It’s a common misconception that the only investments allowed in a retirement account are stocks, bonds, CDs or mutual funds. In reality, more investment options have been available since 1975, when IRAs were introduced as part of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. With the passage of the Small Business Jobs Protection Act of 1996, Congress allows certain precious metals to be held under an IRA.
Here are some of the alternative investment options that our current clients have taken advantage of with their self-directed IRA:
There are only three types of investments that are not permitted within a self-directed IRA: life insurance contracts, collectables (with some exceptions for coins and metals), and S corporations.
A Traditional IRA allows individuals to put aside tax-deferred money for retirement. Contributions may be used as a tax deduction if the individual is eligible. The earnings on the contributions grow tax-free but will be taxed upon distribution. A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account that is funded with post-tax dollars (no deduction). All earnings including interest, capital gains, and dividend income, grow tax-deferred. However, yearly eligibility requirements based on income must be met to determine the eligibility to contribute.
A SEP IRA (or Simplified Employee Pension plan) is a profit sharing type of plan that allows for a contribution of up to 25% of each employee’s compensation. A SIMPLE IRA (or Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) is an employer retirement plan that has similar characteristics to a 401(k). The difference is the plan is not subject to the additional yearly mandatory compliance test that typical 401(k) plans are subject to as well as the maximum contributions are lower. Lastly, an Individual 401(k), is designed for employers who only employ owners and their spouses.
Since Entrust does not offer, provide nor endorse investment, it is up to the client to conduct proper due diligence with the investments they choose. Entrust does not and cannot guarantee any investment.
Only the cash investment an IRA holder transfers or rolls over to their account at Entrust is FDIC insured on amounts up to $5 million. The cash is placed in a non-interest bearing checking account as available cash to be directed to fund an investment the IRA holder chooses. Entrust does not offer any investments so Entrust also does not guarantee the investment chosen by the IRA holder. As a passive Custodian of IRAs, Entrust Trust Company a separate entity founded is regulated by the State of Tennessee where the Trust Company is chartered.
To comply with the IRS reporting requirements, plan assets must be valued at fair market value, not cost. According to the IRS, the Fair Market Value (FMV) is value of a property or asset, based on what a knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured buyer would likely pay to a knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured seller in the market. Entrust being the custodian of the IRA requires different levels of asset valuation depending on what purpose the valuation is being used for.
It is always recommended to seek the assistance of a tax, investment or legal expert before entering into any transaction so that they can guide you through the information you need to know to make an informed decision. These professionals can help your source your investment, conduct proper due diligence and discuss risks and rewards. If you decide that self-directing is for you, The Entrust Group can help you get started.
Some of the main components of our services include providing the necessary documentation and performing the annual required government reporting for your IRA. Our team of professionals understands the self-direction process first-hand, and they are here to help be sounding board to answer all your IRA rules. To serve you in your area, Entrust has more office locations than any other self-directed IRA administrator. We help clients and professionals understand the broad spectrum of alternative investment options, including industry tips and strategies, as well as the benefits of self-directed investing.
Documentation will vary depending upon the asset being purchased. However, the documentation required will be the same as if you were purchasing the asset in your non-retirement account. The only thing to keep in mind is that it is your IRA that is making the investment and not you personally. You are merely directing the Custodian to invest in an investment on your behalf.
There are three basic steps to begin self-directing your IRA funds:
Yes. Your IRA may obtain a non-recourse loan, but keep in mind that in a non-recourse loan, you may not use your personal credit to facilitate the loan. The IRA is the borrower of the note and deed of trust, and the loan documents are signed by Entrust on behalf of the IRA at the direction of the IRA holder.
No, using an IRA asset to secure a personal loan is prohibited. Any amounts on an IRA pledged for a loan becomes taxable.
The contract must be vested in the name of the retirement plan because the IRA and the IRA holder are two separate entities. The proper way to handle this is to start a new contract using the correct vesting.
No. However, you can request the funds in your IRA to be sent to you as a distribution.
The property doesn’t have to be rented as long as the IRA has sufficient cash to pay for all the expenses related to the property. If there is insufficient cash to cover the expenses, the IRA holder has the option to rent the property, transfer funds from another IRA, make a contribution, or liquidate other IRA assets to pay for the expenses. Additionally, investors can fix and flip homes or hold on to rental properties for a flow of passive income with a Real Estate IRA.
No, but Entrust does permit the IRA owner to receive the rental income for record keeping, but the actual funds must be sent to Entrust for depositing. You cannot pay yourself income from profits generated from your IRA’s rental property as it is considered self-dealing.
No, it is not required. Some of our clients, however, choose to use a property manager for the purpose of consolidating the various expenses. Another advantage, if you are partnering with others, is that your tenants do not have to write multiple rental checks to the various investors. They just write one to the property manager, who then distributes the percentages accordingly.
If the property is being managed by a property manager, the property manager collects the rent and sends it to Entrust for deposit, along with the profit and loss statement. It is preferred if the profit and loss statement is sent monthly. If a property management company is not managing the property, the rental income should be deposited directly to the IRA account.
Essentially it’s your IRA that owns the property and not you personally. Any income or expenses from an asset within your IRA must be received and paid via the IRA. You cannot use personal funds to pay for expenses incurred by the asset within your retirement account. See IRS Code 4975 for more information.
Regular real estate expenses, such as mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, HOA dues, and repairs and maintenance, must be paid from the IRA. If these expenses are paid with personal funds, the IRA cannot reimburse you. Doing so is a prohibited transaction. Any payment to an IRA holder from an IRA, whether or not claimed as a reimbursement, is a distribution and must be reported on IRS Form 1099-R and therefore, subject to inclusion in gross income.
You have a few options: Make your yearly contribution to your IRA account if you are eligible to make one, transfer funds from another IRA account, liquidate other IRA assets to free funds, get a non-recourse loan, or sell the asset.
First, verify that the title can be held in the name of the IRA. Some countries require that land be held in the name of an entity. In this situation, you may need to establish an entity to proceed with the purchase. It is best to involve a legal counsel and other advisors knowledgeable of the specific the country’s laws before purchasing offshore property. You should allow for additional time to close an offshore real estate transaction.
Consult with your real estate professional, legal and tax advisors to assist you with performing the necessary due diligence on the property to fit your individual needs. Some things to do are:
A non-recourse loan is a loan that is secured only with collateral, which is usually the property. If the borrower (IRA) defaults, the lender can seize the collateral, but cannot seek to collect from anyone else including the IRA holder—The lender has no recourse—for any further compensation, even if the collateral does not cover the full value of the defaulted amount. In this situation, the IRA holder does not have personal liability for the loan. The IRA owner must do the research to source out non-course loan lenders.
“Unrelated business income” is income from a trade or business, regularly carried on (showing frequency and continuity), that is not substantially related to the purpose of a retirement account. The Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) was created by the Congress to level the playing field for businesses established under the umbrella of a tax-exempt entity, not to have a competitive advantage over other businesses outside of a retirement plan. Both should shoulder their tax responsibility.
Unrelated Debt-Financed Income (UDFI) is generated when an IRA borrows money to purchase real estate. UDFI is the result of Acquisition Indebtedness on the portion the IRA investment purchased using a loan. Having UDFI also will require filing an IRS Form 990-T.