and Here is Why…
Some of you have probably noticed, and hopefully, have used the Ask the Experts button on our website, SunwestTrust.com, but most likely a lot of you haven’t. So today, we are going to address our motive behind the Ask the Experts button, as well as how to use it and some encouragement for you to use it when you have a tax or legal question about your IRA.
We often have questions from clients concerning taxes, or how an issue may be viewed by the IRS, or in some cases, legal questions.
The truth of the matter is custodians, such as ourselves, are not paid to provide this type of information and in return do not charge for this either. Operating in this way allows us to simply use our flat annual fee instead of percentages of your earnings on investments like you would see from brokers.
If you have specific IRA question or investment question, feel free to reach out to JM Consulting. We have contracted with them to help you answer your questions for free. Click the image below in order to get your burning question answered.
Ask A Self Directed IRA Expert
The second reason we cannot give legal advice or answer tax questions is we simply don’t know your entire situation. For example, an IRA holder could call and ask if they can buy a piece of property and rent it to an individual with a different last name then the IRA holder. The custodian, knowing what he knows, would say “that sounds like a reasonable transaction,” but, in fact, the individual wanting to rent the property bought in the IRA is the IRA holders daughter who is married and has a different last name, which would subsequently classify this as a prohibited transaction. On paper this could look like a legitimate deal, but when all the facts have been brought to light, it becomes a deal breaker and it could cost the IRA holder hefty penalties and taxes. Custodians don’t know your full situations, but a trusted CPA should, and should have a general knowledge of self directed IRA’s. If they don’t have a strong understanding of the self directed IRAs, you can call us for your own copy of The Self Directed IRA Handbook to use as a great reference guide.
And, lastly, we are not regulated to do so. We are not licensed in any way to give advice in most tax or legal situations. To avoid legal ramifications, we avoid offering tax and legal advice to all clients.
With that said, in an attempt to give you some general feedback for the important questions you have that we cannot answer, we have created the Ask the Expert button on our website. As such, we hired JM Consulting a few years back to step in and help us out. It’s a basic process. Click the Ask the Experts button on the website and send them your question via email. Sometimes there is some research involved so they will return the email within 48 hours. The answers given are a conservative approach based on the internal revenue code and the department of labor. Often times, the client will then take that answer to their trusted CPA and find solutions to their original IRA question.
We encourage you to use this feature as often as you need. It’s a great tool among many we offer here at Sunwest to ensure you can find the information you need easily. Keep up with SunwestTrust.com for great tips and more features.
We appreciate any referrals that are sent to us, but I would like to make it very clear that Sunwest Trust does not endorse ANY investment product or service, nor do we give any investment advice. The purpose of this blog and our newsletter is simply to provide information about different types of investments that are available. We provide all information in a straight forward manner. There’s not any single investing approach that is right for everyone. This is why it’s very important to do your own research and to discuss investment opportunities with a trusted financial or tax professional.
Should I Invest In Rentals?
We cannot answer questions like these. What should I invest in with my IRA or Does this real estate deal make sense for my IRA or I am looking to further diversify and purchase tax liens, are they right for me based on the assets held in my IRA? These questions should be closely held between you and your financial advisor. Also, just because we say that the IRS says you can invest your IRA into tax liens or condos, does not mean that our firm or the IRS are giving tacit approval for your specific investment. Likewise, just because you can invest in stocks with an IRA, does not mean that you should either. The information that we provide on our site and on other sites for that matter are limited to information purposes only and should not be seen as investment advice.
I get phone calls and emails every day from people asking what types of investments they should make with their IRAs. I tell all of these clients that we cannot give investment or tax advice. The one piece of advice that I can offer is to use what you know. If you don’t know anything about the real estate market, then flipping houses is probably not a good idea for you. Find investments that you know something about and feel comfortable doing. We encourage all clients to speak with their personal CPA or a tax professional before making any investment decisions.
We, as a company, feel that we can provide the best service to our customers by remaining completely impartial. We’re not here to tell you how to invest your money. After all, isn’t that the reason why you started a self-directed IRA in the first place?
Employee Contest – And the Winner Is…
Recently, we had a contest here in the office to see how many times our employees could find the phrase “Sunwest Trust does not provide tax or legal advice” on our website, YouTube channel, setup paperwork, blog, etc. For each time that an employee found this wording, they were paid a small prize. With one week left to go in the contest our employees have found that phrase 153 times and I’m sure that they’ll find even more as the contest progresses.
My Teacher Said, We’re Gonna Do This Over, and Over, and Over Until We Get It Right
Even with all this repetition, we still receive calls asking for tax and legal advice. Make sure to take advantage of all the free resources we provide. We provide you with tons of FREE videos, blogs and newsletters that explain the IRS rules regarding IRA and 401(k) investing, but we cannot provide specific personal tax, legal or investment advice. If you need tax, legal or investment advice, then please make sure to retain your own investment advisor, CPA or attorney.
Full Video Transcript
Hi my name is Terry white CEO of Sunwest Trust and this afternoon I want to talk about the “Ask the expert,” we have in the front of our website. I’ll explain to you a little bit more about that why it’s there and encourage you to use it. First of all, we receive a lot of questions from either potential clients or current clients about tax issues, how a particular issue might be viewed by the IRS and also in some cases some legal advice.
We are not in the position to answer questions related to tax issues for more than one reason. Number one, we are not paid to do that and we don’t charge for that. The other issue, which is the major reason, is we don’t know your entire investment situation. For example, if you were to call us and say I want to buy this piece of property – my last name is White obviously and I want rent this piece of property to Suzy Smith. Suzy Smith may be my daughter that’s married which would make that transaction prohibited, but the person you talk to here at Sunwest Trust doesn’t know that. Therefore we can’t really answer those questions because we don’t know your entire situation and so that’s why we always encourage you to talk to your own tax professional or your own tax attorney because they will be more familiar with your specific situation.
What we’ve done in an attempt to try to help you with answering some of those questions is we’ve given you this “Ask The Expert” button and we hired JM consultant a few years back. You send them an email with your question and I think they’ll get back to you within 48 hours, it’s a pretty quick turnaround, but they have to do sometimes have to do some research, as they may have to clarify what you are asking or ask for some more information, Then, they give you a very conservative approach based on the IRS Revenue Code and the department of Labor and they give you the answer that you can, then if you want you can take that to your CPA, your tax training and say this is what I asked and this is what they told me, is there a way we can do something different to make this work, or you know is this a situation that we just can’t do.
I would encourage you to use that resource as much as you can, we pay them whether you use them or not, so the more you use our complementary service the more bank we give for a buck. We encourage you to use it you just click on that button you would agree that you understand they are not your representative, they are not our representative, they are just an independent consulting firm that’s answering questions based on the information you give them and then they would email that information back to you.
I hope that’s useful for you and I hope it helps you understand our position. I think a lot of times people call our office and they get the kind of pat answers that we don’t give tax advice, we don’t give investment advice. We are not, we simply can’t give legal advice and they think they were just trying to be hard to get along with, but we are really not. We want to make sure that you get the best advice for your particular situation and we are not just in the position to give that to you and it’s really not part of the service we provide, and so hopefully the above will give you a better understanding and then next time on Tuesday at 2, we would go back to the self directed IRA handbook and begin going over some of the material again so I hope you’ll join me next week for Tuesday at 2.