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Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT)

Understanding The UBIT & Proper Paperwork Is Vital

UBIT, as it relates to IRAs, is the tax on profit earned from a business that is owned by an IRA or a non-recourse loan inside your IRA.. An IRA is a tax-deferred (traditional IRA) or tax-free (Roth IRA) retirement plan. By running a business through your IRA, you are giving that business special, tax-exempt privileges that a normal business would not receive. The IRS created UBIT as a way of taking away those unfair advantages from an IRA owned business.

Examples of passive income in an IRA are earnings from investments, dividend income or interest from loans. These are not subject to UBIT but if your IRA is earning profit from operating a business and has not paid tax on these profits, you will be taxed on those at the trust tax rate.

Understanding IRA Owned Businesses

This doesn’t necessarily mean that having a business in your IRA is a bad idea; it’s just something to consider if you plan on having a business in your IRA. The IRA must follow the same rules that any tax-exempt entity would follow. For example, a university that runs a convenient store for students on campus. The university is a tax-exempt entity, so all tuition and fees are not taxed. However, the convenience store creates income outside of the tax-exempt status, so the university must pay UBIT on the income generated from the store.

Each year, the IRS publishes the new trust tax rates which may be seen on their website, which is or you can talk with your CPA or a tax professional. They can help you out with this. Once you find the trust tax rate, fill out Form 990-T, then send it to the IRS along with any tax payments due. Your CPA or a tax professional will help you out with this.

Defining Leveraged Real Estate For UBIT

If you have leveraged real estate investments, UBIT will be charged as well. For example: If you have a non-recourse loan on a piece of property in your IRA, the debt financed portion of that property’s profits is subject to the unrelated business income tax.

If you have other questions on UBIT I would suggest speaking with a CPA or a tax professional.

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Terry White

About Terry White

I started my business career after getting my degree in Accounting from the University of New Mexico in 1983. My first job was as a controller for a local title company, and in 1987 I started First Financial Escrow, Inc. Over the years I played a part in several startup companies including First Financial Equities, Inc., First Financial Trust, Inc., First Financial Marketing, Inc. and Asset Ventures, Inc. In 1997 First Financial Escrow, Inc. was able to purchase the escrow accounts from Sunwest Bank and changed its name to Sunwest Escrow. As the market changes, Sunwest has grown and changed along with it. Besides my wife, Sheila, we have three boys, two daughters-in-law, one grandson, another grandson on the way and a future daughter-in-law. Sunwest is my passion, and I enjoy coming to work every day to see what will happen next. I enjoy fly fishing, spending time in Colorado, biking and watching my boys play soccer.