Jan 19

Advantages of a Roth Individual 401(k) Plan

The Roth Individual 401(k) Plan is the ultimate tax-free retirement solution for the self-employed. With federal and state income tax rates expected to increase in the future, gaining the ability to generate tax-free returns from your retirement investments when you retire is the last surviving legal tax shelter. With a Roth Individual 401(k), also known as a Solo 401(k), you can make almost any investment tax-free, including real estate, tax liens, precious metals, currencies, options, and private business investments and once you hit the age of 59 1/2 you will be able to live off your Roth 401K assets without ever paying tax. Imagine if someone told you that if you started making Roth 401K contributions in your forties and by just generating a modest rate of return, you could have over a million dollars tax-free when you retire. With a Roth 401K, live off the Roth 401K investment income tax-free or take a portion of your Roth 401K funds and use it for any purpose without ever paying tax.

The Roth Solo 401K Plan Advantages

Power of Tax-Free Investing: One of the main attractions to the self-directed Roth Solo 401(k) plan is based on the fact that qualified distributions of Roth earnings are tax-free. As long as certain conditions are met and the distribution is a qualified distribution, the Roth solo 401(k) plan participant will never pay tax on any Roth distributions received. The advantage of contributing to a Roth solo 401(k) plan is that income and gains generated by the Roth 401(k) investment can be tax-free and penalty-free so long as certain requirements are satisfied. Unlike with a pre-tax solo 401(k) plan contributions, contributions to a Roth solo 401(k) are not tax deductible.

High Contributions: A Roth Solo 401(k) combines features of the traditional 401(k) with those of the Roth IRA. Like a Solo 401K Plan, the Roth Solo 401K Plan is perfect for any self-employed individual or small business owner with no employees. The Roth Solo 401K Plan contains the same advantages of a Solo 401(k) Plan, but as with a Roth IRA, contributions are made with after-tax dollars. While you don’t get an upfront tax-deduction, the Roth 401K account grows tax-free, and withdrawals taken during retirement aren’t subject to income tax, provided you’re at least 59 1/2 and you’ve held the account for five years or more.

Advantages of a Roth Individual 401(k) PlanThe Roth Solo 401(k) can offer advantages to self-employed individuals who wish to maximize their ability to generate tax-free retirement savings while receiving the ability to invest in real estate, precious metals, private businesses or funds tax-free and without custodian consent.

Unlike a Roth IRA, which limits individual Roth IRA contributions to $5,500 annually ($6,500 if the individual is 50 years or older), in 2018, with a Roth Solo 401(k) account, an individual can make Roth (after-tax) contributions of up to $18,500, or $24,500 for those 50 or older by the end of the year — allowing individuals to stock away thousands of dollars more in tax-free retirement income than they would through a Roth IRA.

A Roth Solo 401(k) is perfect for sole proprietors, small businesses and independent contractors such as consultants. The Roth Solo 401(k) plan is unique and so popular because it is considered the last remaining legal tax shelter available. There are so many features of the Roth Solo 401(k) plan that make it so appealing and popular among self-employed business owners.

Unlimited Investment Opportunities: With a Roth 401(k) Plan or Roth 401(k) plan sub-account, you can invest your after-tax Roth 401(k) Plan funds in real estate, precious metals, tax liens, private business investments, and much more tax-free! Unlike with a pre-tax 401(k) Plan, with a Roth 401(k) account, all income and gains would flow back tax-free to your account. As long as you have reached the age of 59 1/2 and have had the Roth 401(k) account opened at least five years, you can take Roth 401(k) Plan distributions tax-free. In other words, you can live off your Roth 401(k) Plan assets or income tax-free. With federal income tax rates expected increase, the ability to have a tax-free source of income upon retirement may be the difference between retiring early or not.

Loan Feature: While an IRA offers no participant loan feature, the Roth Solo 401k allows participants to borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of their account value (whichever is less) for any purpose at a low interest rate (the lowest interest rate is Prime which is 4.50% as of 12/14/17). This offers a Roth Solo 401(k) Plan participant the ability to access up to $50,000 to use for any purpose, including paying personal debt or funding a business.

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

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

Exemption from UDFI: When an IRA buys real estate that is leveraged with mortgage financing, it creates Unrelated Debt Financed Income (“UDFI”) – a type of Unrelated Business Taxable Income (also known as “UBTI” or “UBIT”) on which taxes must be paid. The UBTI tax is approximately 40% for 2018. Whereas, with a Roth Solo 401(k) plan, you can use leverage without being subject to the UDFI rules and UBTI tax. This exemption provides significant tax advantages for using a Roth Solo 401(k) Plan versus an IRA to purchase real estate.

To learn more about the Roth Solo 401(k) Plan, please contact a 401(k) expert at 800-472-0646.

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Jan 08

How to Establish a Self-Directed 401(k) with Wells Fargo

IRA Financial Group, the leading provider of Self-Directed 401(k) Plans, and Wells Fargo have worked together to allow IRA Financial Group Solo 401(k) clients to establish a Checkbook Control Solo 401(k) Plan account with Wells Fargo with no custodian fees.

IRA Financial Group clients will be able to use IRA Financial Group’s IRS approved Self-Directed 401(k) Plan and open the plan account at Wells Fargo, as well as other partners, such as Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and E-Trade. With IRA Financial Group’s Self-Directed Solo 401(k) Plan at Wells Fargo, you will be able to make traditional investments, such as stocks, as well as alternative asset investments, such as real estate, precious metals, hard money loans, tax liens, private business investments, and much more and incur NO custodian fees. IRA Financial Group’s IRS approved Solo 401(k) Plan is an open architecture trustee directed plan allowing you, as the trustee of the plan, to have Checkbook Control over your plan funds directly from your Wells Fargo account and incur no custodian fees.

How to Establish a Self-Directed 401(k) with Wells Fargo

The IRA Financial Group Difference

By working with IRA Financial Group to establish your Self-Directed 401(k) Plan, you will gain the ability to make high annual 401(k) plan contributions, up to $55,000 ($61,000 if over the age of 50) in pre-tax, Roth, or after-tax, have a loan option, and gain the ability to make traditional as well as alternative asset investments, such as real estate. Whereas, if you adopted a Solo 401(k) Plan sponsored by Wells Fargo you would only be able to make pre-tax contributions, no Roth or after-tax contribution option, there would be no loan feature, and you would be only allowed to make traditional investments offered by Wells Fargo, such as mutual funds, and no real estate or other alternative asset investments would be permitted. So how is this possible?

With a Solo 401(k) Plan, the plan documents set forth the rules governing your Solo 401(k) Plan. IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) Plan documents are open architecture trustee directed and not custodian directed giving you, as the trustee of the plan, Checkbook Control over the plan and its assets. IRA Financial Group would be the Solo 401(k) Plan document sponsor and Wells Fargo would be your 401(k) plan custodian, giving you the power to have Checkbook Control over your plan assets and make traditional as well as alternative asset investments. Using IRA Financial Group’s plan documents will allow you to take advantage of a special type of non-prototype plan account offered by Wells Fargo.

Unlike an IRA where the IRA custodian has specific IRS reporting requirements, with a 401(k) plan the custodian (Wells Fargo) has no IRS reporting requirements, since you as the plan administrator would be responsible for any IRS reporting, such as filing the IRS Form 5500-EZ (if your plan assets are greater than $250,000). This is the reason Wells Fargo will allow you to open your Solo 401(k) Plan account with them and make alternative asset investments using a special type of non-prototype account and not with an IRA, since the 401(k) plan custodian would have no IRS reporting requirements with a trustee directed Solo 401(k) Plan using IRA Financial Group plan documents.

IRA Financial Group has developed a relationship with Wells Fargo in order to allow you to open a Self-Directed Checkbook Control Solo 401(k) Plan with no custodian fees. Your IRA Financial Group assigned retirement tax specialist will assist you in opening your new Self-Directed 401(k) Plan at Wells Fargo or any other financial institution of your choice quickly. Using IRA Financial Group’s plan documents will allow you to take advantage of a special type of non-prototype 401(k) plan account offered by Wells Fargo allowing you to make traditional as well as alternative asset investments, such as real estate, as the trustee of the plan – with full Checkbook Control. The process for establishing a Self-Directed Solo 401(k) Plan with IRA Financial Group and Wells Fargo can be completed in days:

  1.  Complete a short New Client Intake Form allowing us to customize your IRS approved Self-Directed Solo 401(k) Plan to satisfy your retirement, investment, and tax needs.
  2. Within 24 hours, your customized Self-Directed Solo 401(k) Plan will be drafted and sent to you for your review.
  3. Your assigned retirement tax specialist will review the plan documents with you.
  4. We will assist you in establishing your Self-Directed Solo 401(k) Plan with Wells Fargo or any other financial institution of your choice. In addition to Wells Fargo, IRA Financial Group has a relationship with Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and E-Trade.
  5. Once your new Self-Directed Solo 401(k) Plan has been opened, we will assist you in making a contribution or rolling over existing retirement funds into the plan.
  6. You are ready to take advantage of all the benefits your Self-Directed Solo 401(k) Plan has to offer, including making high annual contributions in pre-tax, Roth, or after-tax, borrowing up to $50,000, and making traditional as well as alternative asset investments, such as real estate, by simply writing a check or sending a wire from your new plan account.

See the many advantages of establishing a Self-Directed 401(k) Plan with IRA Financial Group and Wells Fargo.

High Annual Contribution Limits

While an IRA only allows a $5,500 contribution limit (with a $1,000 additional “catch up” contribution for those over age 50), the Solo 401(k) annual contribution limit is $55,000 for 2018 with an additional $6,000 catch-up contribution for those over age 50. In addition, if your spouse generates compensation from the business, he or she can also make high contributions to the plan.

Under the 2018 Solo 401(k) contribution rules, a plan participant under the age of 50 can make a maximum employee deferral contribution in the amount of $18,500. 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 $55,000.

For plan participants over the age of 50, an individual can make a maximum employee deferral contribution in the amount of $24,500. 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 $61,000.

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

A World of Investment Opportunities

By establishing a Solo 401(k) Plan with IRA Financial Group and opening the plan account with Wells Fargo, you will be able to invest in almost any type of investment opportunity that you discover, including real estate (rentals, foreclosures, raw land, tax liens etc.), private businesses, precious metals, hard money & peer to peer lending as well as stock and mutual funds; your only limit is your imagination. The income and gains from these investments will flow back into your Solo 401(k) Plan tax-free. Making an investment with your Solo 401(k) Plan is as simple as writing a check. As trustee of the Solo 401(k) Plan, you will have total control over your retirement assets to make real estate and other investments tax-free and without custodian consent.

Loan Feature

While an IRA offers no participant loan feature, by establishing a Solo 401(k) Plan with IRA Financial Group and opening the plan account with Wells Fargo, you will gain the ability to borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of the account value (whichever is less) for any purpose at a low interest rate (the lowest interest rate is Prime which is 4.50% as of 12/14/17). This offers a Solo 401(k) Plan participant the ability to access up to $50,000 for use for any purpose, including paying personal debt or funding a business.

“Checkbook Control” and No Custodian Fees

By establishing a Solo 401(k) Plan with IRA Financial Group and opening the plan account with Wells Fargo, you can serve as trustee of the plan giving you “Checkbook Control” over the plan’s funds. To this end, making an investment with your Solo 401(k) Plan is as easy as writing a check. Another significant benefit of the Solo 401(k) Plan is that it does not require the participant to hire a bank or trust company to serve as trustee. This flexibility allows the participant to serve in the trustee role. This means that all assets of the 401(k) trust are under the sole authority of the Solo 401k participant. A Solo 401(k) Plan allows you to eliminate the expense and delays associated with an IRA custodian, enabling you to act quickly when the right investment opportunity presents itself. Also, because the Solo 401(k) Plan trust account can be opened at any local bank or credit union (i.e., Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank, etc.), you will not be required to pay custodian fees for the account as you would in the case of an IRA.

Roth Type Contributions

With IRAs, those who earn high incomes are disallowed from contributing to a Roth IRA or converting their IRA to a Roth IRA. By establishing a Solo 401(k) Plan with IRA Financial Group and opening the plan account with Wells Fargo, your Solo 401(k) Plan contains a built-in Roth sub-account which can be contributed to without any income restrictions. With a Roth Solo 401(k) sub-account, you can make Roth type contributions while having the ability to make significantly greater contributions than with an IRA.

After-Tax Contributions

By establishing a Solo 401(k) Plan with IRA Financial Group and opening the plan account with Wells Fargo, you will be able to make after-tax contributions up to $55,000 (or $61,000 if over the age of 50). Unlike pre-tax employee deferral contributions, after-tax contributions can be made on a dollar-dollar basis and can be immediately converted to Roth without tax.

Cost Effective Administration

In general, the Solo 401(k) Plan is easy to operate. By establishing a Solo 401(k) Plan with IRA Financial Group and opening the plan account with Wells Fargo, there is generally no annual filing requirement unless your Solo 401(k) Plan exceeds $250,000 in assets, in which case you will need to file a short information return with the IRS (Form 5500-EZ).

Exemption from UDFI

When an IRA buys real estate that is leveraged with mortgage financing, it creates Unrelated Debt Financed Income (“UDFI”) – a type of Unrelated Business Taxable Income (also known as “UBTI or UBIT”) on which taxes must be paid. The UBTI tax is approximately 40% for 2018. But, with a Solo 401(k) Plan, you can use leverage without being subject to the UDFI rules and UBTI tax. By establishing a Solo 401(k) Plan with IRA Financial Group and opening the plan account with Wells Fargo, you can buy real estate and use a nonrecourse loan without triggering the UBTI tax. This exemption provides significant tax advantages for using a Solo 401(k) Plan versus an IRA to purchase real estate.

Work with the Leaders

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* Self-Directed IRA and Solo 401K Plan provider. We have helped over 15,500 clients establish IRS compliant Self-Directed IRA and Solo 401k Plans and invest over $4.9 billion in alternative assets, such as real estate.

If you would like to learn more about establishing a Self-Directed 401(k) Plan with IRA Financial Group and opening your plan account with Wells Fargo, please contact a Solo 401(k) Plan specialist at 800-472-0646.

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Jan 03

Everything You Need to Know About the Individual 401(k) for 2018

A Solo 401(k) Plan, also called an Individual 401(k) Plan, offers a self-employed business owner the ability to use their retirement funds to make almost any type of investment tax-free, including real estate on their own without requiring custodian consent. As long as a business exists with no full-time employees other than the owner and his/her spouse, an Individual 401(k) Plan can be established.

Everything You Need to Know About the Individual 401(k) for 2018An Individual 401(k) Plan is perfect for any sole proprietor, consultant, or independent contractor, such as a realtor, doctor, accountant, attorney, dentist, or sales agent. The Individual 401(k) Plan can be adopted by a sole proprietorship, LLC, Partnership, or Corporation.

There are many reasons why the Individual 401(k) Plan is considered the most attractive retirement solution for the self-employed.

High Contributions: Under the 2018 Solo 401(k) contribution rules, a plan participant under the age of 50 can make a maximum employee deferral contribution in the amount of $18,500. 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 $55,000.

For plan participants over the age of 50, an individual can make a maximum employee deferral contribution in the amount of $24,500. 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 $61,000.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roth 401(k) Conversion: The Individual 401(k) Plans allows for the conversion of pre-tax 401(k) funds to an after-tax Roth sub-account contained in the Individual 401(k) Plan. However, the Individual 401(k) Plan participant must pay income tax on the amount converted.

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

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

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

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

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Dec 29

How to Select the Best Solo 401(k) Provider

Selecting the best Solo 401(k) provider is an important decision that should be researched thoroughly.  Below are several tips to help you select the best Solo 401(k) Plan provider for your self-employed or small business retirement plan.

1. Always Make Sure You Are Working With a Tax & ERISA Professional: There are several companies on the internet that advertise themselves to be solo 401(k) plan providers and experts, however, in most cases, the people that would be involved in drafting your Solo 401(k) plan documents as well as advising you are not tax attorneys or even tax professionals. Working with an experienced tax & ERISA professionals when looking for a Solo 401(k) Plan provider is crucial in ensuring that your plan will be properly setup as well as remain in full IRS compliance. The Solo 401(k) plan is based on the rules found in the Internal Revenue Code, which can be quite complicated to the non-tax attorney. Therefore, it is strongly advisable to work with a Solo 401(k) Plan provider, like the IRA Financial Group or Bergman Law Group, to establish your IRS approved Solo 401(k) Plan. Relying on the advice of a document processor or no-tax professional when it comes to establishing and maintaining your retirement plan puts your retirement future at great risk. Too many times, plan participants have unknowingly violated IRS rules when operating their Solo 401(k) Plan because a plan provider representative that was not qualified to provide relevant tax advice gave them inaccurate and incomplete tax advice or drafted the plan documents incorrectly. Make sure this does not happen to you – work only with qualified 401(k) plan tax & ERISA professionals who have been specifically trained on the special tax aspects of the Solo 401(k) Plan to establish and maintain your Solo 401(k) Plan.

2. Open Architecture Self-Directed Solo 401(k) Plan Is the Way to Go: Not all Solo 401(k) Plans are the same.  Most Solo 401(k) Plans offered by a bank or financial institution are not self-directed.  What that means is that you will be restricted to making the investments offered by the bank or financial institution and will not be permitted to purchase real estate, precious metals, private business investments, option & currency trading, hard money loans, etc.  Once you adopt a Solo 401(k) Plan, you should have a plan that features all the IRS options available for qualified retirement plans, including the ability to make non-traditional investments, such as real estate. IRA Financial Group offers an open architecture Solo 401(k) Plan that allows you to make any IRS approved investment without requiring the consent of a custodian. As trustee of your Self-Directed Solo 401(k) Plan, you will have “checkbook control” over your plan funds and will have total control over plan assets.

How to Select the Best Solo 401(k) Provider

3. Take Advantage of Your Right to Borrow up to $50,000 from Your Plan: Not all Solo 401(k) Plans include a loan feature, which is an IRS approved feature. IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) Plan allows plan participants to borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of their account value (whichever is less) for any purpose, including paying credit card bills, mortgage payments, personal or business investments, a car, vacation, or anything else. The loan has to be paid back over a five-year period at least quarterly at a minimum prime interest rate (you have the option of selecting a higher interest rate).

4. Be Sure You Have a Roth Option: Most Solo 401(k) Plan providers do not allow for Roth (after-tax) contributions. IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) Plan contains a built in Roth sub-account which can be contributed to without any income restrictions.  In addition, most Solo 401(k) plan providers do not allow for in-plan Roth conversions or rollovers.  Whereas, IRA Financial Group’s Solo 401(k) Plan allows for in-plan Roth conversions. However, the Solo 401(k) Plan participant must pay income tax on the amount converted.

5. Ongoing Tax & 401(k) Plan Support is a Must: Just because your Solo 401(k) Plan has been established does not mean that you no longer need any ongoing tax and ERISA support.  Most Solo 401(k) Plan providers are headed for the exit once the plan has been established.  As you begin administering your Solo 401(k) Plan, whether it involves making employee deferral or profit sharing contributions, making a non-traditional investment, taking a plan loan, or considering a Roth conversion, you will want to be able to have the ability to consult with a specialized 401(k) Plan tax professionals and get specialized tax and ERISA advice based on your particular retirement or tax question.  The ongoing maintenance of the Solo 401(k) Plan is crucial in making sure your Solo 401(k) Plan remains in IRS compliance and that the IRS respects all your plan contributions and investment gains. Working directly with a 401(k) plan tax professional that has been specifically trained on the special tax aspects of the Solo 401(k) Plan will help keep your Solo 401(k) plan in full IRS compliance.

6. Take Control of Your Solo 401(k) Plan from the Plan Provider: Most Solo 401(k) Plan providers will require that you hold the plan assets at their institution. With IRA Financial Group’s Self-Directed Solo 401(k) Plan, you can hold the plan assets at the bank of your choosing and gain “checkbook control” over the funds. With IRA Financial Group, making an investment is as easy as writing a check.

7. Stay Away from Plan Providers who Outsource Their Plan Maintenance Services: Most Solo 401(k) Plan providers do not assist or offer advice with respect to the maintenance and administration of a Solo 401(k) Plan, including the completion of the IRS Form 5500-EZ. They generally refer all questions to an outside tax attorney or accountant. IRA Financial Group offers all of its Solo 401(k) Plan clients direct access to its in-house retirement tax professionals and CPAs regarding maintenance or administrative questions concerning the plan. Whether it’s answering a question about a plan feature, investment, an update in the law, or with help completing the IRS Form 5500-EZ, you will work one-on-one with an IRA Financial Group retirement tax professional and CPA who are familiar with your plan and retirement goals.

8. Stay Away from Excessive Annual Fees: Since most Solo 401(k) Plans have less the $250,000 in plan assets, there would be no annual filing requirement for the plan. Hence, why pay excessive annual administration fees to a plan provider who will not be offering you or your plan any value or services. Even if your Solo 401(k) Plan has in excess of $250,000 of plan assets, the IRS Form 5500-EZ is quite simple to complete and should not be too costly.

9. Don’t Take Tax Advice from a Salesperson – Talk Directly with a 401(k) Plan Tax Professional or CPA: Many times a salesperson or representative of a Solo 401(k) Plan provider will offer you tax or ERISA guidance with respect to a 401(k) plan feature or an investment without lacking the adequate knowledge or expertise. Make sure you are only receiving plan related advice or information from a specialized 401(k) plan tax professional. Too many times, plan participants have made improper plan contributions or invested in a prohibited transaction because they were mislead by a plan provider representative that was not qualified to provide proper tax advice regarding the unique features of the Solo 401(k) Plan. Working directly with a 401(k) plan tax professional that has been specifically trained on the special tax aspects of the Solo 401(k) Plan to establish and maintain your Solo 401(k) Plan is the only way you can guarantee your plan will remain in full IRS compliance and that you will not be engaging in any plan activities not approved by the Plan or the IRS.

To learn more about the importance of selecting the right solo 401(k) plan provider, please contact a retirement tax expert at 800-472-0646.

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Dec 27

How to Use an Individual 401(k) Loan to Make Investments

When it comes to using retirement funds, such as a Solo 401K Plan, to make investments, the question arises whether you can take a 401(k) Loan as part of the transaction.

How to Use an Individual 401(k) Loan to Make InvestmentsThe IRS has always allowed a Solo 401K Plan to make traditional as well as non-traditional investments such as real estate. However, the prohibited transaction rules under Internal Revenue Code Section 4975 restrict a Solo 401(k) Plan participant from engaging in certain transactions – prohibited transactions. Under IRC 4975, one of the categories of prohibited transactions involve a disqualified person personally guaranteeing a loan made to a Solo 401K Plan. A Solo 401K plan participant is treated as a disqualified person pursuant to IRC 4975. As a result, a Solo 401K, also known as an Individual 401K or Self Directed 401K Plan, cannot use a recourse loan to purchase property owned by a Plan because a disqualified person (Solo 401K Plan participant) cannot personally guarantee a loan. However, the IRS does allow for the 401K to use a nonrecourse loan to purchase real estate. A nonrecourse loan is a loan that does not require a personal guarantee on the part of the Solo 401K plan participant. In other words, a loan that would limit a lender’s (bank) ability to go after an individual personally for non-payment of the loan. Instead, the lender’s sole remedy would be to look to the underlying property as satisfaction of the loan. Of course, this type of loan is more difficult to acquire and can be more expensive for a borrower.

In general, Internal Revenue Code Section 514(c)(9) permits a few types of exempt organizations to make debt-financed investments in real property without becoming taxable under Code Section 514. Note – the exemption only applies to real estate and not to other types of nonrecourse financing, such as margin on stock.

The Section 514 exemption applies to any “qualified organization,” a term that includes (1) schools, colleges, universities, and their “affiliated support organizations,” (2) qualified pension, profit sharing, and stock bonus trusts, and (3) title holding companies exempt under § 501(c)(25). In general, indebtedness incurred by a qualified organization in acquiring or improving real property is not acquisition indebtedness if the transaction navigates through a long list of prohibitions. In other words, a Solo 401K Plan can use nonrecourse leverage when purchasing real property with Plan assets and not be subject to the Unrelated Debt-Financed Income rules, which in-turn trigger an Unrelated Business Taxable Income (UBTI or UBIT) tax (approximately 40% for 2017). Note – only nonrecourse leverage can be used when acquiring property by a 401K or Solo 401K Plan since, a disqualified person (401(k) plan participant or trustee) cannot personally guarantee the loan (recourse loan) since that would violate the prohibited transaction rules pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 4975. It is important to remember that this exemption would not apply to an IRA since an IRA is not a qualified pension, profit sharing, and stock bonus trusts.

To satisfy the exemption under Internal Revenue Code Section 514, the price paid by the organization for the property or improvement must be fixed when the property is acquired or the improvement is completed, neither the amount nor the due date of any payment under the indebtedness can be contingent on the revenue, income, or profits from the property, and the property may not be leased to the person who sold the property to the organization or to any person related to the seller within the meaning of Code Section 267(b) or Code Section 707(b). If the organization is a qualified pension, profit sharing, or stock bonus trust, the property may not be purchased from or leased to the employer of any of the employees covered by the trust or any one of several persons related to the employer. Financing for the property may not be received from the person who sold the property to the organization, a person related to the seller within the meaning of Code Section 267(b) or Code Section 707(b), or, if the organization is a qualified employee trust, an employer or related person who is disqualified from being seller or lessee under the rule described in the preceding sentence. The property must usually be owned directly by the qualified organization, except that an interest in a partnership or other pass-through entity qualifies if all of the partners or other owners are qualified organizations and each partner or other owner is allocated the same distributive share of every item of partnership income, deduction, and credit.

When § 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.

Many people ask why this exemption only applies to 401K Plans and not IRAs. 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.” The provision was originally limited to qualified employee trusts on the theory that the income would eventually be taxed to employees and their beneficiaries.

To learn more about the rules surrounding using a loan with a Solo 401K Plan to make an investment please contact a Solo 401K Expert at 800-472-0646.

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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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Oct 10

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

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

Advantages of Using a Self-Directed 401K

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Aug 04

The Advantages of the Roth Solo 401(k) Plan

The Roth Solo 401(k) Plan is the ultimate tax-free retirement solution for the self-employed. With federal and state income tax rates expected to increase in the future, gaining the ability to generate tax-free returns from your retirement investments when you retire is the last surviving legal tax shelter. With a Roth Solo 401K you can make almost any investment tax-free, including real estate, tax liens, precious metals, currencies, options, and private business investments.  Once you hit the age of 59 1/2 you will be able to live off your Roth 401K assets without ever paying tax. Imagine if someone told you that if you started making Roth 401K contributions in your forties and by just generating a modest rate of return, you could have over a million dollars tax-free when you retire. With a Roth 401K, live off the Roth 401K investment income tax-free or take a portion of your Roth 401K funds and use it for any purpose without ever paying tax.

The Roth Solo 401(k) Plan Advantages

Power of Tax-Free Investing: One of the main attractions to the self-directed Roth Solo 401(k) plan is based on the fact that qualified distributions of Roth earnings are tax-free. As long as certain conditions are met and the distribution is a qualified distribution, the Roth solo 401(k) plan participant will never pay tax on any Roth distributions received. The advantage of contributing to a Roth solo 401(k) plan is that income and gains generated by the Roth 401(k) investment can be tax-free and penalty-free so long as certain requirements are satisfied. Unlike with a pre-tax solo 401(k) plan contributions, contributions to a Roth solo 401(k) are not tax deductible.

 

The power of tax-free investing can be best illustrated by way of the following examples:

Example 1: Joe, a self-employThe Roth Solo 401(k) Plan is the ultimate tax-free retirement solution for the self-employed.ed consultant began funding a Roth solo 401(k) plan with $3,000 per year at age 20 and would continue on through age 65. At age 65 Joe would wind up with $2.5 million at retirement (assuming they earn the long-run annual compound growth rate in stocks, which was 9.88 percent from 1926 to 2011). Not a bad result for investing only $3,000 a year.

Example 2: Ben, a self-employed real estate agent, who is 30 years began funding a Roth solo 401(k) plan with $8000 and wanted to know how much he would have at age 70 if he continued to make $8000 annual contributions and was able to earn at an 8% rate of return. Ben did some research and was astonished that at age 70 he would have a whopping $ 2,238,248 tax-free which he can then live off or pass to his wife or children tax-free.

Example 3: Mary, a self-employed real estate investor, who is 35 years began funding a Roth solo 401(k) plan with $13000 and wanted to know how much she would have at age 70 if she continued to make $13000 annual contributions and was able to earn at a 10% rate of return, which she felt was possible based off her past real estate investment returns. Mary did some research and was astonished that at age 70 she would have a whopping $ 3,875,649 tax-free which she could then live off or pass to her husband and children tax-free.

I am sure it may be hard for some of you to comprehend that putting away just a few thousand dollars a year in a Roth Solo 401(k) plan can leave you with millions of dollars tax-free. It’s as simple as making annual contributions to your Roth Solo 401(k) Plan and then generating tax-free returns from making real estate or other investments with your solo 401(k) plan.

High Contributions: A Roth Solo 401(k) combines features of the traditional 401(k) with those of the Roth IRA. Like a Solo 401K Plan, the Roth Solo 401K Plan is perfect for any self-employed individual or small business owner with no employees. The Roth Solo 401K Plan contains the same advantages of a Solo 401(k) Plan, but as with a Roth IRA, contributions are made with after-tax dollars. While you don’t get an upfront tax-deduction, the Roth 401K account grows tax-free, and withdrawals taken during retirement aren’t subject to income tax, provided you’re at least 59 1/2 and you’ve held the account for five years or more.

The Roth Solo 401(k) can offer advantages to self-employed individuals who wish to maximize their ability to generate tax-free retirement savings while receiving the ability to invest in real estate, precious metals, private businesses or funds tax-free and without custodian consent.

Unlike a Roth IRA, which limits individual Roth IRA contributions to $5,500 annually ($6,500 if the individual is 50 years or older), in 2017, with a Roth Solo 401(k) account, an individual can make Roth (after-tax) contributions of up to $18,000, or $24,000 for those 50 or older by the end of the year — allowing individuals to stock away thousands of dollars more in tax-free retirement income than they would through a Roth IRA.

A Roth Solo 401(k) is perfect for sole proprietors, small businesses and independent contractors such as consultants. The Roth Solo 401(k) plan is unique and so popular because it is considered the last remaining legal tax shelter available. There are so many features of the Roth Solo 401(k) plan that make it so appealing and popular among self-employed business owners.

Unlimited Investment Opportunities: With a Roth 401(k) Plan or Roth 401(k) plan sub-account, you can invest your after-tax Roth 401(k) Plan funds in real estate, precious metals, tax liens, private business investments, and much more tax-free! Unlike with a pre-tax 401(k) Plan, with a Roth 401(k) account, all income and gains would flow back tax-free to your account. As long as you have reached the age of 59 1/2 and have had the Roth 401(k) account opened at least five years, you can take Roth 401(k) Plan distributions tax-free. In other words, you can live off your Roth 401(k) Plan assets or income tax-free. With federal income tax rates expected increase, the ability to have a tax-free source of income upon retirement may be the difference between retiring early or not.

Loan Feature: While an IRA offers no participant loan feature, the Roth Solo 401k allows participants to borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of their account value (whichever is less) for any purpose at a low interest rate (the lowest interest rate is Prime which is 4.25% as of 6/23/17). This offers a Roth Solo 401(k) Plan participant the ability to access up to $50,000 to use for any purpose, including paying personal debt or funding a business.

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

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

Exemption from UDFI: When an IRA buys real estate that is leveraged with mortgage financing, it creates Unrelated Debt Financed Income (“UDFI”) – a type of Unrelated Business Taxable Income (also known as “UBTI” or “UBIT”) on which taxes must be paid. The UBTI tax is approximately 40% for 2017. Whereas, with a Roth Solo 401(k) plan, you can use leverage without being subject to the UDFI rules and UBTI tax. This exemption provides significant tax advantages for using a Roth Solo 401(k) Plan versus an IRA to purchase real estate.

To learn more about the Roth Solo 401(k) Plan, please contact a 401(k) expert at 800-472-0646.

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