With real estate prices depressed and a lot of wealth sitting in qualified plans, you may wonder how you can use that wealth to invest in real estate. In this article I offer considerations and strategies for using your IRA to position yourself in real estate for your future benefit.
People have taken advantage of their qualified plan deductible contributions - and often company matching contributions- to accumulate substantial savings. How can they use that money if they feel now is the time to invest in real estate?
If you want to use your employer-related qualified plan money, request your company to roll it over directly into to your own IRA tax free. Now decide how you want to invest or distribute that money. You can purchase real estate, but you'll have to transfer your IRA money to a self-directed IRA.
You must avoid using your self-directed IRA for "prohibited transactions". These prevent you from using your IRA account for "self-dealing". As an example, you can't use your IRA
* To buy stock or other assets from you or sell them to you,
* To lend to you or borrow from you, or
* To engage in transactions with certain related parties and/or family members.
So, in the case of real estate, you can only use it for your own benefit when you finally take an 'in-kind' distribution of the real estate in your IRA to yourself.
Tax considerations for real estate and deductible and Roth IRAs: Real estate is already a tax advantaged investment. Buying real estate for its rental income and appreciation carries all sorts of tax breaks. You get deductions against it rental income for the expenses of carrying the real estate. These include maintenance, mortgage interest payments, and depreciation. If deductions exceed your rental income, you can use the excess against your other income. Lastly, the sale of your real estate is subject to capital gains tax which is low for long term (greater than 1 year) holding periods.
Real estate in an IRA loses all these tax advantages. You're left over with only IRA tax characteristics. For a deductible IRA, that includes deductible contributions to it, tax-deferred growth of its yearly earnings, but its distributions are subjected to income taxation. The latter can be quite severe. You also must make minimum retired distributions (MRDs) when you pass 701/2.
A Roth IRA gives you tax free yearly earnings and distributions come out tax free -and no MRDs ever. But the kicker is that whatever goes into it must be taxed as income - a very expensive proposition.
You can see that the IRA - of the self-direct kind or not - has an expensive income tax barrier - either coming out or going in. That means your investment gain must clearly overcome that high tax hurdle to make it worthwhile. Let's consider some strategies.
Real estate strategies for the person with a lot of qualified plan money to invest If your money is tied up in your IRA (or qualified plan), and you want to take advantage of depressed real estate prices, here are three strategies to consider:
Real estate outside IRA strategy:
Use distributions from your traditional, deductible IRA to purchase and pay annual costs for real estate you buy outside you IRA. Since it's outside your IRA, you can self-deal all you want. Use it as a rental or as a second home.
But arrange for its mortgage interests, depreciation, and other expenses to offset the income tax on your IRA distributions. That way you'll keep all the future real estate tax advantages safe for your use.
Real estate inside your IRA - 2 strategies:
If you decide to buy real estate within your self-directed IRA, you can consider using a deductible IRA or a Roth IRA. But you lose all those real estate tax advantages.
So you're looking for two big investment benefits of real estate to best use within an IRA:
* higher yearly earnings since these are either tax deferred (deductible IRA) or tax free (Roth IRA) and
* high appreciation - to more than offset the distribution income tax (deductible IRA) or the initial rollover income tax into a Roth IRA.
I would opt for using a Roth IRA rather than the deductible IRA. Although you're getting hit by a lot of income tax to fund it, you're presumably buying depressed real estate that'll appreciate a lot over years. And all rental earning and future appreciation is never taxed. Lastly, you'll never have to worry about making MRDs.
When you make an in-kind distribution of your real estate for your use, your basis in it will be equal to the value associated with the income tax you paid for it.
Shane Flait is a writer and consultant on financial, legal, tax, and
retirement issues. He explains the issues and gives you workable
strategies to accomplish your goals. Find out more and get a free
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3 Strategies for Using Your IRA to Invest in Real Estate
Posted in: Financial Security, Real Estate, Tax Advantaged Investments
By Shane Flait
May 31, 2009 - 10:33:19 PM
By Shane Flait
May 31, 2009 - 10:33:19 PM