What is an IRA?

An individual retirement arrangement (IRA) is a custodial account used to hold investments for an individual’s retirement.

When were IRAs created?

After the passage of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), IRAs were created by ERISA in 1975. Roth IRAs were created by the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997.

Who offers IRAs?

IRAs are established with Insurance Companies, banks, credit unions, savings and loan associations, brokerage firms, or other organizations approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

What is a Self-Directed IRA?

A self-directed IRA (SDA) is an IRA that allows the IRA owner to pick the investments. Because the IRA trustee or custodian does not pick the investments, the IRA owner takes on the risk. Some of the investments that SDA owners direct their IRAs into are real estate, LLC and precious metals, to name just a few.

What is a Self-Directed IRA LLC?

Commonly referred to as a Checkbook IRA or IRA LLC, when an LLC is 100% owned by an IRA or combination of IRAs, it is referred to as a Self-Directed IRA LLC. While the IRA owns the LLC through the purchase of member units, the same prohibited transaction rules applicable to the self-directed IRA apply to the IRA owned LLC.

Why open a Self-Directed IRA LLC?

There are many reasons the self-directed IRA LLC is popular for investing retirement funds, including the following:

Alternative Investments

Since the early 2000s the self-directed IRA owned LLC has grown in popularity as the common form of entity for placing real estate purchases, tax liens, precious metals, trust deeds, promissory notes and private placements, to name a few.

Checkbook Control over the IRA

A self-directed IRA owned LLC puts the IRA participant in control in placing the self-directed investments as the named LLC manager. The LLC investments can be processed by check or wire and are titled in the name of the LLC, not in the name of the IRA.

Reduce IRA Custodian Fees and Timely Process Investments

After investing the self-directed IRA in the LLC, as the manager start placing alternative investment purchases by writing checks or wiring funds from the LLC bank account. As a result IRA custodian processing fees and holding fees are greatly reduced and hold times are eliminated.

How is a Self-Directed IRA LLC established?

First, a Self-Directed IRA is created by completing and signing the IRA plan agreement provided by the IRA custodian.

Second, the former employer retirement plan or IRA funds are transferred to the new Self-Directed IRA custodian.

Third, MySolo401k.Net drafts Self-Directed IRA LLC operating agreement including specific IRA regulatory language, registers the LLC with the state and obtains EIN for the LLC from the IRS.

Fourth, MySolo401K.Net assists the LLC manager in opening the LLC bank account at his or her local bank.

Fifth, LLC investment directive along with the LLC documents are submitted to the custodian who then invests the IRA funds in the LLC by wiring the funds to the LLC bank account.

Finally, after the LLC bank account is funded, the manager of the LLC begins placing alternative investment purchases.

How do I proceed with opening a self-directed IRA LLC?

Starting a self-directed IRA LLC is easy and we will guide you through the entire account establishment process.

Step 1: Complete the sign-up form by clicking here.

Step 2: After we review your online application, we will e-mail you to confirm receipt of your IRA LLC request.​

Step 3: After making payment, we will register the LLC with the secretary of state and obtain employer identification number for the LLC.

Step 4: We e-mail the self-directed IRA establishment forms and assist you in filling them out.

Step 5: We will assist you in filling out the IRA and/or qualified plan (e.g., former employer 401k, TSP, 403b or governmental plan) transfer-out forms.

Step 6: Mail the self-directed IRA establishment: Mail the self-directed IRA application to the new IRA custodian.

Step 7: Open the LLC bank account at your local bank.

Step 8: After the self-directed IRA has been funded, submit the IRA LLC Operating Agreement and investment forms to the new IRA custodian for funding.

Step 9: After the IRA LLC has been funded, begin placing investments by writing a check.

How long until my account IRA LLC is setup and funded?

The LLC funding process generally takes 7 to 14 business days.

Can I roll over/transfer my former employer retirement plan and/or IRAs into the IRA LLC?

Yes former employer retirement funds and/or existing IRAs may be transferred/rolled over to a self-directed IRA and subsequently invested in the IRA LLC. We will guide you through the entire transfer process.

IMPORTANT: SIMPLE IRA funds may not be transferred to an IRA LLC until two years has passed since the SIMPLE IRA was first funded. This is a SIMPLE IRA rule. See publication 590 for more on this


How much can I contribute to an IRA?

Fort 2013, the maximum you can contribute to all of your traditional and Roth IRAs is the smaller of: $5,000 ($6,000 if you’re age 50 or older), or your taxable compensation for the year.

Do IRA contribution limits apply to rollover contributions?

No the IRA contribution limits do not apply to transfers/rollovers from other IRAs or former employer plans such as a 401k.

Can I make IRA contributions after age 70 1/2?

It depends. You can make regular contributions to a Roth IRA after age 70 1/2, but contributions may not be made to a traditional IRA after age 70 1/2 even if you have earned income.

IMPORTANT: Transfers/Rollovers are not subject to the age 70 1/2 contribution restriction.

Can my spouse make IRA contributions even though he is not employed?

Yes, known as spousal IRA, you and your spouse can each make self-directed IRA contributions even if only one of you has earned income/taxable compensation.

I'm currently contributing to my full-time employer 401k, can I still contribute to a self-
directed IRA?


More IRA Questions & Answers

 QUESTION: Do I still need to have a self-directed IRA custodian for the IRA LLC even if the LLC will be self-administrated? If so, which custodian(s) do you work with most often?

ANSWER:  Yes an IRA custodian is still required because they have to do the annual reporting with the IRS. For example, the IRA custodian has to issue a Form 5498 each year to report the total value of the IRA including the LLC. Many of our clients use IRA Services Trust Company because they have been in business since 1978 and their annual fee is 1$80 a year; however, you get to choose your IRA custodian.

QUESTION:  In which state will this IRA LLC be registered?

ANSWER: The LLC is registered in the state that you live in

QUESTION: Does your fee cover the LLC state registration fee?

ANSWER: No our fee does not cover the LLC registration fee.

QUESTION: Does the IRA LLC need to file an annual report and pay annual registration fee in that state?

ANSWER:  Yes the state may require an annual report and charge a fee. This depends on your state.

QUESTION: Your website says that a single member IRA LLC does not need to file tax return because it is considered disregarded entity. Do I need to include this LLC in my personal tax return?

ANSWER: No the IRA LLC activity is not reported  on your personal tax return.

QUESTION: What if the LLC generate UBTI? Do I need to file a separate tax return for the IRA LLC in that case?

ANSWER: If the IRA LLC generates UBIT or UDFI, then yes a separate tax return known as  form 990-T will need be filed with the IRS and the tax payment will need to be paid with IRA funds as this tax is assessed on the IRA.


How can we roll over my Roth IRA into a self employed IRA so we have more choices than stocks and bonds?


It is not possible to transfer a Roth IRA to a self-employed plan. But you can open a checkbook ROTH IRA that will allow for investing in alternative investments such as real estate. Click here to learn more.


Can you send me a list of your current custodial fees?


We do not act as the custodian. The vast majority of our customers are at a company called IRA Services Trust Company – please see the fee schedule located on their website. Of course, you can choose a different custodian if you prefer.


I have several retirement accounts to transfer/rollover do i need to wait for all of them to be transferred before opening the LLC?


You can rollover over at the same time or over a period of time.


Do i need to open the LLC within a certain time after establishing the IRA?



What IRS rule covers survivor-ship, i.e. when i die does it get dissolved or can my kids keep funding it?


It depends on who inherits the IRA. If the IRA is inherited by your spouse, it is treated as if it was your spouse’s IRA all along (e.g. your spouse could continue to make contributions to the account). If inherited by a nonspouse IRA, it is treated differently & the beneficiary needs to start taking distributions.


 I manage a Roth IRA LLC that you set up. I am evaluating an investment opportunity and the questionnaire is asking me to state whether the LLC qualifies as any one of the below. These look like relatively standard categories. Please let me know how I should answer these.
  • The Investor is an “employee benefit plan” as defined in Section 3(3) of ERISA, which is subject to Part 4 of Title I of ERISA.
  • The Investor is a “plan” as defined in Section 4975(e)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, including, without limitation, individual retirement accounts and Keogh plans.
  • The Investor is an entity whose underlying assets include “plan assets” (as defined under Section 3(42) of ERISA) by reason of a plan’s investment in the Investor. If true, the Investor hereby certifies that _____% of the total value of equity interests in the Investor is held by “benefit plan investors” as defined in ERISA


In this case neither of the options presented apply because it is the Roth owned LLC making the investment, not the Roth IRA.


If my wife and I invest both or our respective IRAs in the same LLC will that trigger any LLC tax return filing requirement?


While both IRA accounts can invest in one LLC,  this means that there will be two members of the LLC such that a partnership tax returns will have to be filed for the LLC (e.g. form 1065 with the IRS) as well as a K-1 for each IRA.

Additional Funding and Flow of Funds QUESTIONS:

If I need to add more funds, do I need to do that in a certain way? Let’s say I need another $10K to complete a property purchase.

Does the money have to come from another IRA or can it come from my own pocket?
Does the money have to be added/transferred to IRA Services first and then to the checking account?


Good questions. The funds cannot come from your own pocket. Reason being, the LLC is owned by your IRA and it would result in a prohibited transaction if you commingled your your personal funds with IRA funds.Instead, you can make an annual IRA contribution based on the IRA limits for the year, and/or transfer other IRAs or former employer retirement plans to the IRA.

The annual IRA contribution and/or transfers from other IRAs or former employer retirement plans  have to first flow directly to the self-directed IRA because they must flow to an IRA in order to maintain there tax sheltered status. Once inside the self-directed IRA, they can be invested in the IRA LLC.

Rent Checks QUESTION:

If purchase real estate through the IRA LLC and collect rent, who will the check be made out to?  My company name or the IRA custodian?


The main purpose of investing an IRA in a LLC is to invest in real estate through the LLC; therefore, not only will the LLC own the property, all the rent checks have to flow back to the LLC bank account. As such, the rent checks must be made payable in the name of the LLC.


I’ve been told by another firm that if you form an IRA LLC w personal funds (rather than have the IRA pay for formation) it can invalidate the IRA LLC? The IRS can say it wasn’t formed properly?


The key is to distinguish between expenses incurred before the LLC is owned by the IRA and those expenses incurred after the LLC is owned by the IRA.  Expenses incurred before the LLC is owned by the IRA are paid with personal funds because the LLC is not owned by the IRA.

Withdrawing Funds QUESTION:

I believe that I read somewhere that if I plan to withdraw Assets from the IRA LLC that an Appraisal would need to be done at the end of the year preceding the withdrawal.
Would this apply if I do not plan to sell any Assets, but, instead only plan to withdraw earnings?
I have Rental Properties held in the IRA LLC, from which I may need to withdraw earnings to pay Medical Expenses next year.


Before you can take distributions, the funds must flow back to the IRA, as the distributions have to flow from the IRA. The IRA custodian will then ask you to fill out a distribution form and will subsequently disburse the funds. They will then issue a 1099-R to report the distributions by the following January for filing with your personal Form 1040 tax return.

You cannot process distributions from the IRA owned LLC directly to you as that will result in a prohibited transaction. Again, the funds must first flow back to the IRA custodian.

Roth IRA 5 Year Clock QUESTION:

Question related to the holding period (5) years on a new ROTH IRA. I currently have a ROTH IRA that is approximately 1 year old with TD-Ameritrade. Will I be establishing a brand new ROTH IRA that requires the full 5 year period or can I fund the self directed ROTH IRA with funds from my TD Ameritrade ROTH IRA? How will this impact the 5 year waiting period?


The 5 year holding period for the existing ROTH IRA will carry over and won’t start over provided it is processed as a direct rollover.

Bitcoin Coinbase QUESTION:

If I already have a Personal Coinbase account…could I link or add my new IRA LLC checking account & pay for cryptocurrencies this way or would I have to create a new account with Coinbase?


No you cannot commingle IRA LLC funds with your personal funds when investing in bitcoin. Therefore, a separate coinbase account will need to be linked to your IRA LLC bank account. If done through GDAX, the account will need to be titled in the name of IRA LLC and only IRA LLC funds can be used.


60 Day Rollover Distribution QUESTION:

I took a $16k IRA distribution a month ago but really only needed $14k can I put the excess $2k back into my IRA account?


If you did not process any other 60 day rollovers during that 12 month period from this IRA, or any other IRA then yes the rules  allow you to rollover part or the full IRA distribution to the IRA as long as 60 days have not lapsed since you received the IRA distribution from the IRA custodian. You will need to first deposit the funds directly into the IRA not the LLC. You will need to contact the IRA custodian to get a copy of their 60 day rollover deposit form.


Could you please let me know if we have to file Form 1099-MISC for vendors who provided services to IRA LLC and were paid from the IRA LLC bank account.


Yes if your IRA LLC paid a vendor that is not a corporation more than $600 during the year. As the manage of the IRA LLC, you will need to work with your CPA in issuing a Form 1099-MISC vendors to report that income. The deadline to deliver forms to recipients is published annually by the IRS on the “Instructions for Form 1099-MISC“, and is generally in February.

Additional Funding for Existing Trust Deed QUESTION:

A question about a possible prohibited transaction.
The primary business done from the account is short term real estate lending.  I currently have a property that I have the first position lien and deed of trust lent out of the IRA.  If the borrower needs more cash and I wish to lend, but I don’t have any additional funds in the IRA, is it an allowed transaction to lend the additional funds using a second lien and second DOT.  These two instruments would be complete separate.  The only indirect relationship would be the standard laws that the first deed is satisfied before the second.


Good question and the answer is not because the trust deed is an asset of the IRA LLC; therefore, you cannot loan personal funds to the borrower. Instead, the IRA LLC would loan additional funds. Also, an IRA LLC is not allowed to obtain a loan solely for loaning funds to a third-party.

Additional Funding for Existing Trust Deed QUESTION:

I purchased a rental property in 2015 using my home equity line of credit from my vacation residence. Can I now refinance my rental property using my self directed IRA to pay off my line of credit and transfer ownership to the IRA LLC?


Such transaction would result in a prohibited transaction.

Certain transactions between an IRA and its owner or an IRA and a “disqualified person” are specifically prohibited by law.

A prohibited transaction is a transaction between an IRA and a disqualified person that is prohibited by law.

The transaction that you are describing would run afoul with some or all of the following prohibited transaction rules:

Prohibited transactions generally include the following transactions:

  • a transfer of IRA income or assets to, or use of them by or for the benefit of, a disqualified person;
  • any act of a fiduciary by which IRA income or assets are used for his or her own interest;
  • the receipt of consideration by a fiduciary for his or her own account from any party dealing with the IRA in a transaction that involves plan income or assets;
  • the sale, exchange, or lease of property between an IRA and a disqualified person;
  • lending money or extending credit between an IRA and a disqualified person; and
  • furnishing goods, services, or facilities between an IRA and a disqualified person.

Help me Understand the Implications of the UBIT Tax QUESTION:

I am considering opening an IRA LLC mainly to invest in real estate. Can you help me understand the implications of the UBIT tax?


It may apply if you are doing a large volume of flips (because it may be viewed as a business) or if you purchase real estate using non-recourse financing (in which unrelated debt finance income tax would apply). See more at the following link:

Help me Understand the Implications of the UBIT Tax QUESTION:

Can I run a self-directed ROTH IRA and trad IRA through the same LLC IRA?


While specific reporting will apply, yes it is possible for two IRA accounts to invest in a single LLC (including a single LLC Bank account).  It is important to note that this means there will be two members of the LLC which means that a partnership tax return will need to be filed for the LLC with the IRS (i.e. Form 1065) as well as possibly filing to the state level

See more at the following link:


I reviewed your info and had a question.  Is it possible to invest a portion of my self-directed IRA in a P/E backed company which I’m the CFO?  My IRA investment would be less than 1% of the total equity and I would not be on the board of directors.


No you cannot invest your IRA funds in a company for which you serve as the CFO.

Debt Financing for Real Estate Investment QUESTION:

Can you use the IRA LLC funds as money down on investment real estate and have a mortgage on the remainder?


Yes, however, the debt portion would be subject to a tax called Unrelated Debt-Financed Income (UDFI) tax on IRA LLC investment income derived from debt-financed property, proportionate to the debt on the property.investing funds. For more information regarding UDFI please visit the following IRS web page: click here