Jan 16

Watch This Short Video About How the Solo 401(k) Plan Works

Watch This Short Video About How the Solo 401(k) Plan Works

Adam Bergman, a partner with the IRA Financial Group, discusses the primary Solo 401(k) Plan features. The video highlights the most popular features of the Solo 401(k) Plan, including high Solo 401(k) Plan contributions, $50,000 loan feature, UDFI exemption, ability to use local bank account and gain checkbook control as trustee.

For more information the Solo 401(k) Plan features, please click here.

IRA Financial Group is the market’s leading Self Directed IRA LLC and Solo 401(k) Facilitator. We have helped thousands of clients take back control over their retirement funds while gaining the ability to invest in almost any type of investment, including domestic or foreign real estate, tax liens, precious metals, peer-to-peer lending, new businesses, stocks, mutual funds, foreign currencies, options and much more. We have close working relationships with all the leading custodians making the set-up process seamless.

For more information, please contact us @ 800.472.0646.

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Jan 11

What You Should Know About Taxation Of Cryptocurrencies

Here’s a recent article, from Forbes.com, talking about the taxation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies –

If you spend or invest in virtual currencies, it is crucial to understand how virtual currency transactions are treated for tax purposes.

IRS Notice 2014-21

The IRS addressed the taxation of virtual currency transactions in Notice 2014-21. According to the Notice, virtual currency is treated as property for federal tax purposes. This means that, depending on the taxpayer’s circumstances, cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, can be classified as business property, investment property, or personal property. General tax principles applicable to property transactions must be applied to exchanges of cryptocurrencies. Hence, Notice 2014-21 holds that taxpayers recognize gain or loss on the exchange of cryptocurrency for other property.  Accordingly, gain or loss is recognized every time that Bitcoin is used to purchase goods or services.

Determining Basis & Gain

When it comes to determining the taxation of cryptocurrency transactions, it is important for cryptocurrency owners to properly track basis. Basis is generally defined as the price the taxpayer paid for the cryptocurrency asset.

For example, on June 1 2017, Jane purchased five Bitcoins for $6,000 ($1,200 each Bitcoin). On November 1, 2017, she used one Bitcoin to purchase $2,000 worth of merchandise via an online retailer. Jane recognized an $800 gain on the transaction ($2,000 amount realized – $1,200 basis in one Bitcoin).

What You Should Know About Taxation Of CryptocurrenciesTreating cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, as property creates a potential accounting challenge for taxpayers who use it for everyday purchases because a taxable transaction occurs every time that a cryptocurrency is exchanged for goods or services. For example, if Jane purchased a slice of pizza with one Bitcoin that she purchased on June 1 2017, she would have to determine the basis of the Bitcoin and then subtract that by the cost of the slice of pizza to determine if any gain was recognized. There is currently no “de minimis” exception to this gain or loss recognition. Taxpayers must track their cryptocurrency basis continuously to report the gain or loss recognized on each crypto transaction properly. It is easy to see how this treatment can cause accounting issues with respect to everyday cryptocurrency transactions.

On the other hand, the loss recognition on cryptocurrency transactions is equally complex. A deduction is allowed only for losses incurred in a trade or business or on a transaction entered into for profit. If Jane had recognized a $100 loss on her purchase of merchandise from the online retailer, the loss may not be deductible. If Jane uses Bitcoin for everyday transactions and does not hold it for investment, her loss is a nondeductible personal loss. However, if she holds Bitcoin for investment and cashes out of her investment by using Bitcoin to purchase merchandise, her loss is a deductible investment loss. Whether Bitcoin is held for investment or personal purposes may be difficult to determine, and further guidance by the IRS on this topic is needed.

Cryptocurrency values have been extremely volatile since its inception. As illustrated below, this volatility makes a significant difference in gain or loss recognition.

Jane purchased four Bitcoins on February 2, 2017 for $1,120 per Bitcoin, ten Ethereum coins on March 10, 2017 for $320 per coin, and 65 Litecoins on July 5, 2017 for $65 per coin.  Jane would need to keep track of the basis and sales price for each cryptocurrency transaction in order to properly calculate the gain or loss for each transaction.  In addition, if Jane purchased Bitcoins at different dates and at different prices, at sale, Jane would have to determine whether she would be selling a specific Bitcoin or use the first-in, first-out (FIFO) method to determine any potential gain or loss. The default rule for tracking basis in securities is FIFO. Taxpayers can also determine basis in securities by using the last-in, first out (LIFO), average cost, or specific identification methods. The prevalent thought is that these methods should be available for property that does not qualify as a security, and that taxpayers investing in cryptocurrency should use the method that is most beneficial to them. However, no direct IRS authority supports this position.

In sum, taxpayers must track their cryptocurrency purchases carefully. Each cryptocurrency purchase should be kept in a separate online wallet and appropriate records should be maintained to document when the wallet was established. If a taxpayer uses an account with several different wallet addresses and that account is later combined into a single wallet, it may become difficult to determine the original basis of each cryptocurrency that is used in a subsequent transaction.

The details of all cryptocurrency transactions in a network are stored in a public ledger called a “Blockchain,” which permanently records all transactions to and from online wallet addresses, including date and time. Taxpayers can use this information to determine their basis and holding period. Technology to assist taxpayers in this process is being developed currently and some helpful online tools are now available.

Characterization of Gain or Loss for Cryptocurrency Transactions

The character of gain or loss on a cryptocurrency transaction depends on whether the cryptocurrency is a capital asset in the taxpayer’s hands. Gain on the sale of a cryptocurrency that qualifies as a capital asset is netted with other capital gains and losses. A net long-term capital gain that includes gain on crypto transactions is eligible for the preferential tax rates on long-term capital gains, which is 15% or 20% for high net-worth taxpayers. Cryptocurrency gain constitutes unearned income for purposes of the unearned income Medicare contributions tax introduced as part of the Affordable Care Act. As a result, taxpayers with modified adjusted gross incomes over $200,000 ($250,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly) are subject to an additional 3.8% tax on cryptocurrency gain.

For example, on August 1, 2017, Jen, a sole proprietor, digitally accepts two Bitcoins from Steve as payment for services. On that date, Bitcoins are worth $10,000 each, as listed by Coinbase. Therefore, Jen recognizes $20,000 ($10,000 x 2) of business income. A month later, when Bitcoins are trading for $11,500 on the Coinbase exchange, Jen uses two Bitcoins to purchase supplies for her business. At that time, Jen will recognize $23,000 ($11,500 x 2) in business expense and $3,000 [($11,500 – $10,000) x 2] of gain due to the Bitcoin exchange. Since Jen isn’t in the trade or business of selling Bitcoins, the $3,000 gain is capital in nature.

Now let’s assume the same facts as above, except that Jen uses the two Bitcoins to purchase a new car for her personal use. According to the Coinbase exchange, Bitcoins are now trading at $8000. Jen will realize a loss of $4000 [($8000 – $10,000) x 2]. However, this loss is considered a nondeductible capital loss because Jen didn’t use the Bitcoins for investment or business purposes.  It is important to note that a payment using cryptocurrencies are subject to information reporting to the same extent as any other payment made in property. Thus, a person who, in the course of a trade or business, makes a payment using cryptocurrency with a fair market value of $600 or more is required to report the payment to the IRS and the payee’s cryptocurrency payments are subject to backup withholding. This means that persons making reportable payments with cryptocurrency must solicit a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) from the payee. If a TIN isn’t obtained prior to payment, or if a notification is received from the IRS that backup withholding is required, the payer must backup withhold from the virtual currency payment.

In summary, if a taxpayer acquires cryptocurrency as an investment and chooses to dispose of it by purchasing merchandise or services, any loss realized will be treated as a deductible investment loss. However, at times, it may be difficult to determine whether cryptocurrency is held for investment or personal purposes.

Employment Taxes and Information Reporting – Cryptocurrency Mining

According to Notice 2014-21, if a taxpayer’s mining of cryptocurrency is a trade or business, and the taxpayer isn’t classified as an employee, the net earnings from self-employment resulting from the activity will be subject to self-employment tax. Cryptocurrency mining is defined as a computationally intensive process that computers comprising a cryptocurrency network complete to verify the transaction record, called the “Blockchain”, and receive digital coins in return.  Cryptocurrency mining is considered a trade or business for tax purposes, in contrast to investing in cryptocurrencies which is considered an investment.  This is a crucial distinction since the taxation of investment gains or losses are subject to the capital gain/loss tax regime, whereas, business income is subject to a different tax regime.  A taxpayer generally realizes ordinary income on the sale or exchange of a cryptocurrency that is not a capital asset in his hands.

Inventory and property held for sale to customers are not capital assets, so income recognized by a miner of, or broker in, cryptocurrency is generally considered ordinary. If a taxpayer’s mining of cryptocurrency constitutes a trade or business, the net earnings from mining (gross income less allowable deductions) are subject to self-employment tax. Similarly, if an independent contractor receives virtual currency for performing services, the fair market value of such currency will be subject to self-employment tax. If cryptocurrency is paid by an employer to an employee as wages, the fair market value of the currency will be subject to federal income tax withholding, FICA and FUTA taxes, and must be reported on Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement).

Questions Remain

The IRS’s guidance in Notice 2014-21 clarifies various aspects of the tax treatment of cryptocurrency transactions. However, many questions remain unanswered, such as how cryptocurrencies should be treated for international tax reporting (FBAR & FATCA reporting) and whether cryptocurrencies should be subject to the like-kind exchange rules.

To learn more about using your retirement funds, including a Solo 401(k) Plan, to invest in cryptocurrencies, please contact a retirement expert from the IRA Financial Group @ 800.472.0646.

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Dec 18

What To Know Before Purchasing Cryptocurrencies With Retirement Funds

The following, written by Adam Bergman, first appeared on Forbes.com:

With the value of Bitcoins and many other cryptocurrencies flying high in 2017, many investors have looked to take advantage of this trend and own cryptocurrencies in tax-advantaged retirement plans, such as a Self-Directed IRA or Solo 401(k) Plan.  This article will explore the main points an investor should know before using retirement funds to buy cryptocurrencies.

What is a Cryptocurrency?

What To Know Before Purchasing Cryptocurrencies With Retirement FundsCryptocurrency refers to a decentralized digital currency that employs principles of cryptography (communication that is secure from view of third parties) to ensure security, privacy, and anonymity. Consequently, the value of a cryptocurrency is not set by anyone other than market participants, who engage in the process of buying and selling on an exchange platform.

Bitcoin has become the leader in shepherding in a wave of cryptocurrencies built on decentralized peer-to-peer network and is the primary standard for cryptocurrencies. The currencies inspired by Bitcoin are collectively called Altcoins and have tried to present themselves as modified or improved versions of Bitcoin.  The five most popular cryptocurrencies are Bitcoins, Ethereum (ETH) & Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, ZCash and Dash.  There are close to 1000 types of cryptocurrencies, so this list can vary over time.

How does the IRS Treat Cryptocurrencies from a Tax Standpoint?

Even though Bitcoin is labeled as a “cryptocurrency”, from a Federal income tax standpoint, Bitcoins and other cryptocurrency are not considered a “currency.”  On March 25, 2014, the IRS issued Notice 2014-21, which for the first time set forth the IRS position on the taxation of virtual currencies, such as Bitcoins.  According to the IRS Notice, “Virtual currency is treated as property for U.S. federal tax purposes.” The Notice further stated, “General tax principles that apply to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency.”  In other words, the IRS is treating the income or gains from the sale of a virtual currency, such as Bitcoins, as a capital asset, such as stocks or real estate, subject to either short-term (ordinary income tax rates) or long-term capital gains tax rates, if the asset is held greater than twelve months (15% or 20% tax rates based on income).  By treating Bitcoins and other virtual currencies as property (capital asset) and not currency, the IRS is requiring the investor to maintain detailed transaction records (i.e. basis, holding period, etc.) in order to determine the amount of tax from the cryptocurrency transaction(s).

Can I purchase Cryptocurrencies with a Retirement Account?

The Internal Revenue Code does not describe what a Self-Directed IRA or Solo 401(k) Plan can invest in, only what it cannot invest in. Internal Revenue Code Sections 408 & 4975 prohibits Disqualified Persons from engaging in certain types of transactions. The foundation of the prohibited transaction rules is based on the premise that investments involving an IRA and related parties are handled in a way that benefits the retirement account and not the IRA owner. The rules prohibit transactions between the IRA and certain individuals known as “disqualified persons.” The definition of a “disqualified person” (Internal Revenue Code Section 4975(e)(2)) extends into a variety of related party scenarios, but generally includes the IRA holder, any ancestors or lineal descendants of the IRA holder, and entities in which the IRA holder holds a controlling equity or management interest.

Because the IRS treats cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoins, as a capital asset, such as stocks or real estate, a retirement account is permitted to buy, sell, or hold cryptocurrencies, subject to the prohibited transaction rules found under Internal Revenue Code Section 4975(c).

Why use a Retirement Account to Invest in Cryptocurrencies?

When purchasing cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoins, with a Self-Directed IRA or Solo 401(k) Plan, all income and gains generated by your pre-tax retirement account investment would generally flow back into the retirement account tax-deferred or tax-free in the case of a Roth IRA. Instead of paying tax on the gains of the crypto investment, tax is paid only at a later date or never at all, in the case of a Roth IRA, leaving the crypto investment to grow unhindered without tax.

How to Use Retirement Funds to Buy, Hold, or Sell Cryptocurrencies?

In general, the two most popular ways to purchase cryptocurrencies with retirement funds is through a Self-Directed IRA or Solo 401(k) Plan.  Below is a step-by-step summary of how to purchase cryptocurrencies with a Solo 401(k) Plan:

A Solo 401(k) Plan is a qualified retirement plan that is established by a business with no full-time employees other than the owners or their spouses.

  1. Establish a Self-Directed Solo 401(k) Plan.
  2. Rollover retirement funds, cash or in-kind, tax-free to new Solo 401(k) Plan account.
  3. You, as trustee of the Solo 401(k) Plan, will then have “Checkbook Control” over all the assets/funds in the plan to make the cryptocurrency investment.
  4. A cryptocurrency account could be opened in the name of the Solo 401(k) Plan or a special purpose LLC wholly owned by the Solo 401(k) Plan. Many investors seem to like using an LLC wholly owned by a 401(k) plan as a vehicle to own the cryptos as it generally helps expedite the account opening process at the more popular cryptocurrency exchanges.
  5. You, as trustee of Solo 401(k) Plan or manager of the LLC, if applicable, will then wire the 401(k) funds to the new cryptocurrency account opened at a crypto exchange. The account will be opened in the name of the Solo 401(k) Plan or the LLC, if applicable.
  6. The cryptos can then be held at the exchange or via an online or offline wallet.
  7. Since a 401(k) plan is a tax-exempt qualified retirement plan, all income and gains from the cryptocurrency investment would flow back to the Solo 401(k) Plan tax-deferred or tax-free in the case of a Roth Solo 401(k) account. Whereas, a special purpose LLC wholly owned by a 401(k) plan would be treated as a disregarded entity for tax purposes. No Federal income tax return is required to be filed, although, some states may impose filing or franchise taxes on the LLC. Accordingly, in general, all income and gains from the cryptocurrency investment should flow back to the 401(k) plan without tax. One should consult with their tax advisor to better understand the implications of using a special purpose LLC wholly owned by a 401(k) plan to purchase cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency investments, such as Bitcoins, are risky and highly volatile.  Any retirement account investor interested in using retirement funds to invest in cryptocurrencies should do their diligence and proceed with caution.

For more information about using a Solo 401(k) to invest in cryptocurrencies, please contact us @ 800.472.0646.

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Dec 11

IRA Financial Group Releases Cryptocurrency E-Info Kit for Solo 401(K) Plan Investors

New Bitcoin E-Kit will help investors understand how to purchase cryptocurrencies with 401(k) funds

IRA Financial Group, the leading provider of self-directed IRA LLC and Solo 401(k) Plans, announces the launch of a new Cryptocurrency E-Info Kit. The free cryptocurrency information kit will help retirement account holders looking to purchase cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoins, with their retirement accounts to better understand what is involved in the process. “The IRA Financial Group Crypto E-Info Kit will help guide retirement account holders looking to use a Solo 401(k) plan to buy cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoins,” stated Adam Bergman, a partner with the IRA Financial Group.

IRA Financial Group’s Crypto 401(k) platform with checkbook control will allow retirement account holders to buy, sell, or hold Bitcoins and other cryptocurrency assets and generate tax-deferred or tax-free gains, in the case of a Roth Solo 401(k). The primary advantage of using a Solo 401(k) to make Bitcoin investments is that all income and gains associated with the 401(k) investment grow tax-deferred.IRA Financial Group Releases Cryptocurrency E-Info Kit for Solo 401(K) Plan Investors

IRA Financial Group is the market’s leading provider of self-directed retirement 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. The IRA Financial Trust Company, a self-directed IRA custodian, was founded by Adam Bergman, a partner with the IRA Financial Group.

IRA Financial Group is the market’s leading provider of self-directed retirement 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.

Adam Bergman, IRA Financial Group partner, has written six books the topic of self-directed retirement plans, including, “The Checkbook IRA”, “Going Solo,” Turning Retirement Funds into Start-Up Dreams, Solo 401(k) Plan in a Nutshell, Self-Directed IRA in a Nutshell, and in God We Trust in Roth We Prosper.

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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Sep 27

IRA Financial Group Introduces New Solo 401(k) Plan Bitcoin Solution For Retirement Account Investors

Solo 401(k) Plan option offers retirement account holders the ability to trade or hold Bitcoins and other cryptocurrency without tax

IRA Financial Group, the leading provider of Solo 401(k) Plan solutions, is proud to announce the introduction of the Bitcoin Solo 401(k) Plan option to all retirement account holders. IRA Financial Group’s Bitcoin Solo 401(k) Plan solution will allow retirement account holders to buy, sell, or hold Bitcoins and other cryptocurrency assets and generate tax-deferred or tax-free gains, in the case of a Roth Solo 401(k) Plan. “Bitcoins have become a popular investment diversification option for many of our Solo 401(k) Plan investors in 2017, who are interested in using a tax-efficient manner to buy and sell Bitcoins,” stated Adam Bergman, a partner with the IRA Financial Group.

IRA Financial Group Introduces New Solo 401(k) Plan Bitcoin Solution For Retirement Account InvestorsAccording to Mr. Bergman, IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) Plan Bitcoin solution is so attractive to Bitcoin investors because it gives them the control to buy, hold, or sell Bitcoins themselves. The primary advantage of using a Solo 401(k) Plan to make Bitcoin investments is that all income and gains associated with the Solo 401(k) investment grow tax-deferred or tax-free, in the case of a Roth Solo 401(k).

IRA Financial Group’s Bitcoin Solo 401(k) Plan for cryptocurrency investors is an IRS approved structure that allows one to use their retirement funds to make Bitcoin and other investments tax-free and without custodian consent.

IRA Financial Group is the market’s leading provider of self-directed retirement 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.

Adam Bergman, IRA Financial Group partner, has written six books on the topic of self-directed retirement plans, including, “The Checkbook IRA”, “Going Solo”, “Turning Retirement Funds into Start-Up Dreams”, “Solo 401(k) Plan in a Nutshell”, “Self-Directed IRA in a Nutshell”, and “In God We Trust in Roth We Prosper”. Mr. Bergman is also the founder of The IRA Financial Trust Company, a Self-Directed IRA custodian.

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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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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Jul 31

What The Law Says About UBTI In Non-Real Estate Investments

This article, written by Adam Bergman, about the UBTI rules when making non-real estate investments, first appeared on Forbes.com

For many retirement account investors, understanding how the Unrelated Business Taxable Income Rules work, also known as UBTI, UBIT, or debt-financed income rules, and how they may potentially apply to one’s retirement account investment has been a challenge.  The main reason is that the majority of IRA or 401(k) plan investors invest in traditional types of investments, such as equities, mutual funds, and ETFs, which do not trigger the application of the UBTI tax rules since most passive investments that a retirement account might invest in are exempt from the UBTI rules, such as interest, dividends, and capital gains.

Understanding the potential impact of the UBTI rules is crucial for retirement account investors Understanding the potential impact of the UBTI rules is crucial for retirement account investors seeking to make non-real estate alternative investments in their retirement accounts, including options, stock short sales, and commodity futures contracts.  In general, the UBTI tax rules are triggered in three instances: (i) use of margin to buy stock, (ii) use of a nonrecourse loan to buy real estate, and (iii) investment in a business operated through a flow-through entity, such as an LLC or partnership.  The tax imposed by triggering the UBTI rules is quite steep and can go as high as 40 percent.

When it comes to non-real estate transactions, such as securities and other financial products involving retirement funds, understanding the application of the UBTI or debt-financed income rules have been somewhat difficult. Neither the Code nor the Treasury regulations define “indebtedness” for purposes of the debt-financed income rules. Generally, when a retirement account borrows funds and has a clear obligation to repay the funds, the debt-financed income rules are applicable. However, many financial product type investments that involve “leverage” but not a direct borrowing are not considered debt-financed property and are not subject to UBIT.

Below is a summary of how the UBTI/debt-financed income rules apply to some of the more common type of financial product investments involving retirement funds:

Purchase of Stock or Securities on Margin:  It is well established that the purchase of securities on margin gives rise to unrelated debt-financed income (Elliott Knitwear Profit Sharing Plan v. Commissioner, 614 F.2d 347 (3d Cir. 1980).

Repurchase Agreements:  In a repurchase agreement, one party (usually a bank) purchases securities from another party (the bank’s customer) and agrees to sell the securities back to the customer at an agreed price. Such transactions are treated as a loan of money secured by the securities and give rise to unrelated debt financed income (Rev. Rul. 74-27, 1974-1)

Securities Lending Transactions: IRC Section 514(c)(8) provides that payments with respect to securities loans are deemed to be derived from the securities loaned, not from collateral security or the investment of collateral security from such loans.

Short Sales of Stock: The IRS has ruled that neither the gain attributable to the decline in the price of the stock sold short nor the income earned on the proceeds of the short sale held as collateral by the broker constituted debt-financed income (Rev. Rul. 95-8, 1995-1)

Options: IRC Section 512(b)(5) excludes from UBTI all gains or losses recognized, in connection with an organization’s investment activities, from the lapse or termination of options to buy or sell securities.

Commodities Futures Transactions: The IRS has concluded that gains and losses from commodity futures contracts are excluded from UBTI under Code section 512(b)(5). The IRS has rules that the purchase of a long futures contract entailed no borrowing of money in the traditional sense.  Likewise, the IRS found a short contract was merely an executory contract because there was no property held by the short seller that produced income and thus there could be no acquisition indebtedness.

Notional Principal Contracts: The IRS has issued regulations providing that all income and gain from notional principal contracts is excluded from UBTI. (Treas. Reg. § 1.512(b)-1(a)(1).)

The Internal Revenue Code permits retirement account investors to make a wide range of financial product investments using retirement funds. While the majority of financial product type investments would not trigger the UBTI or debt-financed income rules, (including mutual funds and options) transactions involving margin, however, would likely trigger the tax.  The burden falls on the retirement account holder to make the determination of whether the financial product type transaction triggered the UBTI rules and, if so, file the IRS Form 990-T. Therefore, it is important to work with a tax professional who can help one evaluate the financial product transaction to determine whether the transaction will trigger the UBTI or debt-financed income rules tax.

For more information, please contact the IRA Financial Group @ 800.472.0646!

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Jul 12

New Podcast – Using a Solo 401k to Buy Bitcoins and Cryptocurrency

IRA Financial Group’s Adam Bergman discusses how to use a Solo 401k Plan to buy Bitcoins and Cryptocurrency, as interest in virtual currency continues to increase.

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Click Here to Listen

 

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Jun 22

IRA Financial Group Announces New Solo 401(k) Plan Annual Services to Include Filing of IRS Form 5500-EZ

Solo 401(k) plan clients of the IRA Financial Group to be offered IRS Form 5500-EZ completion services

IRA Financial Group, the leading provider of self-directed IRA and Solo 401(k) plans, announces a new service for its annual tax and compliance service for Solo 401(k) plan clients to include the completion of the annual IRS information form – 5500-EZ.

“In light of increased demand from our clients, we have decided to expand our annual tax and compliance service to include the completion of the IRS Form 5500-EZ for no additional fee for Solo 401(k) 5500 plan clients with plan assets exceeding $250,000 for the 2016 taxable year,” stated Jen Martin, a self-directed solo 401(k) plan specialist with the IRA Financial Group. “With more and more solo 401(k) plan clients having plan assets exceeding $250,000, offering 5500-EZ filing services became something we had to do,” stated Adam Bergman, a partner with the IRA Financial Group.

 IRA Financial Group Announces New Solo 401(k) Plan Annual Services to Include Filing of IRS Form 5500-EZA Solo 401(k), also known as an individual 401(k) or self-employed 401(k) plan was created specifically for sole proprietors, small businesses and independent contractors such as consultants. A Solo 401(k) Plan can be adopted by any business with no employees other than the owner(s). The business can be established as a sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, or partnership. With a Solo 401(k) plan, there is generally no annual filing requirement unless the solo 401(k) plan participant’s plan assets exceed $250,000 in assets. In such a case, the Solo 401(k) Plan participant will need to file a short information return with the IRS (Form 5500-EZ). The IRS Form 5500-EZ is due on July 31, 2017 for the 2016 taxable year.

For 2017, the Solo 401(k) Plan, offers one the ability to make annual contributions of up to $54,000 ($60,000 for those over the age of 50), borrow up to $50,000, as well as use his or her retirement funds to make almost any type of investment on their own tax-free and penalty free without requiring the consent of any custodian or person.

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.

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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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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