Nov 30

Are All Individual 401(k) Plans the Same?

When it comes to determining what type of 401(k) qualified retirement plan is best for a self-employed individual or small business owner with no employees, it is important to look at all the options the plan provides to make sure it will satisfy your retirement planning, tax, and investment goals.  Most financial institutions offer Solo 401(k) Plans, often called Individual 401(k) Plans. However, if you do not want to be forced to invest all your hard earn retirement savings in the stock market, then these type of financial institution Solo 401(k) Plans are not very attractive. In addition, most financial institution Solo 401(k) Plans will not offer a loan feature or allow you to make Roth Type contributions.

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

High Contributions: Like all Solo 401K Plans, for 2017, IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) Plan will allow a plan participant to make annual contributions up to $54,000 annually with an additional $6,000 catch-up contribution for those over age 50. The high contribution feature is one of the reasons a Solo 401K Plan is the most popular retirement vehicle for the self-employed.

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

Tax and Penalty free loan: Unlike most Solo 401K Plans offered by the traditional financial institutions such as Fidelity, IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401K 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).

Are All Individual 401(k) Plans the Same? Checkbook Control: The most attractive feature of the IRA Financial Group Solo 401k Plan is that it offers the plan participant checkbook control over his or her retirement funds. In the case of a conventional Solo 401K 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 401KPlan account is required to be opened at the financial institution. With IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401K 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 401K 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 401K Plan, the Plan participant has the freedom to make the investments he or she wants while at the same time opening the 401K account at any local bank. As trustee of the Solo 401K Plan, the Plan Participant (you) can serve as the trustee providing you checkbook control over your retirement funds. With IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401K Plan, making a Solo 401K Plan investment is as simple as writing a check.

Roth Contributions & Conversion: Unlike a conventional Solo 401K Plan offered by most financial institutions, IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401K 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 401K Plan allows for the conversion of a traditional 401(k) or 403(b) account to a Roth subaccount. However, the Solo 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.

Easy Administration: Like all Solo 401K Plans, IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401K 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). However, unlike a financial institution, the tax professionals at the IRA Financial Group will assist you in completing this form is required.

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

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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.

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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.

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Sep 09

401(k) Loans Are Viable Last Resort For Hurricane Victims

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com

Hurricane Harvey has set a record for rainfall in the continental United States. It is estimated that some 100,000 homes have been affected by Harvey all with differing degrees of insurance coverage.  In addition, at least 37 people have died from the storm.

Over the coming weeks we will be hearing news about payout projections by insurers, but chances are those dollars will flow to the commercial sector, not homeowners. If the 2012 Hurricane Sandy is a predictor, households are facing a severely diminished quality of life, financial frustration, a long process for applying for grants and aid, and way too little insurance funding in relation to the premiums they’ve been paying. Many insurance experts estimate that only a relatively small percentage of the Harvey-impacted homes and businesses will have adequate flood insurance. For those without it, there is a short list of possible bases for coverage under a home policy.  However, for Harvey storm victims who are participating in an employer 401(k) plan or who are self-employed, an unorthodox financing option exists that can help storm victims borrow up to $50,000 tax-free and penalty free from their 401(k) plan.

Internal Revenue Code Section 72(p) allows a Solo 401(k) plan participant to take a loan from his or her 401(k) plan so as long as it is permitted pursuant to the business’s 401(k) plan documents. The loan proceeds can be used for any purpose.  In order to be eligible to take a loan from a 401(k) plan, the solo 401(k) plan documents must specifically provide for a loan program

In general, to avoid having a 401(k) plan loan treated as a taxable distribution to the recipient, the following conditions must be satisfied (IRC Sec. 72(p)(2)).

  • The loan must have level amortization, with payments made at least quarterly.
  • The recipient generally must repay the loan within five years, although a fifteen year period can be used for the purchase of a primary residence.
  • The loan must not exceed statutory limits.

401(k) Loans Are Viable Last Resort For Hurricane VictimsGenerally, the maximum amount that an employee may borrow at any time is one-half the present value of his vested account balance, not to exceed $50,000. The maximum amount, however, is calculated differently if an individual has more than one outstanding loan from the plan.  A 401k loan is permitted at any time using the accumulated balance of the solo 401k as collateral for the loan. In other words, a Solo 401(k) participant can borrow up to either $50,000 or 50% of their account value, whichever is less. This loan has to be repaid over an amortization schedule of five years or less with payment frequency no less than quarterly.  The lowest interest rate that can be used is prime as per the Wall Street Journal, which as of September 1, 2017 is currently 4.25%. However, if a loan fails to satisfy the statutory requirements regarding the loan amount, the loan term, and the repayment schedule, the loan is in default and is considered a deemed distribution. In addition, another potential disadvantage of taking a 401(k) plan loan is that the borrowed funds are removed from investment in the market, forfeiting potential tax-exempt gains.

For Harvey storm victims participating in an employer 401(k) plan, taking a 401(k) loan can be done generally by contacting the 401(k) plan administrator.  Whereas, for individuals who are self-employed or have a business with no full-time employees, other than a spouse or partner(s), a Solo 401(k) plan with a loan option can be adopted quite easily, which will allow such individuals to borrow up to $50,000 and use the proceeds for any purpose, including paying for home repairs, purchasing a car, paying living expenses, paying credit card debt, or other expenses.

In the case of Harvey storm victims, the primary advantage of using a 401(k) loan feature is that the individual will gain the ability to use up to $50,000 of retirement funds without tax or penalty.  In addition, the loan payments of principal and interest are paid back by the individual to his/her plan account, thus, increasing the overall value of the 401(k) plan assets over the loan period. Drawbacks of taking a retirement plan loan include the loss of compounding for assets in the plan, as well as the fact that loans are repaid with after-tax dollars, resulting in a loss of tax-free or tax-deferred advantages of such an account.

For more information about using a loan from your 401(k) plan, please contact us @ 800.472.0646.

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Aug 28

Individual 401(k) Loan Rules

Under an Individual 401(k) Plan, also known as a Solo 401(k) plan, a plan participant may be eligible to obtain a loan from the vested balance of the Individual 401(k) plan balance without triggering a distribution subject to tax or penalty. With IRA Financial Group’s Individual 401(k) plan, the IRA or 401(k) plan funds rolled into the new Individual 401(k) plan, as well as any employee deferrals would be vested immediately. In general, diverting plan assets for personal use before a valid distribution usually triggers a prohibited transaction, however, the plan loan feature represents the only limited exception to the prohibited transaction rules (Internal Revenue Code Section 4975(d)(1) and ERISA Section 408).

Individual 401(k) Plan Loan Requirements

In order to be eligible to take a loan from a Individual 401(k) plan, the Individual 401(k) plan documents must specifically provide for a loan program. The requirements for plan loans are quite technical and out are outlined in Department of Labor (DOL) Regulation 2550.408b-1. IRA Financial Group offers a Individual 401(k) qualified retirement plan loan kit that confirms to the DOL loan regulations and include documents necessary to administer a Individual 401(k) loan program.

To be exempt from the prohibited transaction rules, a Individual 401(k) loan must:

  • be available to all participants of the Individual 401(k) plan on a reasonably equivalent basis;
  • be made in accordance with specific provisions of the loan program contained in the Individual 401(k) plan
  • bear a reasonable interest rate, which based on the loan kit, is considered to be at least the “Prime” rate of interest, which as per the Wall Street Journal is 4.25% as of 6/23/17, and
  • be adequately secured (DOL Reg. 2550.408b-1(a)(1)

The DOL loan regulations require that the 401(k) plan contain specific provisions regarding loans and the following information must generally be made available to participants in written form:

  • The identify of the person or positions authorized to administer the 401(k) loan program;
  • the procedures to be used in applying for loans;
  • the basis upon which loans will be approved or denied;
  • the procedures used to determine a reasonable interest rate for plan loans;
  • the events that will constitute

IRS Plan Loan Requirements

To avoid having a plan loan treated as a taxable distribution to the recipient, the following conditions must be satisfied (IRC Sec. 72(p)(2)).

  • The loan must have level amortization, with payments made at least quarterly.
  • The recipient generally must repay the loan within five years.
  • The loan must not exceed statutory limits.

Repayment Terms

Under IRC Sec. 72(p)(2)(C), the loan amortization schedule must provide for substantially equal payments to be made at least quarterly. Treas. Reg. 1.72(p)-1, Q&A 10, provides for a cure period that allows a loan participant to avoid an immediate deemed distribution following a missed payment. The cure period may not extend beyond the last day of the calendar quarter in which the required payment was due.

Recipients generally must repay loans in full within five years from the date of loan origination (IRC Sec. 72(p)(2)(B)). An exception to the five-year payback rule exists for loans used to purchase a principal residence of the participant. If a participant wants a repayment period longer than five years, employers should obtain a sworn statement from the participant certifying that the loan is to be used to purchase the participant’s principal place of residence (for plan loan purposes, “principal residence” has the same meaning as the term under IRC Sec. 121).

Maximum Loan Amount

Individual 401(k) Loan RulesGenerally, the maximum amount that an employee may borrow at any time is one-half the present value of his vested account balance, not to exceed $50,000. The maximum amount, however, is calculated differently if an individual has more than one outstanding loan from the plan. If the principal loan amount exceeds this standard, the loan amount that exceeds the limit will be deemed a distribution and thus taxable to the participant. In addition, if a loan is treated as a taxable distribution, it is subject to a 10 percent early distribution penalty tax if the employee is under age 59 ½ (IRC Sec. 72(t)). If a plan loan fails to satisfy the loan regulations and is considered a deemed distribution, the employer must use code L to report the distribution on Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc.

EXAMPLE: Bob wants to take a loan from his Individual 401(k) plan, which allows for loans of 50% of a participant’s vested account balance up to $50,000. Because Bob has a vested balance of $40,000, the maximum amount that he can borrow from the account is $20,000.

50% x $40,000 = $20,000

If Bob has a vested balance greater than $100,000, he could only borrow $50,000.

NOTE: Plan permitting, a loan, not to exceed $10,000, that exceeds 50 percent of a participant’s vested balance can be made if the amount exceed the 50 percent is secured with additional collateral (IRC Sec. 72(p)(2)(A)(ii)). (Most plans do not provide this option because of the complexity associated with obtaining the additional collateral.)

Loan Limits For More Than One Outstanding Loan

A Individual 401(k) plan permitting participants to use the loan feature may have more than one outstanding loan from the plan at a time. IRC Sec. 72(p)(2) provides a specific method to determine the maximum loan amount for participants who have outstanding loans. As described earlier, any new loan, when added to the participant’s outstanding loan balance from the plan, cannot exceed a) the lesser of 50 percent of the participant’s vested account balance, or b) the $50,000 maximum limit reduced by the difference between:

  • The participant’s highest outstanding loan balance from the plan at any time during the one year period ending on the day before the new loan is made, and
  • The participant’s outstanding loan balance on the date the new loan is made.

EXAMPLE: The loan program under ABC Inc’s Individual 401(k) Plan provides for maximum loans based on the statutory maximum loan amount provided in IRC Sec. 72(p)(2). On January 1, 2014, Jane had a vested account balance in her Individual 401(k) Plan of $125,000 and took a plan loan of $40,000 to be paid in 20 quarterly installments of $2,491. On January 1, 2017, when her outstanding loan balance is $33,322 and her account balance is $140,000, Jane requests another plan loan.

The difference between the highest outstanding loan balance for the preceding one-year period ($40,000) and the outstanding loan balance on the day the new loan is to be made ($33,322) is $6,678. Jane’s new loan plus her current outstanding loan balance (her maximum outstanding loan limit) cannot exceed a) the lesser of 50% of her vested account balance, or b) $50,000 reduced by this difference. The maximum amount Jane can take for her second loan, therefore, is $10,000.

Step 1: Highest outstanding balance – current outstanding balance = the difference

Step 2: The lesser of a) or b) = maximum outstanding loan amount

  • $140,000 x 50% = $70,000
  • $50,000 – $6,678 = $43,322

Step 3: Maximum outstanding loan amount – current outstanding balance = maximum second loan amount

$43,322 – $33,322 = $10,000

Proper Loan Documentation

Plan loan documents should contain sufficient information to clearly demonstrate that the loan program is intended to satisfy DOL and IRS regulations.

Loan Agreement

The loan program for a plan must be evidenced by a legally enforceable agreement (Treas. Reg. 1.72(p)-1, Q&A 3(b)). The loan documents should explain how the loan program operates, including plan loan requirements and the application process. According to regulations, the loan agreement must clearly identify an amount borrowed, a loan term, and a repayment schedule.

Loan Disclosure

For plans subject to Title I of ERISA, a loan disclosure is required as part of the loan program documentation and becomes part of the plan’s summary plan description (SPD). The loan disclosure describes in plain language the loan program terms and provides the name, address, and phone number of the loan program administrator.

Truth-in-Lending Requirements

Some plans may be subject to the Federal Reserve Board Regulation Z (Truth-in-Lending) rules. If more than 25 loans been taken from a plan in the preceding year or in the current year, or if more than five loans that are secured by dwellings have been taken in the preceding year or current year, the truth-in-lending rules apply and an additional truth-in-lending disclosure is required. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve has amended Regulation Z to exempt retirement plan loans from the truth-in-lending requirements, effective July 1, 2010, if the plan loan complies with the IRS requirements and is issued from vested portions of a participant’s account.

Spousal Waivers

Under the Retirement Equity Act of 1984 (REA), many plans require that a participant receive the consent of her spouse before taking distributions in a form other than a qualified join and survivor annuity (QJSA). Under these plans, a participant must obtain spousal consent before using any portion of her vested account balance as security for a plan loan (Treas. Reg. 1.401(a)-20, Q&A 24). If a previous plan loan is renegotiated, extended, renewed, or otherwise revised, it will be treated as a new loan, thereby requiring spousal consent.

Other Suggested Forms

To facilitate smooth operation of the loan program, the following forms are useful.

  • Loan application form
  • Payment authorization form
  • Loan notice of credit denial

The tax professionals at the IRA Financial Group will assist you in completing all required Individual 401(k) plan loan documents.

Defaults and Deemed Distributions

If a loan fails to satisfy the statutory requirements regarding the loan amount, the loan term, and the repayment schedule, the loan is in default and is considered a deemed distribution. In the case of a loan that exceeds the maximum allowable amount, only the excess amount is treated as a deemed distribution (Treas. Reg. 1.72(p)-1, Q&A 4). If a participant fails to make a quarterly installment payment on the loan, the loan is in default and the remaining loan balance is a deemed distribution. Under the loan regulations, the employer may grant a grace period for making a loan payment (by the end of the quarter following the quarter of the missed payment), thus preventing a loan default.

Relief from loan payments also may be granted to participants who are on leave of absence without pay or receiving a rate of pay that is less than the installment payments. In this case, payments may be suspended for a period not longer than one year. To remain in compliance with IRC Sec. 72(p), however, the loan must be repaid within the original time frame provided by the loan agreement.

A deemed distribution will not be treated as a distribution for purposes of the requirements of IRC Sec.1.411(a)-7(d)(5), relating to the determination of a participant’s account balance if a distribution is made at a time when the participant’s vesting percentage may increase.

With the IRA Financial Group, you will be working directly with specially trained tax professionals to help you take a loan from your Individual 401(k) plan as well as administer it yourself without the need to hire a special plan administrator.

To learn more about IRA Financial Group Individual 401(k) loan program and the rules surrounding the solo 401(k) loan, please contact a tax professional at 800-472-0646.

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Jul 05

How to Borrow from Your Solo 401k Plan

As long as the plan documents allow for it & the proper loan documents are prepared and executed, a participant loan can be made for any reason. The Solo 401k loan is received tax free and penalty free. There are no penalties or taxes due provided loan payments are paid on time. The IRA Financial Group Solo 401(k) Plan documents will allow you to use a loan from your Solo 401(k) for any investment purposes, including real estate, funding your business or a new business, tax liens, private placements, etc.

What is a Solo 401(k) Plan Loan?

How to Borrow from Your Solo 401k PlanA Solo 401(k) loan is permitted at any time using the accumulated balance of the Solo 401(k) as collateral for the loan. A Solo 401(k) participant can borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of their account value – whichever is less. This loan has to be repaid over an amortization schedule of 5 years or less with payment frequency no greater than quarterly. The interest rate must be set at a reasonable rate of interest, generally interpreted as prime rate as per the Wall Street Journal. As of 6/23/17 prime rate is 4.25%, which means participant loans may be set at a very reasonable Interest rate. The Interest rate is fixed based on the prime rate at the time of the loan application.

How Can This be Done?

Internal Revenue Code Section 72(p) and the 2001 EGGTRA rules allow a Solo 401(k) Plan participant to borrow money from the plan tax-free and without penalty. As long as the plan documents allow for it and the proper loan documents are prepared and executed, a participant loan can be made for any reason. The solo 401(k) loan is received tax-free and penalty-free. There are no penalties or taxes due provided loan payments are paid on time. The IRA Financial Group Solo 401(k) Plan documents will allow you to use a loan from your Solo 401(k) for any investment purposes, including real estate, funding your business or a new business, tax liens, private placements, etc. Our in-house retirement tax professionals will assist you in completing the Solo 401(k) Plan documents in a timely manner once your Solo 401(k) Plan has been adopted.

When can a Participant Loan be Useful?

As a result of the recent economic meltdown, banks and other financial institutions have severely limited their lending capacity to self-employed business owners, thus, causing grave financial pressure on self-employed business owners. The Solo 401(k) plan is a perfect structure for any self-employed business owner seeking immediate funds for their business or to help pay personal expenses. Solo 401(k) participants can borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of their account value, whichever is less, to help finance or operate their business. For example, an individual can take a Solo 401(k) Plan loan and use those funds to pay off a mortgage, credit card, any personal expense, go on vacation, or start and finance a business.

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

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Jun 05

Millennials Using Solo 401(k) Plan Loan Option to Enter Housing Market

401(k) Plan loan feature helping first-time home buyers secure necessary funds to purchase a home

IRA Financial Group, the leading provider of solo 401(k) plans for self-employed and small business owners, has seen a growing number of millennials who are first time home buyers using the 401(k) plan loan feature to purchase a home, according to an IRA Financial Group internal report. Internal Revenue Code Section 72(p) allows an individual 401K Plan participant to take a loan from his or her 401K Plan so as long as it is permitted pursuant to the business’s 401K Plan documents.

Millennials Using Solo 401(k) Plan Loan Option to Enter Housing MarketA solo 401k loan is permitted at any time using the accumulated balance of the solo 401k as collateral for the loan. A Solo 401(k) participant can borrow up to either $50,000 or 50% of their account value – whichever is less. This loan has to be repaid over an amortization schedule of five years or less with payment frequency no less than quarterly. However, in the loan proceed will be used to purchase a primary residence, the term of the loan could be extended to a longer term, generally fifteen or thirty years. The lowest interest rate that can be used is prime as per the Wall Street Journal, which as of May 30, 2017 is 4.00%. “In 2017, we have seen a growing number of millennials seeking to use the 401(k) loan option as a way to finance the purchase of a primary residence, which in many cases is their first home purchase,” stated Adam Bergman, a partner with the IRA Financial Group.

With IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401K plan loan feature, an entrepreneur who is self-employed individual or small business owner with no employees can borrow up to $50,000 tax-free and penalty-free. There are no penalties or taxes due provided loan payments are paid on time. “The Solo 401(k) loan feature has proved to be an attractive way to get tax-free and penalty-free use of up to $50,000 of retirement funds that can be used for any purpose, including the purchase or financing of a primary residence,” stated Mr. Bergman.

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.

IRA Financial Group is the market’s leading provider of self-directed IRA LLC and Solo 401(k) plans. IRA Financial Group has helped thousands of clients take back control over their retirement funds while gaining the ability to invest in almost any type of investment, including real estate without custodian consent.

To learn more about the IRA Financial Group please visit our website at http://www.irafinancialgroup.com or call 800-472-0646.

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May 08

If a Couple Both Contribute to a Solo 401k, Can they Both Utilize the Loan Feature?

Yes. One of the main advantages of the Solo 401(k) Plan is that it allows participants to borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of their account value (whichever is less) for any purpose. Thus, you and your spouse would each be permitted to borrow up to $50,000 ($100,000 total) to be used for any purposes, including financing a business.

If a Couple Both Contribute to a Solo 401k, Can they Both Utilize the Loan Feature?

Benefits of taking a loan include –

  • Lend the funds to a third-party who will pay a higher interest rate
  • Invest in a real estate project that offers a higher rate of return than the low interest rate you must pay
  • To consolidate debt
  • To pay for college expenses
  • To pay for unexpected emergencies
  • Avoid distribution penalties and gain use up to $50,000 immediately with no restrictions
  • Invest in a new franchise or business
  • Make any alternative Investment that will generate a higher rate of return than the low Interest rate imposed on you, such as tax liens, private placements, or mortgage pools.
  • Invest in a transaction that would otherwise be a Prohibited Transaction under Internal Revenue Code Section 4975.
  • Quick, easy, and cheap access to a $50,000 loan to be used for any purpose

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

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Mar 30

Do You Have to Pay UBTI Tax on Unrelated Debt Financed Income in a Solo 401(k) Plan?

No. Unlike a Self Directed IRA LLC, when a Solo 401K Plan uses nonrecourse leverage to purchase real estate that is leveraged, it is exempt from paying any Unrelated Business Taxable Income (UBTI) tax on the income or gain generated.

When an IRA buys real estate that is leveraged with mortgage financing, it creates Unrelated Debt Financed Income (a type of Unrelated Business Taxable Income) on which taxes must be paid. A Solo 401(k) plan is exempt from UDFI pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 514(c)(9).

With the UBTI tax rates at approximately 40% for 2017, the Solo 401(k) Plan offers real estate investors looking to use nonrecourse leverage in a transaction with a tax efficient solution.

Debt-financed property refers to borrowing money to purchase the real estate (i.e., a leveraged asset that is held to produce income). In such cases, only the income attributable to the financed portion of the property is taxed; gain on the profit from the sale of the leveraged assets is also UDFI (unless the debt is paid off more than 12 months before the property is sold).

Why does this Exemption Apply to 401(k) Plans and Not IRAs?

When Internal Revenue Code Section 514(c)(9) was enacted in 1980, it applied only to qualified pension, profit sharing, and stock bonus plans, but its scope was broadened in 1984 to include schools, colleges, and universities. The provision brings the history of Internal Revenue Code Section 514 full circle by exempting some organizations, such as 401(k) Qualified Plan, from tax on income from the very sort of leveraged real estate deals that provoked the enactment of the predecessor of Internal Revenue Code Section 514 in 1950. As per the legislative history, the only reason given in the committee reports for the exemption is that some people wanted it: “Trustees of these plans are desirous of investing in real estate for diversification and to offset inflation. Debt-financing is common in real estate investments.”

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

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Feb 02

How Do You Take a Solo 401(k) Loan?

As long as the plan documents allow for it & the proper loan documents are prepared and executed, a participant loan can be made for any reason. The Solo 401(k) loan is received tax free and penalty free. There are no penalties or taxes due provided loan payments are paid on time. The IRA Financial Group Solo 401(k) Plan documents will allow you to use a loan from your Solo 401(k) for any investment purposes, including real estate, funding your business or a new business, tax liens, private placements, etc.

What is a Solo 401(k) Plan Loan?

A Solo 401(k) loan is permitted at any time using the accumulated balance of the Solo 401(k) as collateral for the loan. A Solo 401(k) participant can borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of their account value – whichever is less. This loan has to be repaid over an amortization schedule of 5 years or less with payment frequency no greater than quarterly. The interest rate must be set at a reasonable rate of interest, generally interpreted as prime rate as per the Wall Street Journal. As of 1/1/17 prime rate is 3.75%, which means participant loans may be set at a very reasonable Interest rate. The Interest rate is fixed based on the prime rate at the time of the loan application.

How Do You Take a Solo 401(k) Loan?How Can This be Done?

Internal Revenue Code Section 72(p) and the 2001 EGGTRA rules allow a Solo 401(k) Plan participant to borrow money from the plan tax-free and without penalty. As long as the plan documents allow for it and the proper loan documents are prepared and executed, a participant loan can be made for any reason. The solo 401(k) loan is received tax-free and penalty-free. There are no penalties or taxes due provided loan payments are paid on time. The IRA Financial Group Solo 401(k) Plan documents will allow you to use a loan from your Solo 401(k) for any investment purposes, including real estate, funding your business or a new business, tax liens, private placements, etc. Our in-house retirement tax professionals will assist you in completing the Solo 401(k) Plan documents in a timely manner once your Solo 401(k) Plan has been adopted.

When can a Participant Loan be Useful?

As a result of the recent economic meltdown, banks and other financial institutions have severely limited their lending capacity to self-employed business owners, thus, causing grave financial pressure on self-employed business owners. The Solo 401(k) plan is a perfect structure for any self-employed business owner seeking immediate funds for their business or to help pay personal expenses. Solo 401(k) participants can borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of their account value, whichever is less, to help finance or operate their business. For example, an individual can take a Solo 401(k) Plan loan and use those funds to pay off a mortgage, credit card, any personal expense, go on vacation, or start and finance a business.

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

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