Nov 17

When Are Roth Solo 401(k) Distributions Taxed?

When Are Roth Solo 401(k) Distributions Taxed?Generally, distributions from a designated Roth Solo 401(k) account are excluded from gross income if they are (1) made after the employee attains age 59 1/2 , (2) “attributable to” the employee being “disabled,” or (3) made to the employee’s beneficiary or estate after the employee’s death. However, the exclusion is denied if the distribution occurs within five years after the employee’s first designated Roth contribution to the account from which the distribution is received or, if the account contains a rollover from another designated Roth account, to the other account. Other distributions from a designated Roth account are excluded from gross income under Internal Revenue Code 72 only to the extent they consist of designated Roth contributions and are taxable to the extent they consist of trust earnings credited to the account.

Please contact one of our 401(k) Experts at 800-472-0646 for more information.

IRA Financial Group Facebook pageIRA Financial Group Twitter pageamazon-logoIRA Financial Group Tumblr pageIRA Financial Group Pinterest page

Nov 14

What is the Rollover Business Start-up Solution?

The Business Acquisition & Compliance Solution Structure (BACSS), also known as the “Rollover Business Start-Up” (“ROBS”) Solution, is an IRS and ERISA approved structure that allows an individual to use retirement funds, such as an IRA or 401(k), to purchase a new or existing business or franchise tax-free and penalty-free.

The ROBS arrangement typically involves rolling over a prior IRA or 401(k) plan account into a newly established 401(k) plan, which a start-up C Corporation business sponsored, and then investing the rollover funds in the stock of the new C Corporation.

What is the Difference between using a Self-Directed IRA Vs. ROBS structure to buy a business?

At first glance, using a Self-Directed IRA LLC to purchase stock in a corporation would seem to share many similarities with the ROBS structure.

Rollover Business Start-Up, Rollover Business StartupWith IRA Financial Group’s ROBS transactions, the structure typically involves the following sequential steps: (i) an entrepreneur or existing business owner establishes a new C Corporation; (ii) the C Corporation adopts a prototype 401(k) plan that specifically permits plan participants to direct the investment of their plan accounts into a selection of investment options, including employer stock, also known as “qualifying employer securities.”; (iii) the entrepreneur elects to participate in the new 401(k) plan and, as permitted by the plan, directs a rollover or trustee-to-trustee transfer of retirement funds from another qualified retirement plan into the newly adopted 401(k) plan; (iv) the entrepreneur then directs the investment of his or her 401(k) plan account to purchase the C Corporation’s newly issued stock at fair market value (i.e., the amount that the entrepreneur wishes to invest in the new business); and finally (v) the C Corporation utilizes the proceeds from the sale of stock to purchase an existing business or to begin a new venture.

With IRA Financial group’s ROBS strategy, the newly formed business will also be able to borrow from third parties, pay salaries to employees (including shareholders/plan participants), and engage in other routine business transactions with disqualified persons. Commonly, a corporate officer or shareholder will make or guarantee loans to the business.

With a Self-Directed IRA LLC, an entrepreneur could use retirement funds to purchase business assets like with the ROBS strategy. However, that individual would not be able to be actively involved in the business, earn a salary, or even personally guarantee a business loan.

The recent U.S. Tax Court case Ellis v. Comm’r of Internal Revenue, No. 14-1310 (8th Cir. 2015) highlights the risk and limitations involved when using a Self-Directed IRA to purchase business assets. In the Ellis case, the taxpayers used IRA funds to invest in a corporation that ultimately purchased business assets. Because Mr. Ellis used an IRA and not a 401(k) Plan to purchase the C Corporation stock, Mr. Ellis was not able to earn a salary or personally guarantee a business loan, which ultimately was the cause of the IRS prohibited transaction rule violation.

If Mr. Ellis had used IRA Financial Group’s ROBS strategy, he would have been able to purchase business assets with retirement funds, earn a salary from the business, as well as personally guarantee the business loan without triggering the IRS prohibited transaction rules.

Legal Foundation for the ROBS Solution

An individual retirement account investor is able to use retirement funds to invest in an active trade or business with tax or penalty because the ROBS solution qualifies for a special exemption set forth under IRC 4975(d) to certain prohibited transaction rules. The exemption to the prohibited transaction rules under IRC 4975(d) is centered around ERISA Section 408(e). It is IRC Section 4975(d) and ERISA Section 408(e) which shields employers from scrutiny of routine (non-abusive) corporate transactions by the plan sponsor and other “disqualified persons,” which might otherwise constitute technical violations of the prohibited transaction rules (due to the employer-sponsored retirement plan’s ownership of employer securities). If the plan sponsor and other fiduciaries’ routine corporate transactions did not fall within the purview of ERISA Section 408(e), the prohibited transaction rules would needlessly prohibit a myriad of legitimate business transactions and would ultimately nullify the exemption that Congress intended to provide. To accomplish its intended effect, ERISA Section 408(e) must be read to exempt the natural and necessary commercial consequences of owning corporate stock, rather than just the stock purchase or divestiture.

Important tax and economic policy considerations also compel a different result for 401(k) plans than IRAs. Congress specifically intended to encourage 401(k) plans to invest in employer securities, within certain limits. The opportunity to invest in employer securities through retirement plans benefits employers and employees alike by aligning their economic interests.

Outside the context of ROBS arrangements, many 401(k) plans permit participants to invest in employer stock. A number of large 401(k) plans, including plans sponsored by Apple and Pepsi, include substantial allocations of employer stock.

To learn more about the benefits of the ROBS (Rollover Business Startup) strategy, please contact a retirement tax expert at 800-472-0646.

IRA Financial Group Facebook pageIRA Financial Group Twitter pageamazon-logoIRA Financial Group Tumblr pageIRA Financial Group Pinterest page

Nov 10

Advantages of a Checkbook Control Individual 401(k) Plan

An Individual 401(k) plan, also known as a Solo 401(k), is perfect for sole proprietors, small businesses and independent contractors.

A Solo 401(k) plan is generally also referred to as a “checkbook control” Qualified Retirement Plan. In each case, a 401(k) plan is established whereby the participant serves as trustee and administrator of the Plan providing the participant with “checkbook control” over his or her retirement funds.

Advantages of a Checkbook Control Individual 401(k) PlanWith a “checkbook control” Solo 401(K) Plan 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.

By having “checkbook control” over your retirement funds you will gain the following advantages:

“Checkbook Control”: You’ll no longer have to get each investment approved by the custodian of your account. Instead, all decisions are truly yours. To make an investment, simply write a check and use the funds straight from your Solo 401(k) Plan bank account.

When making a real estate investment or purchasing tax liens, a “checkbook control” Solo 401(k) Plan, will allow you as manager of the LLC the ability to simply write a check from your Solo 401(k) Plan bank account.

Example 1: Joe has a Solo 401(k) set-up by the IRA Financial Group. Joe has established his Solo 401(k) Plan bank account with Bank of America. Joe wishes to use his retirement funds to purchase a home from Steve, an unrelated third-party (non-disqualified person). Steve is anxious to close the transaction as soon as possible. With a “checkbook control” Solo 401(k) Plan, Joe can simply write a check using the funds from his 401(k) Plan bank account or can wire the funds directly from the account to Steve. Joe, as trustee of the plan, no longer needs to seek the consent of the custodian before making the real estate purchase. With a custodian controlled Solo 401(k) Plan without “checkbook control” Joe may not be able to make the real estate purchase since seeking custodian approval would likely take too much time.

Example 2: Joe has a Solo 401(k) set-up by the IRA Financial Group. Joe has established his Solo 401(k) Plan bank account with Bank of America. Joe wishes to use his retirement funds to invest in tax lien certificates via auction. Purchasing tax lien certificates requires Joe make the payment at the auction. With a “checkbook control” Solo 401(k) Plan, Joe can simply bring his 401(k) Plan bank account checkbook to the closing or secure a certified check from the bank in order to make payments at the auction. With a custodian controlled Solo 401(k) Plan without “checkbook control” Joe would not be able to make tax lien certificate investments because he would need custodian approval before each tax lien certificate purchase and would not have sufficient time to seek the consent of the custodian.

No Custodian Fees or Transaction Fees: The most significant cost benefit of the Solo 401(k) plan is that it does not require the participant to hire a bank or trust company to serve as trustee. In other words, there are no custodian fees or transaction fees when establishing a Solo 401(k) Plan with the IRA Financial Group. This flexibility allows the participant to serve in the trustee role. This means that all assets of the 401(k) trust are under the sole authority of the Solo 401k participant.  A Solo 401(k) plan allows you to eliminate the expense and delays associated with an IRA custodian, enabling you to act quickly when the right investment opportunity presents itself.

Speed: You can act quickly on a great investment opportunity. When you find an investment that you want to make with your retirement funds, simply write a check or wire the funds straight from your Solo 401(k) Plan bank account to make the investment. The Solo 401(k) Plan allows you to eliminate the delays associated with using an IRA custodian, enabling you to act quickly when the right investment opportunity presents itself.

Offset the Cost of Your Plan with a Tax Deduction: By paying for your Solo 401(k) with business funds, you would be eligible to claim a deduction for the cost of the plan, including annual maintenance fees. The deduction for the cost associated with the Solo 401(k) Plan and ongoing maintenance will help reduce your business’s income tax liability, which will in-turn offset the cost of adopting a self-directed Solo 401(k) Plan. The retirement tax professionals at the IRA Financial Group will help you take advantage of the available business tax deduction for adopting a Solo 401(k) Plan.

Cost Effective Administration: In general, the solo 401(k) plan is easy to operate. There is generally no annual filing requirement unless your Solo 401K plan exceeds $250,000 in assets, in which case you will need to file a short information return with the IRS (Form 5500-EZ).

Solo 401k Solution

For more information about the Individual 401(k) with checkbook control, please contact us @ 800.472.0646.

IRA Financial Group Facebook pageIRA Financial Group Twitter pageamazon-logoIRA Financial Group Tumblr pageIRA Financial Group Pinterest page

Nov 07

Are You Eligible for a Self-Employed 401(k) Plan?

A Self-Employed 401(k) Plan, also called a  Solo 401(k) Plan, is well suited for businesses that either do not employ any employees or employee certain employees that may be excluded from coverage. A Solo 401(k) plan is perfect for any sole proprietor, consultant, or independent contractor.

To be eligible to benefit from the Solo 401(k) plan, investor must meet just two eligibility requirements:

1. The presence of self employment activity.

2. The absence of full-time employees.

The Presence of Self Employment Activity

Self employment activity generally includes ownership and operation of a sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Company (LLC), C Corporation, S Corporation, and Limited Partnership where the business intends to generate revenue for profit and make significant contributions to the plan.

Are You Eligible for a Self-Employed 401(k) Plan?Generate Revenue for Profit

There are no established thresholds for how much profit the business must be generated, how much money must be contributed to the plan, or how soon profits and contributions must happen. It is generally believed that the IRS will consider you eligible if the business being conducted is a legitimate business that is run with the intention of generating profits. The self employment activity can be part time, and it can be ancillary to full time employment elsewhere. A person can even participate in an employer’s 401(k) plan in tandem with their own Solo 401(k). In such a case, the employee elective deferrals from both plans are subject to the single contribution limit.

The Absence of Full-Time Employees

Unlike a regular 401(k) plan, a Solo 401K plan can be implemented only by self-employed individuals or small business owners who have no other full-time employees and are not employed by any business owned by them or their spouse (an exception applies if your full-time employee is your spouse). The business owner and their spouse are technically considered “owner-employees” rather than “employees”.

The following types of employees may be generally excluded from coverage:

  • Employees under 21 years of age
  • Employees that work less than a 1000 hours annually
  • Union employees
  • Nonresident alien employees

If you have full-time employees age 21 or older (other than your spouse) or part-time employees who work more than 1,000 hours a year, you will typically have to include them in any plan you set up. However, a Solo 401k eligible business can have part time employees and independent contractors.

Please contact one of our 401(k) Experts at 800-472-0646 for more information.

IRA Financial Group Facebook pageIRA Financial Group Twitter pageamazon-logoIRA Financial Group Tumblr pageIRA Financial Group Pinterest page

Nov 02

Learn Everything You Need to Know About a Solo 401(k) Plan

With a Solo 401(k) Plan – Make High Contributions, Borrow up to $50,000, and use your retirement funds to invest in real estate and much more tax free!

IRS Approved PlanIn 1981, the IRS formally described the rules for 401k Plans. The Solo 401(k) Plan is an IRS approved type of qualified plan. The Solo 401k plan” is not a new type of plan. It is a traditional 401k plan covering only one employee. The plans have the same rules and requirements as any other 401(k) plan. The surging interest in these Solo 401k plans is a result of the EGTRRA tax law change that became effective in 2002.

Before the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) became effective in 2002, there was no incentive for an owner-only business to establish a 401(k) plan because the business owner could generally receive the same benefits by adopting a profit sharing plan or SEP IRA. However, EGTRRA changed everything and turned the Solo 401(k) Plan into the most popular retirement plan for the self-employed. EGTRRA cleared the way for an owner-only business to defer more money into a retirement plan and to operate a more cost-effective, less complex type of plan. One of the key features of EGTRRA was that it added the employee deferral feature founded in a traditional multiple employee 401(k) Plan to the Solo 401(k) Plan. This feature turned the Solo 401(k) Plan into the retirement vehicle that provided the highest contribution benefits to the self-employed.

A Solo 401k plan is perfect for any sole proprietor, consultant, or independent contractor. A Solo 401(k) Plan offers the same abilities as a Self-Directed IRA LLC, but without having to hire a custodian or create an LLC. With the IRS approved Solo 401(k) Plan, roll over your existing IRA or 401(k) plan funds tax-free into a new Solo 401(k) Plan and use those funds to make tax-deferred investments, such as real estate, while also gaining the ability to borrow up to $50,000 as well as make annual plan contributions up to $60,000 – almost 10 times the amount of an IRA.

The Solo 401(k) Plan – The Ultimate Retirement & Investment Solution

A Solo 401(k) plan is an IRS approved retirement plan, which is suited for business owners who do not have any employees, other than themselves and perhaps their spouse. The “one-participant 401(k) plan” or individual 401(k) Plan is not a new type of plan. It is a traditional 401(k) plan covering only one employee.  Unlike a Traditional IRA, which only allows an individual to contribute $5500 annually or $6500 if the individual is over the age of 50, a Solo 401k Plan offers the Plan participant the ability to contribute up to $60,000 each year.  Before the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) became effective in 2002, there was no compelling reason for an owner-only business to establish a Solo 401(k) Plan because the business owner could generally receive the same benefits by adopting a profit sharing plan or a SEP IRA.  After 2002, EGTRRA paved the way for an owner only business to put more money aside for retirement and to operate a more cost-effective retirement plan than a Traditional IRA or 401(k) Plan.

There are a number of options that are specific to Solo 401(k) plans that make the Solo 401(k) plan a far more attractive retirement option for a self-employed individual than a Traditional IRA for a self-employed individual.

1. Maximize Your Retirement Nest Egg: A Solo 401(k) Plan includes both an employee and profit sharing contribution option, whereas, a Traditional IRA has a very low annual contribution limit.

Under the 2017 Solo 401(k) contribution rules, a plan participant under the age of 50 can make a maximum employee deferral contribution in the amount of $18,000. That amount can be made in pre-tax or after-tax (Roth). On the profit sharing side, the business can make a 25% (20% in the case of a sole proprietorship or single member LLC) profit sharing contribution up to a combined maximum, including the employee deferral, of $54,000.

For plan participants over the age of 50, an individual can make a maximum employee deferral contribution in the amount of $24,000. That amount can be made in pre-tax or after-tax (Roth). On the profit sharing side, the business can make a 25% (20% in the case of a sole proprietorship or single member LLC) profit sharing contribution up to a combined maximum, including the employee deferral, of $60,000.

Whereas, a Traditional IRA would only allow an individual with earned income during the year to contribute up to $5500, $6500 is the individual is over the age of 50.

2. Open Architecture Plan: IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) Plan is an open architecture, self-directed plan that will allow you to make traditional as well as nontraditional investments, such as real estate by simply writing a check.  As trustee of the Solo 401(k) Plan, you will have “checkbook control” over your retirement assets and make the investments you want when you want.

The Solo 401k plan is unique and so popular because it is designed explicitly for small, owner only business.  The many features of the Solo 401k plan discussed above is why the Solo 401k Plan or Individual 401k Plan it so appealing and popular among self employed business owners

3. Borrow-Up to $50,000 Tax-Free: With a Solo 401K Plan you can borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of your account value, whichever is less.  The loan can be used for any purpose.  With a Traditional IRA, the IRA holder is not permitted to borrow even $1 dollar from the IRA without triggering a prohibited transaction.

It's Time To Let 401(k) Holders Invest Like the Pros 4. Buy Real Estate with Leverage Tax-Free: With a Solo 401(k) Plan, you can make a real estate investment using nonrecourse funds without triggering the Unrelated Debt Financed Income Rules and the Unrelated Business Taxable Income (UBTI or UBIT) tax (IRC 514).  However, the nonrecourse leverage exception found in IRC 514 is only applicable to 401(k) qualified retirement plans and does not apply to IRAs. In other words, using an IRA to make a real estate investment (Self Directed Real Estate IRA) involving nonrecourse financing would trigger the UBTI tax.

5. No Need to Establish an LLC:  With a Solo 401(k) Plan, the plan itself can make real estate and other investments without the need for an LLC, which depending on the state of formation could prove costly. Since a 401(k) plan is a trust, the trustee on behalf of the trust can take title to a real estate asset without the need for an LLC.

6. Strong Creditor Protection:  In general, a Solo 401(k) Plan offers greater creditor protection than a Traditional IRA.  The 2005 Bankruptcy Act generally protects all 401(k) Plan assets from creditor attack in a bankruptcy proceeding.  In addition, most states offer greater creditor protection to a Solo 401(k) qualified retirement plan than a Traditional IRA outside of bankruptcy.

7. Easy Administration: With a Solo 401(k) Plan there is no annual tax filing or information returns for any plan that has less than $250,000 in plan assets.  In the case of a Solo 401(k) Plan with greater than $250,000, a simple 2 page IRS Form 5500-EZ is required to be filed.  The tax professionals at the IRA Financial Group will help you complete the IRS Form.

8. IRS Audit Protection:  The Solo 401(k) Plan is an IRS approved qualified retirement plan.  IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) Plan comes with an IRS opinion letter which confirms the validity of the plan and is a safeguard against any potential IRS audit.

9. Roth After-Tax Benefit: A Solo 401k plan can be made in pre-tax or Roth (after-tax) format.  Whereas, in the case of a Traditional IRA, contributions can only be made in pre-tax format.  In addition, a contribution of $18,000 ($24,000, if the plan participant is over the age of 50) can be made to a Solo 401(k) Roth account.

The Solo 40IK Solution

A Solo 401k Plan offers a self-employed business owner the ability to use his or her retirement funds to make almost any type of Solo 401k Planinvestment, including real estate, tax liens, private businesses, precious metals, and foreign currency on their own without requiring custodian consent tax-free! In addition, a Solo 401k Plan will allow you to make high contributions (up to $60,000) as well as borrow up to $50,000 for any purpose. Have an investment opportunity, such as real estate or a business investment that you would love to make with your 401k funds? Want the ability to make high tax-deductible or Roth contributions? Need to access up to $50,000 of your retirement funds for personal use? Then the Solo 401k Plan is your solution!

With IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401k Plan– you now can:

  • Make maximum contributions nearly 10 times higher than the IRA.
  • For 2017, contribute up to $54,000 per year or $60,000 if you are over age 50. If your spouse is involved in the business, they can contribute an additional $54,000 (or $60,000 if they are over the age of 50) per year.
  • Invest in real estate, private companies, precious metals, and virtually anything else.
  • Borrow up to $50,000 from your Solo 401k Plan for any purpose.
  • No need to hire a custodian.
  • Gain control of your retirement funds – serve as trustee of the Solo 401k Plan.
  • Make Roth contributions to your Solo 401k Plan.
  • Use non-recourse leverage to purchase real estate without penalty or tax with your Solo 401k Plan.
  • Maintain a qualified retirement plan and help save for the future.
  • Diversify your retirement portfolio with a Solo 401k Plan!
  • Access your retirement funds to make the investments you want when you want tax-free!
  • Help grow your retirement funds tax-free with a Solo 401k Plan!
  • Make investment quickly without delay with a Solo 401k!
  • Make Solo 401k Plan investment decisions without requiring custodian consent!
  • Work directly with our retirement tax professionals to establish an IRS compliant Solo 401K Plan structure that works best for you and your investment goals.

Our Solo 401k Plan Establishment Service Includes:

  • Solo 401k Adoption Agreement
  • Solo 401k Basic Plan Document
  • EGTRRA Amendment
  • Solo 401k Summary Plan Description
  • Trust Agreement
  • Appointment of Trustee
  • Action by Board of Directors
  • Beneficiary Designation
  • Solo 401k Loan Procedure
  • Solo 401k Loan Documentation
  • Election Not To Participate
  • Transfer Request Forms for incoming funds transfers
  • Newly assigned Employer Identification Number from the IRS
  • IRS Determination letter stating that this is a Prototype Plan that meets the requirements of a qualified plan
  • Free tax and ERISA support on the Solo 401k Plan structure
  • Direct access to our on-site retirement tax professionals
  • Satisfaction Guaranteed!

We have developed a process that ensures speed and compliance, by using standardized procedures that work via phone, e-mail, fax, and mail. Your funds will be ready for investment into your new Solo 401k Plan within 24 hours.

Why Work With the IRA Financial Group?

The IRA Financial Group was founded by a group of top law firm tax and ERISA lawyers who have worked at some of the largest law firms in the United States, such as White & Case LLP, Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, and Thelen LLP. Over the years, we have helped thousands of clients establish self-directed Solo 401(k) Plans. With our work experience at some of the largest law firms in the country, our retirement tax professionals’ tax and ERISA knowledge in this area is unmatched.

To learn more about the advantages of using a Solo 401(k) Plan, please contact one of our Solo 401(k) Plan experts at 800-472-0646 for more information.

You can use Solo 401(k) Plan funds to invest in a friend's business.

The Solo 401k Plan offers a self-employed business owner the ability to use his or her retirement funds to make almost any type of investment, including real estate, tax liens, private businesses, precious metals, and foreign currency, on their own without requiring custodian consent and tax-free! For more information on the Solo 401k Plan, check out the books by IRA Financial Group’s Adam Bergman entitled “Going Solo – America’s Best-Kept Retirement Secret For The Self-Employed” and “Solo 401(k) In A Nutshell” available on Amazon.

IRA Financial Group Facebook pageIRA Financial Group Twitter pageamazon-logoIRA Financial Group Tumblr pageIRA Financial Group Pinterest page

Oct 30

New Podcast – The Trump Tax Plan and 401(k) Plan Retirement Accounts

In his latest podcast, IRA Financial Group’s Adam Bergman discusses the proposed tax plan from President Trump and the potential impact on 401(k) Plan retirement accounts and why the government thinks it needs to lower 401(k) Plan contribution limits.

Podcast 80

Click Here to Listen

 

IRA Financial Group Facebook pageIRA Financial Group Twitter pageamazon-logoIRA Financial Group Tumblr pageIRA Financial Group Pinterest page

Oct 23

IRS Announces 2018 Solo 401(k) Contribution Limits

Under the 2018 Solo 401(k) contribution rules, a plan participant under the age of 50 can make a maximum annual employee deferral contribution in the amount of $18,500. That amount can be made in pre-tax, after-tax or Roth. On the profit sharing side, the business can make a 25% (20% in the case of a sole proprietorship or single member LLC) annual profit sharing contribution up to a combined maximum, including the employee deferral, of $55,000, an increase of $1,000 from 2017.

IRS Announces 2018 Solo 401(k) Contribution LimitsFor plan participants over the age of 50, an individual can make a maximum annual employee deferral contribution in the amount of $24,500. That amount can be made in pre-tax, after tax, or Roth. On the profit sharing side, the business can make a 25% (20% in the case of a sole proprietorship or single member LLC) annual profit sharing contribution up to a combined maximum, including the employee deferral, of $61,000, an increase of $1,000 from 2017.

One of the main benefits of a Solo 401(k) Plan is the opportunity to make higher annual contributions in pre-tax, after-tax or Roth.

IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) plan is unique and so popular because it is designed explicitly for small, owner-only business. In addition, to the high annual contribution limitations. There are many features of the IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) plan that make it so appealing for small business owners.

Tax and Penalty Free Loan

Unlike most Solo 401(k) Plans offered by the traditional financial institutions such as Fidelity, IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) Plan allows plan participants to borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of their account value (whichever is less) for any purpose, including paying credit card bills, mortgage payments, or anything else. The loan has to be paid back over a five-year period at least quarterly at a minimum prime interest rate (you have the option of selecting a higher interest rate).

Checkbook Control & No Transaction Fees

The most attractive feature of the IRA Financial Group Solo 401(k) Plan is that it offers the plan participant checkbook control over his or her retirement funds. In the case of a conventional Solo 401(k) Plan offered by most financial institutions, the plan participant is relegated to making traditional investments, such as stocks and or mutual funds. In addition, the Solo 401(k) Plan account is required to be opened at the financial institution. With IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) Plan, the plan account can be opened at any local bank, including Chase, Wells Fargo, and even Fidelity. In addition, with IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) Plan, the plan participant can make almost any traditional as well as non-traditional investments, such as real estate, precious metals, tax liens, and much more. With IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) Plan, the Plan participant has the freedom to make the investments he or she wants while at the same time opening the 401(k) account at any local bank. As trustee of the Solo 401(k) Plan, the Plan Participant (you) can serve as the trustee providing you checkbook control over your retirement funds. With IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) Plan, making a Solo 401(k) Plan investment is as simple as writing a check.

Invest in Real Estate & Much More Tax-Free

With IRA Financial Group’s Self-Directed Solo 401(k) plan, you will be able to invest in almost any type of investment opportunity that you discover, including: real estate, tax liens, precious metals, private notes, hard money loans, private business, etc.; your only limit is your imagination. The income and gains from these investments will flow back into your Solo 401(k) tax-free.

Roth Contributions & Conversion

Unlike a conventional Solo 401(k) Plan offered by most financial institutions, IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) Plan contains a built in Roth sub-account which can be contributed to without any income restrictions. In addition, the IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) Plan allows for the conversion of a traditional 401(k) or 403(b) account to a Roth subaccount. However, the Solo 401(k) Plan participant must pay income tax on the amount converted.

Easy Administration

IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) Plan is easy to operate. There is generally no annual filing requirement unless your solo 401(k) Plan exceeds $250,000 in assets, in which case you will need to file a short information return with the IRS (Form 5500-EZ). However, unlike a financial institution, the tax professionals at the IRA Financial Group will assist you in completing this form, if it is required.

To learn more about the advantages of the Solo 401K Plan with Checkbook Control please contact a 401(k) Expert at 800-472-0646.

IRA Financial Group Facebook pageIRA Financial Group Twitter pageamazon-logoIRA Financial Group Tumblr pageIRA Financial Group Pinterest page

Oct 18

Choosing a Solo 401(k) Over a SEP IRA

A Solo 401(k) Plan is an IRS approved retirement plan, which is suited for business owners who do not have any employees, other than themselves and perhaps their spouse. The “one-participant 401(k) Plan” or Individual 401(k) Plan is not a new type of plan. It is a traditional 401(k) Plan covering only one employee.  Like a SEP IRA, a Solo 401(k) Plan offers the plan participant the ability to contribute up to $60,000 each year.  Before the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) became effective in 2002, there was no compelling reason for an owner-only business to establish a Solo 401(k) Plan because the business owner could generally receive the same benefits by adopting a profit sharing plan or a SEP IRA.  After 2002, EGTRRA paved the way for an owner-only business to put more money aside for retirement and to operate a more cost-effective retirement plan than a SEP IRA or 401(k) Plan.

There are a number of options that are specific to Solo 401(k) Plans that make the Solo 401(k) Plan a far more attractive retirement option for a self-employed individual than a SEP IRA.

1. Reach your Maximum Contribution Amount Quicker: A Solo 401(k) Plan includes both an employee and profit sharing contribution option, whereas, a SEP IRA is purely a profit sharing plan.

Under the 2017 Solo 401(k) contribution rules, a plan participant under the age of 50 can make a maximum employee deferral contribution in the amount of $18,000. That amount can be made in pre-tax or after-tax (Roth). On the profit sharing side, the business can make a 25% (20% in the case of a sole proprietorship or single member LLC) profit sharing contribution up to a combined maximum, including the employee deferral, of $54,000.

For plan participants over the age of 50, an individual can make a maximum employee deferral contribution in the amount of $24,000. That amount can be made in pre-tax or after-tax (Roth). On the profit sharing side, the business can make a 25% (20% in the case of a sole proprietorship or single member LLC) profit sharing contribution up to a combined maximum, including the employee deferral, of $60,000.

Whereas, a SEP IRA would only allows for a profit sharing contribution.  Hence, a participant in a SEP IRA would be limited to 25% (20% in the case of a sole proprietorship or single member LLC) profit sharing contribution up to a combined maximum of $54,000 for 2017. No employee deferral exists for a SEP IRA.

For example, Joe, who is 60 years old, owns 100% of an S Corporation with no full time employees.  Joe earned $100,000 in self-employment W-2 wages for 2017.  If Joe had a Solo 401(k) Plan established for 2017, Joe would be able to defer approximately $49,000 for 2017 (a $24,000 employee deferral, which could be pre-tax or Roth, and 25% of his compensation giving him $49,000 for the year).   Whereas, if Joe established a SEP IRA, Joe would only be able to defer approximately $25,000 (25% if his compensation) for 2017.

2. No catch-up Contributions: With a Solo 401(k) Plan you can make a contribution of up to $54,000 to the plan each tax year ($60,000 if the participant is over the age of 50).  However, with a SEP IRA, the maximum amount that can be deferred is $54,000 since a SEP IRA does not offer any catch-up contributions.

3. No Roth Feature: A Solo 401(k) plan can be made in pre-tax or Roth (after-tax) format.  Whereas, in the case of a SEP IRA, contributions can only be made in pre-tax format.  In addition, a contribution of $18,000 ($24,00, if the plan participant is over the age of 50) can be made to a Solo 401(k) Roth account.

4. Tax-Free Loan Option: With a Solo 401(k) Plan you can borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of your account value, whichever is less.  The loan can be used for any purpose.  With a SEP IRA, the IRA holder is not permitted to borrow even $1 dollar from the IRA without triggering a prohibited transaction.

5. Use Nonrecourse Leverage and Pay No Tax: With a Solo 401(k) Plan, you can make a real estate investment using nonrecourse funds without triggering the Unrelated Debt Financed Income Rules and the Unrelated Business Taxable Income (UBTI or UBIT) tax (IRC 514).  However, the nonrecourse leverage exception found in IRC 514 is only applicable to 401(k) qualified retirement plans and does not apply to IRAs. In other words, using a Self-Directed SEP IRA to make a real estate investment (Self-Directed Real Estate IRA) involving nonrecourse financing would trigger the UBTI tax.

6. Open the Account at Any Local Bank: With a Solo 401(k) Plan, the 401(k) bank account can be opened at any local bank or trust company.  However, in the case of a SEP or a Self-Directed IRA, a special IRA custodian is required to hold the IRA funds.

7. No Need for the Cost of an LLC: With a Solo 401(k) Plan, the plan itself can make real estate and other investments without the need for an LLC, which, depending on the state of formation, could prove costly. Since a 401(k) plan is a trust, the trustee on behalf of the trust can take title to a real estate asset without the need for an LLC.

8. Better Creditor Protection: In general, a Solo 401(k) Plan offers greater creditor protection than a SEP IRA.  The 2005 Bankruptcy Act generally protects all 401(k) Plan assets from creditor attack in a bankruptcy proceeding.  In addition, most states offer greater creditor protection to a Solo 401(k) qualified retirement plan than a SEP IRA outside of bankruptcy.

The Solo 401k plan is unique and so popular because it is designed explicitly for small, owner-only businesses.  The many features of the Solo 401(k) plan discussed above are why the Solo 401(k) Plan or Individual 401(k) Plan is so appealing and popular among self-employed business owners.

To learn more about the benefits of a Solo 401(k) Plan vs. a SEP IRA, please contact a tax professional at 800-472-0646.

IRA Financial Group Facebook pageIRA Financial Group Twitter pageamazon-logoIRA Financial Group Tumblr pageIRA Financial Group Pinterest page

Oct 13

Some Disadvantages of Using ROBS to Start Your Business

When it comes to using retirement funds to buy or finance a business that you or another “disqualified person” will be involved in personally, there is only one legal way to do it and that is through the Business Acquisition Solution, also known as a Rollover Business Start-Up solution (ROBS). The ROBS solution takes advantage of an exception in the tax code under Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) Section 4975(d) that allows one to use 401(k) plan funds to buy stock in a “C” Corporation, which is known as “qualifying employer securities”. The exception to the IRS prohibited transaction rules found in IRC 4975(d) requires that a 401(k) plan buy “qualifying employer securities”, which is defined as stock of a “C” Corporation. This is the reason why one cannot use a self-directed IRA LLC to invest in a business the IRA holder or a disqualified person will be personally involved in or why a 401(k) plan cannot invest in an LLC in which the plan participant or disqualified person will be involved in without triggering the prohibited transaction rules. Hence, in order to use retirement funds to invest in a business in which a disqualified person will be personally involve one needs a “C” Corporation to operate a business and adopt a 401(k) Plan

So How Does the ROBS Solution Work?

The structure typically involves the following sequential steps:

1.An entrepreneur or existing business owner establishes a new C Corporation;

2.The C Corporation adopts a prototype 401(k) plan that specifically permits plan participants to direct the investment of their plan accounts into a selection of investment options, including employer stock, also known as “qualifying employer securities.”

3.The entrepreneur elects to participate in the new 401(k) plan and, as permitted by the plan, directs a rollover or trustee-to-trustee transfer of retirement funds from another qualified retirement plan into the newly adopted 401(k) plan;

4.The entrepreneur then directs the investment of his or her 401(k) plan account to purchase the C Corporation’s newly issued stock at fair market value ( i.e., the amount that the entrepreneur wishes to invest in the new business); and finally

5.The C Corporation utilizes the proceeds from the sale of stock to purchase an existing business or to begin a new venture.

Four Disadvantages of Establishing a ROBS

1. The “C” Corporation Requirement: Although there are advantages to establishing a “C” corporation, such as owner’s liability protection from the actions of the company, there are several disadvantages as well.

2. Double Taxation: Corporations, unlike other companies that are considered sole proprietorships and partnerships, file their own taxes separately from their owners at their own tax rates. After the company’s profits are taxed at the corporate level, they are then distributed to the shareholders who have to report the amount received on their individual tax returns. The corporate tax rate is generally 15% for corporate profits under $50,000 and 35% for profits above $50,000. This isn’t the case for Sub-chapter S corporations or LLC, where the profits bypass being taxed at the corporate level and are distributed and taxed at the shareholder’s level. That is called pass-through taxation. For example, if we assume a 20% income tax rate for both corporation and individuals and a “C” Corporation earned $100 of profits, the “C” Corporation would be required to pay tax of $20 (20% of $100) and then the shareholder would be required to pay tax of $16 (20% of $80) on any dividend issued by the “C” Corporation to the shareholder. Whereas, in the case of an LLC or “S” Corporation, there is no entity level tax so the $100 would flow directly to the shareholder or LLC member and a tax of only $20% would be imposed at the shareholder level. Comparing this with the “C” Corporation example, by using a passthrough entity such as an “S” Corporation or LLC, the individual would save $16 in our example (total tax of $36 with a “C” Corporation versus $20 in the case of an LLC or “S” Corporation.

Some Disadvantages of Using ROBS to Start Your BusinessIt is important to note that it can be argued that the disadvantage of double taxation bite does not impact retirement accounts (i.e. 401(k) plans) as much as individuals, since the dividend from the “C” Corporation to the 401(k) plan shareholder would be exempt from tax since a 401(k) plan is a tax-exempt retirement account. However, the double taxation is not eliminated but simply deferred until the 401(k) plan participant elects to take a 401(k) plan distribution, which would generally be subject to a second tax (the first tax would be applied at the “C” Corporation level). In contrast, if a 401(k) plan invested in an LLC, a passthrough entity for taxation, the income or gains from the LLC would generally flow back to the 401(k) plan without tax and the 401(k) plan participant would only be required to pay one tax when a distribution is taken.

Unfortunately, the IRS rules require a “C” Corporation be used when a retirement account holder wishes to use retirement funds to invest in a business they or another disqualified person will be involved in. The issue of double taxation is certainly one disadvantage of the ROBS solution, but it is generally perceived as better than paying tax and potentially a 10% early distribution penalty on a distribution from your retirement account.

Regulations and Formalities

Sub-chapter C corporations generally involve more corporate formalities than LLCs, for example. In general, “C” Corporations have to report annually to the states in which they’re incorporated, and the states in which they do a lot of business, on an annual basis. Also, “C” Corporations must observe certain formalities to be considered corporations. This includes holding regular board and shareholder meetings and issuing stock. Also, the names of corporate officers are made public, which is not required by businesses formed under different organizational structures.

401(k) Plan Administration

Even though 401(k) plan administration costs have come down significantly over the years, there is still a cost of offering a 401(k) plan to employees. In addition to having to make a 3% safe harbor contribution, which will be discussed below, 401(k) plans cost money to administer because there are many compliance issues that have to be monitored, there are many ongoing service and administration functions that have to be provided, and there are a host of education and communication services that are required to be offered to plan participants. It is not uncommon for a small business 401(k) Plan to cost anywhere from $750-$1500 annually for a third-party administration company to administer as well as file the annual IRS Form 5500 .

3. Matching Contributions: A safe harbor 401(k) Plan, which is a popular type of 401(k) plan for small businesses, offer employees who participate in the plan a 3% matching contribution made by the employer. Thus, for example, if the employee earns $40,000 in salary during the year and contributes 3% of the salary or $1200 to the 401(k) plan, the employer would contribute an additional $1200 (3% of the salary) to the individual 401(k) plan account. Taking this a step further, if the business has 5 employees and each employee makes $40,000 a year, the employer now has to make $6000 in employer matching contributions. Although the contributions are tax deductible to the employer, it is still additional funds that are being removed from the company and could impact the cash flow of a new small business.

4. Potential IRS Audit: Dating back to the 2005 or so, the IRS started focusing some attention on the ROBS solutions and some of the abuses they perceived were occurring.

To this end, on October 31, 2008, Michael Julianelle, Director, Employee Plans, signed a “Memorandum” approving IRS ROBS Examination Guidelines. The IRS stated that while this type of structure is legal and not considered an abusive tax avoidance transaction, the execution of these types of transactions, in many cases, have not been found to be in full compliance with IRS and ERISA rules and procedures. In the “Memorandum”, the IRS highlighted two compliance areas that they felt were not being adequately followed by the promoters implementing the structure during this time period. The first non-compliance area of concern the IRS highlighted in the “Memorandum” was the lack of disclosure of the adopted 401(k) Plan to the company’s employees and the second non-compliance area was establishing an independent appraisal to determine the fair market value of the business being purchased. In sum, the IRS was concerned that people were using their retirement funds to buy a business and either the business was not being purchased and the individual then used the funds for personal purposes, thus avoiding tax and potential penalties, or the business that was purchased closed, and the retirement account liquidated, thus, leaving the IRS without the potential to tax the retirement account in the future.

The IRS did not publicly comment on the ROBS solution again until August 27, 2010, almost two years after publishing the “Memorandum”, the IRS held a public phone forum open to the public which covered transactions involving using retirement funds to purchase a business. Monika Templeman, Director of Employee Plans Examinations and Colleen Patton, Area Manager of Employee Plans Examinations for the Pacific Coast spent considerable time discussing the IRS’s position on this subject. Monika Templeman began the presentation reaffirming the IRS’s position that a transaction involving the use of retirement funds to purchase a new business is legal and not an abusive tax-avoidance transaction as long as the transaction complies with IRS and ERISA rules and procedures. The concern the IRS has had with these types of transactions is that the promoters who have been offering these transactions have not had the expertise to develop structures that are fully compliant with IRS and ERISA rules and regulations. The IRS added that a large percentage of the transactions they reviewed were in non-compliance largely due to the following non-compliance issues: (i) failure by the promoters to develop a structure that requires the new company to disclose the new 401(k) Plan to the company’s employees and, (ii) the failure to require the client to secure an independent appraisal to determine the fair market value of the company stock being purchased by the 401(k) Plan. The IRS concluded by stating that a transaction using retirement funds to acquire a business is legal and not prohibited so long as the transaction is structured correctly to comply with IRS and ERISA rules and procedures.

So does the ROBS solution trigger an audit? No one knows what factors trigger an IRS audit, but although legal, the ROBS solution is something the IRS and Department of Labor is looking at. Again, if your structure is set-up properly and the funds are used to buy a business, the 401k plan is being offered to all eligible employees, a valuation of the stock purchased is performed, and the plan is compliant with all annual testing and IRS filing requirement, there is nothing to be concerned with if your plan was audited by the IRS or DOL.

To learn more about the benefits of the ROBS strategy, please contact a retirement tax expert at 800-472-0646.

IRA Financial Group Facebook pageIRA Financial Group Twitter pageamazon-logoIRA Financial Group Tumblr pageIRA Financial Group Pinterest page

Oct 10

Self-Directing Your Solo 401(k) is Easy!

A Solo 401K Plan, also called a Self-Directed 401K, offers a self employed business owner the ability to use their retirement funds to make almost any type of investment tax-free, including real estate, on their own without requiring custodian consent. Additionally, a Self-Directed 401K Plan will allow you to make high contributions to the Plan (up to $54,000 for plan participants under the age of 50 and $60,000 for plan participants over the age of 50) as well as borrow up to $50,000 for any purpose.

Advantages of Using a Self-Directed 401K

The Self-Directed Solo 401K Plan is such a popular retirement solution for small business owners because the IRS designed it specifically for them. Unlike other 401(k) Plans, which restrict plan investments to just stocks and mutual funds, IRA Financial Group’s Self-Directed 401K Plan is designed specifically to allow plan participants to diversify their retirement portfolio by making traditional as well as non-traditional investments such as real estate and precious metals. The Individual 401K Plan can be adopted by a sole proprietorship, LLC, Partnership, or Corporation.

There are a number of features that make the Self-Directed 401K Plan so appealing and popular among self -employed business owners.

High Contribution Limits: Under the 2017 Solo 401(k) contribution rules, a plan participant under the age of 50 can make a maximum employee deferral contribution in the amount of $18,000. That amount can be made in pre-tax or after-tax (Roth). On the profit sharing side, the business can make a 25% (20% in the case of a sole proprietorship or single member LLC) profit sharing contribution up to a combined maximum, including the employee deferral, of $54,000.

For plan participants over the age of 50, an individual can make a maximum employee deferral contribution in the amount of $24,000. That amount can be made in pre-tax or after-tax (Roth). On the profit sharing side, the business can make a 25% (20% in the case of a sole proprietorship or single member LLC) profit sharing contribution up to a combined maximum, including the employee deferral, of $60,000.

Calculate Your Solo 401k Plan Maximum Contribution Limit Please click here to calculate your Solo 401(k) Plan Maximum Contribution Limit.

Tax-Free Loan:   With a Self-Directed 401K Plan, a plan participant is eligible to borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of their account value (whichever is less) for any purpose, including paying personal expenses such as credit card bills, mortgage payments, personal or business investments, a car, vacation, or anything else. The loan has to be paid back over a five-year period at least quarterly at a minimum prime interest rate (you have the option of selecting a higher interest rate). There is no pre-payment penalty.

Checkbook Control”: One of the most popular aspects of the Self-Directed 401K Plan is that it does not require the participant to hire a bank or trust company to serve as trustee. Unlike, an IRA which requires a financial institution to serve as trustee and custodian of the IRA, in the case of a Self-Directed 401K Plan, the plan account can be opened at any local bank or credit union and the plan participant can serve as trustee of the Self-Directed 401K. This flexibility allows the plan participant (you) to gain “checkbook control” over your retirement funds. In essence, all assets of the Self-Directed 401K Plan will be under the sole authority of the 401k participant.  A Self-Directed 401K plan allows you to eliminate the expense and delays associated with an IRA custodian, enabling you to act quickly when the right investment opportunity presents itself. With a Self-Directed 401K Plan, making a 401K Plan investment is as simple as writing a check.

A World of Investment Opportunity: With a Self-Directed 401K, you will be able to invest in almost any type of investment opportunity that you discover, including: Real Estate (rentals, foreclosures, raw land, tax liens etc.), Private Businesses, Precious Metals, Hard Money & Peer to Peer Lending as well as stock and mutual funds; you’re only limit is your imagination. The income and gains from these investments will flow back into your Self-Directed 401K Plan tax-free!

Self-Directed 401KUse Leverage Tax-Free:   When an IRA buys real estate that is leveraged with nonrecourse mortgage financing, it creates Unrelated Debt Financed Income (a type of Unrelated Business Taxable Income) on which taxes must be paid pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 514. A Self-Directed 401K plan is generally exempt from UDFI. What this means is that unlike an IRA, Internal Revenue Code Section 514(c)(9), allows a Self-Directed 401K plan to use nonrecourse leverage to make a real estate acquisition without tax or penalty.

Roth Contributions: The Self-Directed 401K Plan contains a built in Roth sub-account which can be contributed to without any income restrictions. A Self-Directed 401K Plan will allow you to make pre-tax and/or after-tax (Roth) employee deferral contributions to your Plan.

Easy Administration:  The Self-Directed 401K Plan is easy to operate and effortless to administer. There is generally no annual filing requirement unless the assets in your Self-Directed 401K Plan exceeds $250,000, in which case you will need to file a short information return with the IRS (Form 5500-EZ).

Roth Conversion: The Self-Directed 401K Plans allows for the conversion of pre-tax 401K funds to an after-tax Roth sub-account. However, the 401K Plan participant must pay income tax on the amount converted.

Offset the Cost of Your Plan with a Tax Deduction: By paying for your Solo 401(k) with business funds, you would be eligible to claim a deduction for the cost of the plan, including annual maintenance fees. The deduction for the cost associated with the Solo 401(k) Plan and ongoing maintenance will help reduce your business’s income tax liability, which will in-turn offset the cost of adopting a self-directed Solo 401(k) Plan. The retirement tax professionals at the IRA Financial Group will help you take advantage of the available business tax deduction for adopting a Solo 401(k) Plan.

Asset & Creditor Protection: In the case of a bankruptcy, the general exemption found in section 522 of the Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. §522, provides an unlimited exemption for retirement assets exempt from taxation for Section 401(a) (tax qualified retirement plans—pensions, profit-sharing and section 401(k) plans). Thus, ERISA qualified plans as well as Self-Directed 401K plans are afforded full bankruptcy exemption. Outside of bankruptcy, state law will govern whether Self-Directed Solo 401K Plan assets are protected from creditors. Most states will provide protection for Self-Directed Solo 401K Plan assets from creditors outside of the bankruptcy context.

IRA Financial Group will take care of setting up your entire Self-Directed 401K Plan. The whole process can be handled by phone, email, fax, or mail and typically takes between 2-10 days to complete, the timing largely depending on the time it takes your current retirement asset custodian to move the funds to the new Self-Directed 401K Plan account. Our tax and ERISA professionals are on-site greatly reducing the set-up time and cost. Most importantly, each client of the IRA Financial Group is assigned a retirement tax professional to help with the establishment of the Self-Directed 401K Plan.

For additional information on the Self-Directed 401(k) Plan, please contact us at 800-472-0646.

IRA Financial Group Facebook pageIRA Financial Group Twitter pageamazon-logoIRA Financial Group Tumblr pageIRA Financial Group Pinterest page