trust Company was founded by tax attorneys who worked at some of the largest law firms in the world, including White & Case LLP and Dewey and LeBoeuf LLP, and have helped over 12,000 clients Self-Direct their retirement funds through their ownership in the IRA Financial Group LLC.

IRA Financial Trust Company is a regulated financial institution that is made up of retirement tax specialists committed to helping you make Self-Directed retirement investments quickly while minimizing annual fees.

In addition to the significant tax benefits in using a Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC to make investments, the Roth IRA also offers a number of very exciting estate planning opportunities.

In general, a self-directed Roth IRA is an after-tax account that allows the Roth IRA holder to benefit from tax-free investment growth, so long as a Roth IRA distribution is not taken prior to a five year holding period and the Roth IRA holder is not under the age of 59½ ( a “qualified distribution”). In addition, a Roth IRA holder would not be subject to the required minimum distribution rules (“RMD”).

With IRA Financial Group’s Self-Directed Roth IRA LLC Estate Planning Solution, your family could receive tax-free use of your Roth IRA funds. Converting a pre-tax IRA to a Roth IRA could be used as a very valuable estate-planning tool for estate owner’s that would be subject to the estate tax (For 2015 - estates over $5,430,000) as the Roth conversion funds would be paid out of funds subject to estate tax.

A Self-Directed IRA LLC offers one the ability to use his or her retirement funds to make almost any type of investment on their own without requiring the consent of any custodian or person. The IRS and Department of Labor only describe the types of investments that are prohibited, which are very few.

The basis of the prohibited transaction rules are based on the premise that investments involving IRA and related parties are handled in a way that benefits the retirement account and not the IRA owner. The rules prohibit transactions between the IRA and certain individuals known as “disqualified persons”. These rules can be found in Internal Revenue Code Section 4975. In general, 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, and entities in which the IRA holder holds a controlling equity or management interest.

Tax Advantages: With the Self-Directed IRA LLC, you have all the tax advantages of traditional IRAs, as well as tax deferral and tax-free gains. All income and gains generated by your IRA investment will flow back to your IRA tax-free. By using a Self-Directed IRA to make investments, the IRA owner is able to defer taxes on any investment returns, thus, allowing the IRA owner to benefit from tax-free growth. Instead of paying tax on the Self-Directed IRA returns of an investment, tax is paid only at a later date when a distribution is taken, leaving the investment to grow tax-free without interruption.

Here's another one from Adam Bergman that was written for Forbes.com -

With the individual tax-filing deadline date of April 18, 2017 for the 2016 taxable year quickly approaching, reviewing some of the ways one can save taxes as well as boost his or her retirement savings is always helpful.  Below are a few ways one can use the IRA contribution regime to help save taxes as well as enhance one’s retirement nest egg.

For Tax Year 2015 and beyond on IRS Form 5498, the IRS now requires IRA custodians to separately specify transactions which involve certain Self-Directed IRA investments

The information on Form 5498 is submitted to the Internal Revenue Service by the trustee (IRA custodian) of your individual retirement arrangement (IRA) to report contributions, including any catch-up contributions, required minimum distributions  (RMDs), and the fair market value (FMV) of the account.

The IRS Form 5498 gives the market value of all assets and cash held within the client account for the previous year and is used for tax reporting.  The IRA custodian will forward IRS Form 5498 to the IRS electronically by May 31 of the current year for the previous year.

Individuals may generally rollover their retirement savings between eligible defined contribution plans, defined benefit plans and pre-tax IRAs, including SEP IRAs and SIMPLE IRAs to a Self-Directed IRA. Eligible defined contribution plans include qualified 401(k) retirement plans under Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), and governmental 457(b) plans. Individuals may also roll over after-tax retirement funds to a Roth Self-Directed IRA.

President Trump’s decision to delay the implantation of President Obama’s fiduciary rule, which was in the works for almost six years, put’s a pause on a framework that would have regulated the investment advice given to 401(k) plans and IRAs equally.

Here's an article from Forbes.com talking about the recent court case involving the Roth IRA DISC strategy -

On February 16, 2017, the United States Appeals Court for the Sixth Circuit in Summa Holdings, Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue held that using DISC and Roth IRA strategy for their Congressional-sanctioned purpose, tax avoidance, was permissible. The Appeals Court reversed a previous Tax Court ruling (Summa Holdings Inc. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2015-119) that disallowed a domestic international sales corporation (DISC) Roth IRA strategy on the grounds that it had no nontax business purpose.

IRA Financial Trust, the leading provider of Self-Directed IRA LLC solutions, announces a specially designed Self-Directed IRA LLC solution for hard money lenders looking to generate tax-deferred or tax-free returns. Because most financial institutions continue to require solid credit scores and spend weeks reviewing financial statements, tax returns and business plans, there is a growing need for quick financing for many individuals, small business and investors, especially real estate developers and builders for their real estate projects. As a result, IRA Financial Group has partnered with the IRA Financial Trust Company to design a special Checkbook Control Self-Directed IRA LLC program designed specifically for hard money lenders.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com, written by our own Adam Bergman -

Every IRA custodian is required to report annually to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) the fair market value of each IRA it holds.  The IRA custodian will report the fair market value of the IRA to the IRS using IRS Form 5498.  Most IRA holders are unaware of this process since the majority of IRAs are invested in traditional investments, such as stocks and mutual funds, and the IRA custodian will be able to calculate the value of the IRA itself using publicly available information as of December 31 of the previous year.  For example, if Ken Smith has an IRA with Trust Company X and owns 100 shares of Apple, Trust Company X can quickly calculate the value of the IRA based off the share price as of December 31.  However, in the case of alternative assets, such as real estate, private equity, tax liens, etc., calculating the fair market value of the IRA investment could prove more difficult.

Unbeknownst to many retirement account holders, payment of individual retirement account (“IRA”) custodian/trustee fees is generally tax-deductible. Under Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) rules, in place of the standard deduction, one can deduct certain expenses as miscellaneous itemized deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040 or Form 1040NR). One can only claim the amount of expenses that is more than 2% of their adjusted gross income. For example, Amy, a single taxpayer, has an adjusted gross income of $50,000. She may deduct her miscellaneous itemized deductions only to the extent that they exceed 2% of $50,000, or $1,000. Some of the more popular itemized deductions are for: gifts to charity, home mortgage interest, tax preparation fees, and medical and dental expenses.

Self-Directed IRA Custodian fees may be tax deductible for taxpayers who itemize deductions

IRA Financial Trust, the leading provider of self-directed IRA plans, is proud to announce the introduction of its tax deductible self-directed IRA structure. Unbeknownst to many retirement account holders, payment of IRA custodian/trustee fees may be generally tax-deductible. Under Internal Revenue Service rules, in place of the standard deduction, one can deduct certain expenses as miscellaneous itemized deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040 or Form 1040NR). One can only claim the amount of expenses that is more than 2% of their adjusted gross income. With IRA Financial Trust’s self-directed IRA account, these annual IRA management fees may be tax deductible, subject to the itemized deduction rules and so long as the fees are separately billed and paid for using IRA funds. “IRA management fees paid by personal cash or check that are not deducted from the IRA may be deducted as investment expenses, subject to the itemized deduction limits,” according to Adam Bergman, President of the IRA Financial Trust.

Self-Directed IRAs are generally permitted to engage in most types of investments, however, if a Self Directed IRA engages in certain types of "prohibited transactions" or invests in life insurance or collectibles you may jeopardize the tax-deferred status of your IRA account. This could lead to the disqualification of the IRA and severe tax consequences. Therefore, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the IRA rules.

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.

Here's the second of two articles that originally appeared on Forbes.com talking about the fiduciary rules -

Now that President Trump has rescinded the fiduciary rule, what exactly does that mean for IRA investors?  The fiduciary rule, developed by the Obama administration, 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.

Without the fiduciary rule, brokers who work under the suitability standard are required to make recommendations that are suitable for their clients, not those that are in their best interest. The belief is that some brokers make recommendations that pay them commissions rather than those that are best for their clients, supporters of the rule say.  Whereas, under 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.  Opponents of the fiduciary have held that if enacted, it would prove harmful to retirement investors with small accounts and limit their investment opportunities and investment advice opportunities.

Here's the first of two articles that originally appeared on Forbes.com President Trump's plan to rescind the fiduciary rules -

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.

Under 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.

This article orignally appeared on Forbes.com -

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.

A Self-Directed IRA LLC is a type of IRA that allows the IRA holder (you) to gain control over your retirement funds so you have the ability to self-direct the type investments that you want to make using your retirement funds. With a traditional Self-Directed IRA, you as the IRA holder must direct the IRA custodian to make the investment you wish to make using your retirement funds, which often triggers high custodian fees and transaction delays. Whereas, with a Self-Directed IRA LLC with Checkbook Control you as the IRA LLC manager will have the ability to make traditional investments (stocks, mutual funds) as well as non-traditional investments (real estate, precious metals, etc) tax-free and without custodian consent.

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, IRA Financial Trust’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.

Here's another article written by our own Adam Bergman which appeared on Forbes.com -

Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) does not allow you to keep retirement funds in your account indefinitely. The required minimum distribution rules (“RMD”) were created in order to guarantee the flow of IRA funds into the federal income tax system as well as to encourage IRA owners to use their retirement funds during their retirement.

One generally has to start taking withdrawals from your IRA, SIMPLE IRA, SEP IRA, or retirement plan account when reaching the age 70½ or as the beneficiary recipient of an inherited IRA. Of interest, Roth IRAs do not require withdrawals until after the death of the owner.

This article orignally appeared on Forbes.com -

Nearly a quarter of Americans were born between 1946 and 1964, the typical definition of the baby boom generation. That is more than 75 million people. For baby boomers, the largest generation in U.S. history before the millennials, 2017 will begin a process where hundreds of billions of retirement dollars will be required to be taken as taxable distribution under the Internal Revenue Service’s required minimum distribution (“RMD”) rules. Some estimates peg baby boomer retirement account values at close to $10 billion dollars as of 2016.

In general, the penalty under Internal Revenue Code Section 4975 generally starts out at 15% for most type of retirement plans; however, the penalty is harsher for self-directed IRAs.

A Self-Directed IRA LLC offers one the ability to use his or her retirement funds to make almost any type of investment on their own without requiring the consent of any custodian or person. The IRS only describes the type of investments that are prohibited, which are very few.

The following are some examples of types of investments that can be made with your Self-Directed IRA LLC:

  • Residential or commercial real estate
  • Domestic or Foreign real estate
  • Raw land
  • Foreclosure property
  • Mortgages
  • Mortgage pools
  • Deeds
  • Private loans
  • Tax liens
  • Private businesses
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Limited Liability Partnerships
  • Private placements
  • Precious metals and certain coins
  • Stocks, bonds, mutual funds
  • Foreign currencies

Using a Self-Directed IRA LLC to make investments offers the investor the ability to make traditional as well as non-traditional investments, such as real estate, in a tax-efficient manner.

Individual retirement accounts, or IRAs, exist in many forms. In general, if you have income from working for yourself or someone else, you may set up and contribute to an IRA. The major advantage of using a traditional IRA is that contributions are tax-deductible. Furthermore, IRA funds can be used for any purpose, including investing in real estate, tax liens, stock, bonds, and gold.

Alternative investments such as real estate have always been permitted in IRAs, but few people seemed to know about this option- until the last several years. This is because large financial institutions have little incentive to recommend something other than stocks, bonds or mutual funds which bring in extremely profitable commission and fees for them.

Since the creation of individual retirement accounts (“IRAs”) the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has always permitted an IRA or other retirement account to purchase, hold, or flip real estate. In fact, it states it right on the IRS website. By using a Self-Directed IRA, one will gain the ability to buy real estate, such as raw land, residential or commercial property, flip homes, and much more without paying tax. One of the major advantages of flipping homes with a retirement account is that all gains are tax-deferred until a distribution is taken (Traditional IRA distributions are not required until the IRA owner turns 70 1/2). In the case of a Roth IRA, all gains are tax-free.


When engaging in real estate transaction, such as a house flipping transaction, one must keep in mind the Unrelated Business Taxable Income Rules (also known as UBTI or UBIT) which can be found in Internal Revenue Code Section 512.

In 1997, Congress introduced the Roth IRA to be like a traditional IRA, but with a few attractive modifications. The big advantage of a Roth IRA is that if you qualify to make contributions, all distributions from the Roth IRA are tax-free – even the investment returns – as long as the distributions meet certain requirements. In addition, unlike traditional IRAs, you may contribute to a Roth IRA for as long as you continue to have earned income (in the case of a traditional IRA, you can’t make contributions after you reach age 701/2).

Yes – you may have multiple IRA accounts in your Self Directed IRA LLC. Each account would be a member of the LLC and have an interest in the LLC based on the amount contributed. Profits and losses would be allocated to the IRA accounts based on the accounts percentage interest.

Please contact one of our Self Directed IRA Experts at 800-472-1043 for more information.

Using a Self-Directed IRA to make investments is seen as a tax attractive option because the gains from the investment would generally flow back to the retirement account without being subject to tax. News that Mitt Romney had tens of millions of dollars in his IRA generated from numerous Bain Capital investments over the years has many people in the hedge fund and private equity world buzzing about the potential of using a self-directed IRA to start or fund an investment fund.

A Self-Directed IRA LLC with “Checkbook Control” plan is an IRS and tax court approved structure that will allow you to use your IRA funds to make almost any type of investment, including real estate, tax liens, precious metals, foreign currency and much more tax free!

With a “checkbook control” Self Directed IRA LLC you will never have to seek the consent of a custodian to make an investment or be subject to excessive custodian account fees based on account value and per transaction.

To establish the Self-Directed IRA LLC “Checkbook Control” structure, a limited liability company (“LLC”) is established that is owned by the IRA and managed by the IRA account owner (you). The IRA owner’s funds are then transferred by the passive custodian to the new IRA LLC bank account. As the manager of the IRA LLC, the IRA owner will have the authority to make investment decisions on behalf of the IRA providing the IRA owner with “checkbook control” over his or her IRA funds.

When you find an investment that you want to make with your IRA funds, simply write a check or wire the funds straight from your Self Directed IRA LLC bank account to make the investment. The Self Directed IRA LLC with “checkbook control” allows you to eliminate the delays associated with an IRA custodian, enabling you to act quickly when the right investment opportunity presents itself.

In a petition filed November 17, 2016 with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) asked the court for a John Doe summons to be issued on bitcoin exchanger Coinbase Inc.

The John Doe summons would require Coinbase Inc., the largest bitcoin exchanger in the U.S., to provide the DOJ with information related to all bitcoin transactions it processed between 2013 and 2015. The DOJ would then share the information received with the Internal Revenue Service to be matched against filed tax returns. The IRS would be looking for bitcoin transactions that have the potential for successful criminal investigation and prosecution.

The terms of an independent retirement account or annuity must include several minimum distribution rules, which Congress imposed to ensure that IRAs are primarily used as retirement savings media, not as vehicles to build wealth for transmission to heirs. As discussed below, these rules provide separately for distributions to IRA owners and distributions to beneficiaries after the death of an IRA owner. An IRA owner is an individual who establishes and contributes to an IRA for the benefit of himself or herself and his or her beneficiaries.

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.”

Under Internal Revenue Code Section 408, the acquisition by an IRA or an individually-directed account under a qualified retirement plan of any collectible is treated as a distribution from the IRA or account in an amount equal to the cost to the IRA or account of the collectible (Code Sec. 408(m)(1)). A collectible is any work of art, rug or antique, metal or gem, stamp or coin, alcoholic beverage, or any other tangible personal property specified by IRS for this purpose (Code Sec. 408(m)(2)). However, the following are not considered collectibles for this purpose:

You may know you can invest in real estate with a Self-Directed IRA, also known as a Real Estate IRA LLC, but do you know the rules involving this type of investment? 

A Self-Directed IRA LLC offers one the ability to use his or her retirement funds to make almost any type of investment on their own without requiring the consent of any custodian or person. The IRS and Department of Labor only describe the types of investments that are prohibited, which are very few.

The foreign exchange market, also known as Forex, allows someone to exchange currencies around the world. Currency trading is one of the safest investments since fluctuations in the price of currency are very small (less than one cent per day). You can open and close positions in hours or hold them for as long as you want. Trading is done electronically and the market is open 24 hours a day for five and a half days. It is also the largest market in the world, much bigger than the stock exchange.

A Self-Directed IRA gives you the ability to invest in foreign currencies at your leisure. Self-Directed IRAs from traditional financial institutions do not usually let you trade currencies. They push their products on you (typically stocks, bonds, mutual funds). However, with a Checkbook Control Self-Directed IRA from IRA Financial Trust, you are not limited in your investment options. You have the ability to use your retirement funds any way you see fit, such as Forex trading.

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).

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

In general, the penalty under Internal Revenue Code Section 4975 generally starts out at 15% for most type of retirement plans; however, the penalty is harsher for self-directed IRAs.

Investors looking to buy real estate or other assets with a self-directed IRA can open an account for less than $100 with IRA Financial Trust

IRA Financial Trust Company, the market’s prominent self-directed IRA custodian for checkbook IRA and full service IRA custodian accounts, announces a special promotion through December 31, 2016 for new self-directed IRA accounts. “We are excited to offer investors the ability to open a new self-directed IRA account with IRA Financial Trust for just $90 through the end of 2016,” stated Adam Bergman, President of the IRA Financial Trust Company.

A Self-Directed IRA LLC offers one the ability to use his or her retirement funds to make almost any type of investment on their own without requiring the consent of any custodian or person. The IRS and Department of Labor only describe the types of investments that are prohibited, which are very few.

The foundation of the prohibited transaction rules are based on the premise that investments involving IRA and related parties are handled in a way that benefits the retirement account and not the IRA owner. The rules prohibit transactions between the IRA and certain individuals known as “disqualified persons”. The outline for these rules can be found in Internal Revenue Code Section 4975. In general, 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, and entities in which the IRA holder holds a controlling equity or management interest.

With a Self-Directed IRA with checkbook control, flipping homes or engaging in a real estate transaction is as simple as writing a check. As manager of your Self-Directed IRA LLC, you will have the authority to make real estate investment decisions on behalf of your IRA on your own without needing the consent of an IRA custodian. One of the true advantages of a checkbook control IRA is that when you want to purchase a home with your self-directed IRA, you can make the purchase, pay for the improvements, and even sell or flip the property on your own without involving the IRA custodian.  And the best part is that all gains generated from the house flipping transaction will flow back to the IRA LLC tax-free!

A Simplified Employee Pension or SEP is established by adopting a SEP agreement and having eligible employees establish SEP-IRAs. There are three basic steps in setting up a SEP, all of which must be satisfied.

2017 Self-Directed IRA Contribution Limits

For 2017, the IRA contribution limits will remain the same as 2016.  For individuals under the age of 50, the maximum Self-Directed IRA contribution for 2017 will be $5500, the same of 2016.  For individuals over the age of 50, the maximum Self-Directed IRA contribution for 2017 will be $6500, the same of 2016.

Individuals may generally transfer Roth IRA or rollover eligible qualified retirement plan assets into a self-directed Roth IRA LLC structure. Individuals may not rollover Roth IRA funds into a qualified retirement plan, such as a Solo 401(k) Plan or a pre-tax IRA account, such as a Traditional IRA or SEP IRA.

What is the most Common Way to Fund a Self-Directed Roth IRA?

Transfers and rollovers are types of transactions that allow movements of assets between like IRAs – Roth IRA to Roth IRA. Note – only after-tax funds can be rolled into a Roth IRA. No pre-tax retirement funds are eligible to be rolled into a Roth IRA.

A Real Estate IRA LLC is generally also referred to as a Self Directed IRA LLC with “Checkbook Control”. A Real Estate IRA LLC or Self-Directed IRA LLC with “Checkbook Control” plan is an IRS and tax court approved structure that will allow you to use your IRA funds to purchase real estate, including raw land.

With a Real Estate IRA LLC you will never have to seek the consent of a custodian to make a real estate investment or be subject to excessive custodian account fees based on account value and per transaction.

The Self-Directed IRA is a retirement solution that will unlock a world of investment opportunities. The Self-Directed IRA is a retirement investment vehicle that allows one to use their retirement funds to make traditional as well as non-traditional investments, such as real estate tax-free and without custodian consent. In most instances, investors using retirement funds to make an investment will use cash to make the investment. Whether the investment is in the form of stocks, precious metals, or real estate most investors using retirement funds to make the investment will not borrow any funds to make the investment. In other words, most investors using retirement funds will use cash to make the investment.

No, you do need IRA Financial Trust's permission to invest with our Self-Directed IRA LLC. All investment decisions are made by you, as manager of the Self Directed IRA LLC. It’s simple - when you want to make an investment, you write a check, use your debit card, wire funds, etc. All documents can be signed by you, as manager of the LLC.

In general, a self-directed IRA LLC may be funded by a transfer from another IRA account or through a rollover from an eligible defined contribution plans, defined benefit plans eligible defined contribution plans include qualified 401(k) retirement plans under Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), and governmental 457(b) plans.

The Self-Directed IRA Structure has been in use for some 35 years, however, the concept of using an entity owned by an IRA to make an investment was first reviewed by the Tax Court in Swanson V. Commissioner 106 T.C. 76 (1996). In Swanson, the Tax Court, in ruling against the IRS, held that the funding of a new entity by an IRA for self-directing assets was a permitted transaction and not prohibited pursuant to Code Section 4975. The Swanson Case was later affirmed by the IRS in Field Service Advice Memorandum (FSA) 200128011. In FSA 200128011, the IRS, in providing guidance to IRS agents for purposes of conducting audits, confirmed the Tax Court’s holding in Swanson and held that a newly established entity owned by an IRA and managed by the IRA owner may make investments using IRA funds without violating the prohibited transaction rules under Internal Revenue Code Section 4975. In October 2013, the Tax Court in T.L. Ellis, TC Memo. 2013-245, Dec. 59,674(M) held that establishing a special purpose limited liability company (“LLC”) to make an investment did not trigger a prohibited transaction, as a newly established LLC cannot be deemed a disqualified person pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 4975. The impact of the impact of this ruling is enormous because it directly supports the position that a retirement account can fund a newly established LLC without triggering a prohibited transaction. The Ellis case is decisive because it will silence anyone who claims that using a special purpose LLC to make IRA investments would trigger a prohibited transaction.

When it comes to making IRA investments the IRS does not state which transactions are allowed, but only states what types of transactions are prohibited. The IRA prohibited transaction rules are outlined in Internal Revenue Code Sections 408 & 4975 and generally involve the prohibition against using IRA funds to buy life insurance, collectibles, or enter into any transaction with a “disqualified person”. As per the Internal Revenue Code, a “disqualified person” is generally defined as the IRA holder and any of his or her lineal descendants or any entity controlled by such person(s).

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

Most people mistakenly believe that their 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 IRA 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.”

Distributions from Self-Directed Roth IRAs are not required to begin at any particular time, and there are no limitations on death benefits. Distributions from a traditional IRA, in contrast, must begin by April 1 following the year in which the owner reaches age 70 1/2 or (if later) retires and must generally be made in ways that will exhaust the account during the lifetimes or over life expectancies of the owner and his or her spouse. In other words, while congressional policy is that traditional IRAs be for retirement savings only, Congress acquiesces in the use of Roth IRAs for accumulating wealth to be transmitted at death.

The IRA Financial Trust Company will take care of setting up your entire Self Directed IRA LLC structure in a matter of days. Our in-house tax and ERISA professionals will work with you directly to customize a structure that satisfies your tax and investment goals.