Borrowing against Your IRA: 6 Common Questions about IRA Loan

Posted on Jun 26, 2017

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IRA loans for property and investments may seem like a good idea, but there are some risks to consider. These 6 FAQs will help you understand more about them: IRA loans for property and investments may seem like a good idea, but there are some risks to consider. These 6 FAQs will help you understand more about them:

Can an IRA Loan Be Taken and is it a Good Idea?

Technically, you can’t borrow against your IRA or take a loan directly from it. What you can do, however, is use the “60-day rollover rule” as a method of financing expenses, loans or investments. Essentially, money taken out of an IRA can be put back into it or another qualified tax-advantaged account within 60 days, without taxes and penalties.

When Should You Borrow against Your IRA?

Honestly, never. The risk is too great. That being said, the 60-day rollover period can help with a financial emergency or time-sensitive investment opportunity.

For instance, it can be helpful when you’re negotiating a real estate deal that you intend to finance with a mortgage, when you have no other source of funds for medical expenses, or are expecting a tax refund or money from other sources.

Explore all other avenues first, such as:

• Making a tax-free withdrawal from the initial investment in a Roth IRA
• Taking a loan on margin against stocks in your investment portfolio
• Loans from friends or family, who won’t charge you interest if you’re late by a day

Also, make sure that mortgages, other financing options or incoming funds with which you plan to pay back IRA loans will definitely be completed within 60 days. Leave room for potential setbacks such as public holidays and delays in paperwork.

What Happens if You Fail to Pay Back the Loan?

If you fail to pay back your IRA loan within 60 days, the money will be treated as a taxable distribution from the account. If you’re under 59½ years of age, you will also be liable for a 10% early withdrawal penalty in addition to income tax.

There are a few exceptions to the 60-day rollover requirement, like receiving incorrect advice from a financial advisor or falling sick. However, there’s no guarantee that you will qualify for an extension or waiver.

There’s one more risk to consider. In case you use IRA loans to tide you over during a bad financial time but go bankrupt during the 60-day rollover period, you will still owe the IRS any tax and penalty applied to the amount withdrawn.

Is There Any Penalty for Taking IRA Loans?

As long as you pay back the loan within 60 days, tax and penalties don’t apply, but you may be liable for a 6% excess contribution fine if you make more than one rollover within a 12 month period for each IRA.

What are the Qualification Criteria for IRA Loans?

Certain lenders offer non-recourse IRA loans for the purchase of rental property, where property itself acts as security, instead of the account holder or IRA.

To qualify for an IRA non-recourse loan:

  • The property must be marketable and in rentable condition
  • The property must have a strong cash flow
  • You must have 30%-40% of the property’s purchase price in a self directed IRA, to cover down payment and fees

What is the Process for IRA Loans?

  • Check if the property is eligible for financing, complete the loan application, and provide recent IRA statements to the bank. If you’re married, include your spouse’s name.
  • Review the procedures and documents required by your IRA custodian. Complete and sign these, and get the real estate contract signed by the custodian.
  • Coordinate with the custodian to get funds directly transferred from your IRA to the financing bank for fees and appraisals.
  • Ensure that the IRA is listed as insured, with a minimum policy term of one year. Provide the bank with invoice and policy copies at least two weeks before closing.
  • After the bank reviews your application, verifies your documents, orders an appraisal and confirms the closing date, you will be notified if your loan is approved.
  • After approval, your IRA custodian should execute your real estate documents as “read and approved” before closing, and then transfer the down payment and closing fees directly from your IRA to the title company.
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