Washington Self-Directed IRA

Washington Self-Directed IRA

Washington Overview

Washington’s breathtaking natural beauty, cool climate and overall tax friendliness towards retirees make it an excellent destination for retirees and younger folks alike. Opportunities for outdoor adventure abound, with great hunting, salmon and trout fishing and great skiing opportunities. Washington’s three National Parks – Olympic, North Cascades and Mount Rainier – camping and opportunities for scenic RV trips and other getaways to some of the most beautiful areas in the country. Get out on the water and go kayaking or boating and see the wild seals and orcas just off the coast.

Fans of education, or people who just want to live near colleges, will have lots of options, with plentiful four-year and two-year colleges all over the state. Washington has a low overall crime rate, as well.

The Seattle – Olympia corridor has lots of arts and culture. Seattle, especially – Ground Zero of the “grunge” movement of the 90s – has a wealth of live music in venues of all sizes.

Why a Washington Self-Directed IRA?

Stocks. Mutual funds. CDs. Bonds.

For years, you have heard that these are the types of investment vehicles through which to secure your retirement. The stock market tends to appreciate over the long haul, after all, and bonds are conservative and low on risk. Mutual funds have popped up in recent decades as one of the most popular investment vehicles as well, closely monitoring certain aspects of the stock market.

What most people do not know is that these are not the only investment types available for retirement.

In fact, if you choose self-direction, you will find that the IRS allows for all sorts of different types of investments in a retirement account. You can invest in gold and precious metals, real estate, private companies, and more. There are a few select limits on the sorts of investments you can make, but the good news is: you often have more legal options than you have limits.

For many people, a Washington Self-Directed IRA means freedom, opportunity, and self-determination. It means not being satisfied that the “market” is the only market that exists. It does not mean you have to switch away all of your old investments. But if you want to invest in real estate or gold to help ensure a secure retirement, those options are indeed open…

And, like other IRA types, Washington Self-Directed IRAs come with all sorts of investment protections.

Understand Your Washington Self-Directed IRA Plan Options

Let’s take a moment to consider the various retirement account types:

  • Traditional Self-Directed IRA: A retirement account in which you can invest pre-tax or after-tax dollars, and in which your investments grow tax-deferred, meaning you will pay taxes on them once you begin withdrawing them. When you start making retirement withdrawals–defined as withdrawals after you turn 59.5 years old–the money is treated as income.
  • Self-Directed Roth IRA: Similar to a Traditional IRA, except you make after-tax dollar contributions so you are paying taxes on the front end. This allows your investments to grow tax-free. After the account has been established for 5 years and after you turn 59.5, your withdrawals are tax and penalty-free.
  • Traditional 401(k): A qualified plan that allows employees to make pre-tax elective deferrals. Business owners who want to self-direct can use these as well and allow employees to self-direct their accounts.
  • Self-Directed SEP IRA: Simplified Employee Pension that allows employers to make contributions to the retirement of their employees. An employer can also contribute to their own retirement with a Self-Directed SEP IRA.
  • Self-Directed SIMPLE IRA: Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees. A “tax-favored” plan that small businesses and individuals can set up for their employees.
  • Self-Directed Solo 401(k): A 401(k) plan that a self-employed individual can use for retirement that offers high contribution limits.

As noted throughout, these same accounts offer a high degree of self-direction if you want to direct your own accounts.

A Variety of Investments

One of the chief benefits of directing your own retirement account is that you get to choose your investments from a wide range of options:

  • Real estate: Apartment buildings, commercial property, retail space, raw land, etc. If you want to earn an immediate income for your retirement account with your investments, rent can be one of the most powerful ways to ensure that. You can also use leverage in a Washington Self-Directed Real Estate IRA when using non-recourse loans.
  • Private IRA Lending: You can negotiate the terms, interest rate, and length of the loan, as well as other variables like the monthly payment amounts and whether the loan is secured or unsecured.
  • Private companies: Public stocks are what most people think of as “investments,” but there are also private stocks to consider. There is a lot of opportunity for growth in private company stock, but also plenty of risk to consider.
  • Tax liens: With a high rate of return, these investment types are ideal for self-directing investors with smaller accounts.
  • Precious metals: Gold, silver, platinum, palladium. These metals are famous as a “hedge” against economic downturn, which is why many people turn to them as a way to avoid putting all of their eggs in the stock market basket.
  • Single Member LLC: An investor can create an LLC to be owned by their Washington Self-Directed IRA, managing it themselves. This gives a significant degree of protection; however, you will likely want to consult with a professional to learn how to do this properly.

What You Can’t Do with a Washington Self-Directed IRA

As fun as it is to talk about the various options you can have with a self-directed retirement account, it should be noted that there are certain limits, as well. You cannot self-direct a retirement account to invest in life insurance, collectibles like art, gems/jewelry, coins, alcoholic beverages, and tangible personal property. As enticing as it might be to put that wine cellar under a Self-Directed IRA protection, it’s simply prohibited–so look for your protected retirement investments elsewhere.

Who You Cannot Do Business With

A disqualified person is anyone the Self-Directed IRA has decided is not “arm’s length” from the IRA.  Your IRA cannot engage in any transactions with these individuals or you risk the tax-status of your IRA.

A Disqualified Person is:

  • You
  • Your spouse
  • Any of your lineal ascendants or descendants (parents, children, grandchildren, and the spouses of children, grandchildren, etc. – including legally adopted children).
  • Any investment providers or fiduciaries of the IRA.
  • Any entity (a corporation, LLC, trust, etc.) where a disqualified person owns more than 50%.
  • Any entity (like previously listed) where the IRA account holder is an officer, director, a 10% or more shareholder, or a highly compensated employee.

Getting Started with American IRA

Although we have thrown a lot of abbreviations and words at you, you should know that self-directing your retirement is not as complicated as it might sound. The steps are very simple:

  • Open a Washington Self-Directed IRA with American IRA. Make sure to put thought into the type of account you would like to open; review the options available to you and select the one that makes the most sense for your individual situation.
  • Fund your account. This is where the options can throw people off. Let’s take a look at them quickly:
    • Contribution: Simply putting money into the account throughout the year. This is what a lot of the funding will look like once the account is already opened.
    • Conversion: Withdrawing part or all of the cash/assets from a Traditional IRA and putting them into a Roth IRA is called a conversion. Once the cash/assets are distributed, you have 60 days to put them in the Roth IRA account.
    • Rollover: A tax-free distribution of cash/assets from one account to be put in another retirement account. You are permitted one rollover per year.
    • Transfer: Transferring cash/assets directly from one retirement account to another retirement account. Because you do not take direct possession of the cash/assets, you are allowed unlimited transfers and there is no tax.

How it Works

1.)  Open an American IRA Self-Directed IRA

Select the type of account that you would like to open.

2.)  Fund Your Account

Move money into your account by transfer, rollover or contribution.

3.)  Select an Investment

Find an asset you want your IRA to purchase and submit an Investment Form. American IRA will work with you and your professionals for a smooth closing.

4.)  Review the Instructions

Visit the “How it Works” page on our website to review the instructions for the asset you want to purchase and submit the paperwork required for the investment you have chosen.

5.)  Provide Payment Authorization

Submit Payment Authorization Forms for expenses that pertain to the asset your IRA has purchased.

6.)  Submit Deposit Coupons

Deposit income generated from the asset your IRA purchased by submitting a Deposit Coupon along with the funds.

Tax and Financial Considerations for Washington Self-Directed IRA Owners

Overall, Washington’s cost of living is 31% higher than the national average, according to Sperling’s Best Places. Most of the high statewide cost of living is skewed upward substantially by the Seattle market.

It’s much more expensive in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue major metro market than in the rest of the state, on average. The median home cost in Seattle is $489,400, which is more than twice the national median. Prices are high near the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond and in Bothell. You can find more affordable housing getting away from the Seattle area. Kitsap County and Spokane still have bargains. Vancouver, near the Oregon border just across the river from Portland used to be quite affordable, though Portland’s hot housing market has been bleeding over into Vancouver in recent years.

Olympia, home of Evergreen State University and the state capital, still has a few bargains, as do towns like Richland, Auburn and Walla Walla.

Washington State Income Taxes

Washington is among just a few states with no state income tax whatsoever. Income from all retirement sources, including labor, is free of income tax at the state level.

Washington sales taxes

To compensate for the lack of income tax, Washington charges a high statewide sales tax of 6.5% – among the steepest state rates in the country. Groceries, newspapers and prescription drugs are exempt.

Additionally, local governments in Washington add their own sales taxes – up to 3.4%. Washington residents frequently pay up to 8.9% sales tax in the state, and some areas charge up to 10%.

Washington Self-Directed Real Estate IRA

Washington Self-Directed Real Estate IRA investors will be navigating into a slight headwind: Property taxes are slightly higher in Washington than the national average. But the fact that Washington has no state income, and that rental income is therefore tax-free at the state level, more than makes up for it.

The average property tax rate on residential properties in Washington is 1.06%.

If you are age 61 or older, disabled, or a veteran receiving disability compensation and your combined disposable income is below $45,000 per year, you may qualify for one of the state property tax exemption programs. If you qualify, the state may freeze future assessments of your home value, so your property taxes won’t go up in the future, as long as you are the owner/occupant of the home.

Also, the program exempts up to $70,000 of your home’s value from property taxes, depending on your income level and the value of your home.

Widows and widowers of veterans with low incomes may qualify for a grant that pays their property taxes. More information is available here.

There’s a state property tax deferral program for low-income individuals, as well. If your combined disposable income is $57,000 or less and you have enough equity in the home, you may qualify to defer property taxes on your home. Instead, the state will pay the tax on your behalf, and pay themselves back, with interest, via a lien on the property once the home is sold, the owner dies or no longer uses the home as his or her primary residence. More information is available here.

Washington Estate and Inheritance Taxes

Washington has a significant estate tax with rates between 10% and 20% on estates over and above the state exclusion amount, which is currently $2.193 million. The top rate applies to estates valued at more than $9 million.

Other Washington Taxes

Washington imposes a gasoline tax of 67.80 cents per gallon, and a 73.80 cent per gallon tax on diesel fuel. The cigarette tax is $3.03 per pack of 20. Each of these taxes is much higher than the national average.

Benefits of Retiring in Washington

If you are interested in seeking retirement in Washington, or if you simply want to think about it as a long-term option, you might consider a Self-Directed IRA. A Washington Self-Directed IRA will allow you to handle plenty of different investments under your own control—all while enjoying the tax protections of retirement accounts.

Are you interested in retiring in Washington? Want to learn more about how to take advantage of all of the retirement capabilities you have? Then it’s time to think about a Self-Directed IRA. Continue browsing this website to learn more about a Washington Self-Directed IRA or contact us at 828-257-4949 to learn more about how you can secure a retirement for yourself.

About American IRA, LLC

American IRA, LLC is one of the leading third-party administrators for self-directed retirement accounts in the United States.  The custodian New Vision Trust Company is a South Dakota regulated trust company.   Founder and president Jim Hitt has been investing his own personal assets in Self-Directed IRAs, including Self-Directed Real Estate IRAs, for more than 35 years, and has helped thousands of others declare independence from Wall Street investment companies with their high fees and limited investment menus and become successful Self-Directed IRA investors.

American IRA has offices in Asheville and Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta, GA, but we serve investors from all over the United States and even expats who want to realize the benefits of self-directed retirement investing techniques in Washington Self-Directed IRAs, Self-Directed Roth IRAs, Self-Directed SEP IRAs, Self-Directed SIMPLE IRAs and even Self-Directed CESAs and Self-Directed HSAs.

A Washington Self-Directed IRA with American IRA, LLC can help you achieve greater diversification by making it easier to invest in alternative asset classes not commonly available from large investment companies. Self-Directed IRAs also allow you to take more direct control of your retirement assets, while minimizing exposure to needlessly high expense ratios, commissions, wrap fees, 12-b-1 fees and AUM fees commonly charged by Wall Street investment companies. Our much more efficient flat-fee, menu-based fee schedule frequently allows investors to save thousands in fees each year – particularly with larger accounts and buy-and-hold investors.

With a Washington Self-Directed IRA from American IRA, LLC, you can quickly and easily invest in alternative asset classes like direct real estate ownership, tax liens and certificates, mortgage lending, precious metals, and much more.

To get started, click here to open an account, or call American IRA today at 866-7500-IRA(472).

For other easy Washington Self-Directed IRA solutions, talk to our valued partner TurnKey IRA.