Frequently Asked Questions

Self Directed IRA FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Do I need a Self Directed IRA LLC?

That depends on what type of investments you are planning on making. If you want to invest in alternative investments such as real estate, mortgages, trust deeds , tax liens, fix and flips, loans or anything other than the normal stocks and mutual funds, a Self Directed IRA LLC is the most efficient and cost effective way to invest. However if you suffer from paralysis by analysis or cannot make decisions without checking with outside influences, it is probably not going to work for you. With a Self Directed IRA LLC you are the decision maker.

What type of retirement accounts can I move into a Self Directed IRA LLC?

Any retirement account that allows a transfer to a traditional IRA including 401k plans, a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA , and a Simplified Employee Pension plan, or SEP-IRA.

Is this a new law?

No. It has been allowed for many years. Few people seemed to know about this option – or even care – until the stock market began to decline. Financial institutions, meanwhile, had little incentive to recommend something other than stocks, bonds or mutual funds, since these provided a source for their fees. Section 408 of the Internal Revenue Code permits individuals to use a Self-Directed IRA to purchase real estate investments such as commercial property, condominiums, residential property,  international  real estate, mortgages, trust deeds, real estate contracts,  private placements, limited partnerships, limited liability company’s (LLC’s), and many other types of investments with retirement funds held in many common forms of IRA’s, including 401k’s, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and Simplified Employee Pension Plan or SEP-IRA. (see IRS Publication 590 Individual Retirement Arrangements). Also see Swanson vs. Commissioner .

Can I do this myself?

In a word: DON’T.  The reason is: You don’t know what you don’t know. The penalties are severe for prohibited transactions which are easily and unknowingly created.

How do I know this is legal?

Discuss this strategy with your tax advisor. If he is unfamiliar with it have him consult resources such as The Journal of Taxation, the Journal of New York CPA’s and Trust and Estates magazine and other resources used by tax attorneys and PAs.

You can also see Section 408 of the Internal Revenue Code. Also see Swanson vs. Commissioner

Can my LLC purchase real estate I already own?

No, not without filing for an exemption. Property that you or a disqualified person has ever owned is not eligible to be purchased by your LLC since this would be a prohibited transaction,

Can I co-invest with the IRA of my spouse or other investors?

Yes, both IRAs can be owners of the LLC, in fact so can other individuals and entities as long as the other owners are not disqualified persons. This is very useful for large investments

Can I buy vacation property?

Yes, but you can not personally use it. Neither you nor any other disqualified person can have any personal use or benefit of the property while it is held in your retirement account. The property must be purchased for investment purposes only. However upon reaching retirement age you could take the property as a distribution (see Buying International Real Estate with an IRA).

Can my LLC make loans with its funds?

Yes, you can make loans to any person or entity that does not violate the “related party” rules.

Can my LLC invest outside the country?

Yes, there are a lot of investment opportunities outside the country that are now available to you including international real estate.

Can I still invest in stocks and bonds?

Yes, you can invest in anything that is not a prohibited transaction

Must I have a custodian for my IRA?

Absolutely, all IRAs are required to be held by a IRA Custodian approved by the IRS. Only a few of these allow truly self-directed IRAs

Will my custodian assist me in setting up an IRA LLC?

No, they will not. However, Self Directed IRA LLC can set up your IRA LLC

Must I form my LLC in my state of residence?

No, you can use most any state you prefer. Nevada, Arizona and Florida are popular options.  You can form an LLC in a state without residing in it.

How much time does it take to implement this strategy?

That depends upon how long it takes your current IRA Custodian to transfer your funds to your new IRA Custodian. Some are fast some are slow. The entire process should take 2 to 4 weeks.

Can my LLC borrow funds to finance a real estate purchase?

Yes, but only with the use of a non-recourse promissory note issued by a lending institution or by the seller of the property. The non-recourse promissory note cannot be personally guaranteed, and the lending institution can only look to the property securing the note as collateral. Important: Debt-financed property may generate Unrelated Business IncomeTax (“UBIT”), and any taxes due must be paid by the account. For more information regarding UBIT, please consult your tax advisor. (See IRA Non-Recourse Financing).

In addition to real estate what investments can my IRA purchase?

Closely-held stocks, Private Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, Real estate including Tenants in Common, Debt financed or leveraged real estate, International Real Estate, Tax Lien Certificates, Promissory notes or Corporate Debt Offerings, Trust Deeds, Mortgages, Managed commodity trading accounts, Mutual funds in any mutual fund family, Stocks and Bonds in a brokerage account, Annuities, Public Limited Partnerships, Direct participation programs , REITs, Treasuries, Bank CDs, U.S. Treasury coins or bullion

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