Question: I recently opened a traditional IRA with your office.
Before I direct Quest to invest the money in “ABC Realty LLC”, I want to make sure I understand what I can and can not do as a realtor as it relates to providing services to the LLC (ABC Realty LLC) of which my IRA will be a member investor.
FYI – We have set up the LLC so that my brother, who is a non-IRA investor, is the ‘managing member’ of “ABC Realty LLC”. He is the only one who will have signature authority to sign contracts, issue checks, etc…
“ABC Realty LLC” is planning to flip single family homes. When the homes are purchased and certainly when they are ready to be sold, can I, as a licensed realtor, list the homes and represent “ABC Realty LLC” in negotiations as long as I do not receive any compensation or commission?
Thank you and kindest regards.
Answer: First, let me make it clear that, as indicated below, Quest cannot give you tax, legal or investment advice. While we strive to provide the best education possible for our clients, we cannot play the role of advisor, since these are self-directed IRAs.
You ask a very good question to which there is no clear answer. The conservative approach would be to avoid acting as the agent for property to be purchased or sold by ABC Realty LLC. The problem is that one of the prohibited transactions in Internal Revenue Code Section 4975(c) is that you cannot directly or indirectly provide “goods, services, or facilities” between a plan and a disqualified person. Where the line is between your duties as a fiduciary to your IRA and the prohibition against providing services is I cannot tell you. It is possible also that the IRS might consider your brokerage activity as an excess contribution under Internal Revenue Code Section 4973. That seems to be a favored technique of the IRS these days. The problem may be exacerbated by your naming of the LLC, since it contains your last name. I assume your brother’s last name is the same also?
As you correctly state below, under no circumstances can you receive compensation for anything you do relating to your IRA’s investment activity.
Remember, any and all expenses for your IRA’s investments must come from the IRA and any income must go to the IRA. Neither you nor any other disqualified person may benefit from the IRA’s investments, other than of course when you take a distribution from the IRA. All transactions must be on an arms-length basis.
Finally, you mentioned that the LLC will flip single family homes. Depending on your volume and the way you handle it, such activity may be considered Unrelated Business Income which may subject the IRA’s profits to taxation, even though the IRA is normally tax exempt. You may find out more information on this topic in IRS Publication 598. Also, I have attached some information on the subject for your review.
I’m sorry that I am unable to give you clear, definitive answers or any tax, legal or investment advice. I wish you the best of luck with your investments. Have a great day!