Top 10 Features Of The Solo 401k Plan: Empower Your Business

Are you an independent contractor or the only employee of a business you own? If so, you may want to learn about the Solo 401k.

A Solo 401k is a dream come true for small businesses, independent contractors and sole proprietors, such as consultants or freelance writers. A Solo 401k Plan can be adopted by any business with no employees other than the owner(s).

The business can be a sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, or partnership. The Solo 401k is a tax efficient and cost effective plan offering all the benefits of a Self-Directed IRA, plus additional features.

Solo 401k Features and Benefits

1. Easy to maintain.

There is no annual filing requirement unless your solo 401k plan exceeds $250,000 in assets. If it does you will need to file a short information return with the IRS (Form 5500-EZ).

2. Freedom of choice and tax-free investing.

With a Solo 401K Plan, you will be able to invest in almost any type of investment opportunity, including:

Your only limit is your imagination.
Note: The income and gains from these investments will flow back into your Solo 401K Plan tax-free.

3.You can get a loan.

The Solo 401k allows you to borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of your account value, whichever is less. The interest rate will be the current prime rate. You can use the money for anything you want.

4. No Custodian fees.

A Solo 401k plan allows you to eliminate the expense and delays that come with an IRA custodian. This enables you to act quickly when the right investment opportunity presents itself.

Also, because you can open a Solo 401k at any local bank or credit union you won't have to pay custodian fees for the account as you would in the case of an IRA.

Another benefit of the Solo 401k plan is that it doesn't require you to hire a bank or trust company to serve as trustee. This flexibility allows you to serve in the trustee role. This means all assets of the 401k trust are under your direct control.

5. High 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) contribution limits are $54,000.  (With an additional $6,000 catch up contribution if you're over age 50.)

Under the 2017 Solo 401k contribution rules, if you're under the age of 50 you can make a maximum employee deferral contribution in the amount of $18,000. That amount can be made in pre-tax or after tax. The after-tax method is known as the Roth account.

On the profit sharing side, your 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 your employee deferral, of $54,000.

If you're over the age of 50, you 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). (Up to a combined maximum of $60,000.)

6. Contribution options.

You always have the option to contribute as much as legally possible, as well as the option of reducing or even suspending plan contributions if necessary.

7. Roth contributions.

The Solo 401k plan contains a built-in Roth sub-account you can contribute to without any income restrictions. With a Roth sub-account, you can make Roth type contributions while having the ability to make significantly greater contributions than with an IRA.

8. Tax deductions can offset the cost of your plan.

By paying for your Solo 401k with business funds, you would be eligible to claim a deduction for the cost of the plan, including annual maintenance fees.

9. Exemption from UDFI tax.

When an IRA buys real estate that is leveraged with mortgage financing, it creates Unrelated Debt Financed Income (UDFI). This means you're going to be paying a lot of money in taxes!

How much is a lot you ask? The UBTI tax is approximately 40% for 2017-2018! Learn more details about this whopping tax penalty from our previous UBTI breakdown.

But, with a Solo 401k plan, you can use leverage without being subject to the UDFI rules and UBTI tax. This exemption provides significant tax advantages for using a Solo 401k Plan over an IRA for real estate purchases.

10. Rollover options.

A Solo 401k plan can accept rollovers of funds from another retirement savings vehicle, such as an IRA, a SEP, or a previous employer's 401k plan. Which means you can directly rollover your IRA or qualified plan funds to your new 401k Plan for investment or loan purposes.
Note: Roth IRA funds can't be rolled into a Solo 401k Plan.

Still Using an IRA?

While the IRA is nice and all, it just can't compete. With a solo 401k plan, your business will pay less in tax, and you won't have to deal with the typical IRA restrictions.

Are you interested in learning more about Solo 401ks? Call Royal Legal Solutions at (512) 757–3994 to schedule your retirement consultation today.

Do You Need An IRA Custodian?

Every IRA is required to have a custodian. But not everyone needs or wants the services of a custodian. Most of the time investors are forced to use custodians due to the way traditional IRAs are set up.

A custodian is someone you need to finalize your deals. You might even have a custodian choose your investments for you. And if that's the case, you want to make sure you have a custodian who knows the prohibited transaction rules inside and out.

Keep in mind, not all IRA custodians are created equal and the IRS isn't lenient. If your custodian breaks the prohibited transaction rules with your IRA funds, you're the one they'll penalize, not your custodian.

The Self-Directed IRA Custodian

As I said earlier, not everyone wants or needs an IRA custodian. And that's where the self-directed IRA comes in. Investors with self-directed IRAs can take on the responsibilities of a custodian.

Yes, that's right, these investors volunteer to do more work. The benefits of doing your custodian's job include the following:

But you can't just become your own IRA custodian right away. You'll need to know the IRS's prohibited transaction rules. Unless you want to pay a steep penalty tax.

When you're your own custodian, you can also get an attorney who's familiar with the IRS's rules to look over your deals for you. An attorney will be able to make sure your deals are in compliance with IRS rules and not disqualified transactions.

Always remember, with an IRA custodian you get what you pay for. Same thing with an attorney. If you plan on investing purely by yourself, make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. The IRS isn't known for being lenient.

If you need assistance managing your retirement account or reviewing your IRS compliance, schedule your consultation with our online tool.

The Different Kinds of LLCs & The Way They Pay Taxes

Surprise surprise, for every different kind of LLC, there are also different taxes. It's important for you to know the different taxes for each kind of LLC. You want to keep your friends at the IRS on your good side, don't you?
Let's go over the different types of LLCs, along with the taxes you have to pay for each particular LLC.

The Single-Member LLC

The single-member LLC is an LLC with only one member, as its name suggests. The single-member LLC will always have passthrough LLC tax treatment. This means that instead of having to pay the 39.1%  corporate tax, you can include the profits of your LLC on your personal income taxes.

A Married Couple LLC

A married couple LLC is an LLC whose only members are two people who are married to each other. A married couple LLC will usually have pass-through tax treatment. But this isn't the case if the LLC is formed in a community property state.

If your LLC is formed in a community property state, you will have to file a partnership tax return for your LLC. As of 2018, the following states have community property laws: Louisiana, Arizona, California, Texas, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.

If you file a partnership return, you and your spouse will have to include your respective share of the profits on your income taxes.

Multi-Member LLC

If your LLC has two members that aren't married, then it's considered a multi-member LLC. A multi-member LLC receives pass-through tax treatment. Each member will claim his or her share of the LLC's profits on their respective personal tax returns.

The Series LLC

If you've read my blog before, you may already know a bit about the Series LLC. The Series LLC allows you to create as many "series" as you want. They operate directly under your original LLC, but are treated separately for liability purposes. When it comes to paying taxes with an LLC, things can get tricky.

For example, in California, each series in a Series LLC will have to pay an $800 franchise tax. But in Delaware, no matter how many series you have in your Series LLC, you'd only pay the $300 franchise tax one time.

Because the Series LLC is fairly new, most states allow you to choose the way it gets taxed. Although as new laws get passed, this may or may not change from state to state.

If you have any questions about the tax treatment of LLC's feel free to ask me in the comments below, I'd be glad to help you! In the meantime, check out our previous posts to learn more about pass through tax treatment.