Did you know tax liens can be purchased with retirement account funds? Yes, it’s true! By Self-Directing your IRA LLC or Solo 401k Plan investments into tax liens, your profits are tax-deferred back into your retirement account. More importantly, purchases can be made on the spot as fast as you can write a check. But hold on a minute! What are “tax liens”? A tax lien is Uncle Sam’s (most likely the city or county’s) claim on your property. They are usually placed when a taxpayer, such as a business or individual, fails to pay taxes owed. You probably don’t know much about tax liens right now. However, by the end of this article you will know how they can multiply your earnings in a tax-deferred IRA LLC or 401k, making them one of the soundest investments in your retirement account. The purchase of tax lien certificates is a surprisingly safe investment. The transaction is fast for those using a Self-Directed IRA LLC or Solo 401k. The use of a Self-Directed IRA LLC is actually one of the most tax efficient ways to finance your tax lien purchase. But this doesn’t mean the Solo 401k isn’t great for buying tax liens. On the contrary, the Solo 401k Plan offers a loan feature allowing for the purchase of tax liens. Under the Solo 401k Plan, you can borrow up to either $50,000 or 50% of your account value at the prime interest rate + 1%. What You Should Know About Tax Liens Real estate has long been considered one of the greatest investment opportunities for both the large and small investors. Ask yourself, how do real estate investors make money in a post recession climate? By purchasing properties for a fraction of their value! The question is how? The answer is: Tax Lien Sales. Where Do Lien Sales Originate? When a property owner falls behind on their taxes, failing to pay for one or more years, the local taxing authority has the legal right to place a lien/repossess the property and sell it at auction to get the lost tax revenue. How long local authorities wait to seize individual properties, and how much they allow to be owed on it before one of these events is up to the lien laws in their particular area. Properties are often shockingly acquired for a few thousand dollars, regardless of how much they’re actually worth! Similarly, paying off the lien on other properties may cost more than the house or land is worth. The key to investing in tax liens is to take your time to research each property carefully before sale/auction day. When & Where Do Tax Lien Sales Take Place? Tax lien sales usually take place at public auctions. How often depends on the area in where it is located, and how many properties the government may seize annually for back taxes. For example, larger urban areas may hold monthly auctions, while smaller rural ones might only have one auction a year. 2 Types of Tax Liens There are two types of tax lien sales through auction: the tax lien certificate and the tax lien deed. So what exactly are these liens? Tax Lien Certificate The Tax Lien Certificate offers a delinquent homeowner who has fallen behind on their taxes one last chance to retain ownership of their property. The certificate gives them a chance to use third-party investment money to pay off the taxes and a bit more time to collect the money needed to pay their debt without the risk of losing their home. When you bid on a tax lien certificate, you are agreeing to loan the homeowner the money needed to pay all taxes due. The homeowner in turn agrees to pay you, the tax lien certificate holder, back with interest by a specified date. If the homeowner fails to pay the debt on time, the deed to the property is transferred to you for the amount paid on the taxes. Either way you make a profit. Whether your profit is on the interest you earn on the loan or by obtaining the property for a fraction of its value through the tax lien sale and then reselling it. Tax Lien Deed Tax Lien Deed sales are handled a bit differently, since you are actually buying/bidding for the property at the time of auction, with no responsibility to give the homeowner more time to pay his/her tax debt. Once the selling price is approved, the deed is automatically transferred to you. Which gives you free reign as to what to do with the property next. You could renovate it, sell it as is or build a new home. Properties in this type of tax lien sale tend to cost more, which may lower your profit margins compared to the acquisition of tax lien certificate properties. But the advantage to this lien is that you don’t have to worry about homeowners. Either way, investing in tax liens can be a profitable and easy way to enter the real estate market. 3 Ways You Can Make Money With Tax Liens. Supercharge Your IRA. You can buy tax lien certificates with your Self-Directed IRA LLC or Solo 401k. For example, let’s say you buy a tax lien certificate which earns 16% of your initial investment annually. When you buy tax lien investments you receive the amount invested plus interest within 12 months. If you continue to reinvest in tax liens year after year at 16%, you can double your money in about 4 years. Note: Only a Self-Directed IRA LLC can preserve this 16% return, as traditional IRAs can’t invest in tax liens. Grow Your Retirement Money Tax Free. By buying tax liens with a Self-Directed IRA LLC or Solo 401k, you can avoid all taxes until the money invested is withdrawn from your IRA or 401k, which is usually around age 59 1/2. (Unless you like giving the IRS free money.) The money can be invested once, twice or a thousand times and continue to grow tax-free, so long as it is not withdrawn for personal use. Flexibility. With a Self-Directed IRA LLC, you can serve as the trustee. This means that all assets of the 401k trust are under your sole authority. This gives you the freedom to fund any investment anytime. As trustee, you can buy tax liens with the stroke of the pen, without a custodian trying to charge you fees or slow you down. Tax liens are backed and leveraged by the property being “liened” and are guaranteed by the taxing authority. In most states, they are a first lien on real estate, and when foreclosed, they wipe out all junior liens (such as mortgages). Which means you can snag a valuable piece of real estate for next to nothing! Tax Liens Are A Great Investment Opportunity. Real estate has been the cornerstone of wealth since the beginning of civilization. Even cave men had caves! Although many people have left the real estate market because of the housing bust, many real estate investors are still enjoying huge profits by investing in tax liens. To learn more about buying tax liens with a Self-Directed IRA LLC, call Royal Legal Solutions today at (512) 757–3994 to schedule your free consultation!