Who Owns the LLC in a Self-Directed IRA?

Who owns the LLC in a selfdirected IRA

An LLC provides the IRA account owner with checkbook control and can reduce or even eliminate custodian fees, making purchasing and selling real estate, mortgage notes and privately held businesses that aren’t publicly traded easier.

However, an IRA should take care not to engage in prohibited transactions such as pooling funds with related parties or engaging in prohibited commingling of funds with related parties. Prior to forming an LLC it is crucial that advice from a knowledgeable tax or investment professional is sought before initiating its formation.

Ownership Structure

An LLC (limited liability company) is a simple form of state-sanctioned business entity that provides some level of protection to its owners. Real estate investors commonly utilize LLCs as vehicles for property investments; its structure offers benefits like checking account control and ease of accessing assets such as promissory notes, deeds and titles.

Utilizing an LLC for non-traditional asset investments can bring many tax advantages that might otherwise not be available through other structures like trusts or ETFs. It’s crucial, though, to abide by IRS rules regarding prohibited transactions and disqualified parties in order to avoid hefty tax bills later on.

One alternative to LLC investing is investing in a C corporation, although this requires more work upfront, it may save time and money by bypassing custodian reviews. Also, an IRA investor can exercise control by funding the C corporation directly before purchasing investment properties or assets directly from it.


IRS allows Self-Directed IRAs to invest in alternative investments like real estate and LLCs; however, you must comply with all IRS rules when setting up these LLCs, including disqualified persons and prohibited transactions rules. It’s also essential to understand any taxes due on LLC income.

An LLC may generate taxable income, such as rental real estate income or capital gains from other assets it owns, which falls under Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT). As owner, the IRA owner is responsible for reporting this UBIT and filing the necessary IRS forms annually.

An IRA LLC provides many advantages, such as being able to keep personal funds separate and enjoying asset protection built into its structure. It is important, however, to carefully weigh any of its advantages or disadvantages against alternatives like self-directed REITs, real estate ETFs or crowdfunding property investments before making your final decision.


An LLC is a type of business entity often used by investors to house non-traditional investments and protect personal assets from debts and liabilities associated with running an entity such as an IRA. By opting for this structure, investors gain more control over investment decisions without being restricted by traditional custodians.

An IRA owned LLC must be properly set up and managed in order to remain compliant. A financial advisor with expertise in self directed IRAs may help. SmartAsset’s free tool connects users with pre-vetted advisors in their locality.

LLCs can have any number of members, known as owners. Assets from an IRA can be moved directly into an LLC bank account for checkbook control and check writing to purchase investment properties. Real estate is one of the more popular alternatives held by an LLC as an alternative investment asset; this may include single-family homes to multi-family buildings as well as contracts for sale and lease options.


An IRA LLC allows investors to invest in nontraditional assets like real estate, private companies and promissory notes (also known as mortgage notes). Utilizing such an arrangement allows your retirement portfolio to benefit from investing in nontraditional investments which may not be offered through traditional custodians.

Before investing, however, it is wise to carefully research each investment to ensure it doesn’t violate IRS rules on prohibited transactions or disqualified persons and consult qualified experts to ensure your LLC structure and transactions comply with law.

An IRA LLC must also maintain records of its income, expenses and purchases. Usually the manager of an LLC fulfills this role; however, if using your IRA to invest in multi-member LLCs that incur UBIT or UDFFI taxes then its owner will need to do this as well. For more advice and help on investing with an IRA LLC contact one of SmartAsset’s advisors; our free tool connects users with qualified financial advisers near them who can assist with meeting retirement goals.

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