Self-directed IRA



Regular IRAs only allow investing in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and CDs. A self-directed IRA on the other hand offers great flexibility as it allows for alternative investment options, such as real estate, private equity, etc.

Benefits of a self-directed IRA


With a self-directed IRA you can make flexible investments in areas you know well and may have more control over. Those investments can be:

  • Single/multi-family rental property
  • Commercial real estate
  • Raw land
  • Contractual interest in real estate
  • Water rights
  • Mineral rights, oil and gas
  • Real estate development tax liens
  • LLC membership interest in technology, manufacturing and other service businesses
  • Limited Partnership interest (“LP”) in the business of real estate, technology, manufacturing and other service businesses
  • Corporation, C Corp, in technology, manufacturing and other service businesses
  • Real estate loan, promissory note and deed of trust/mortgage
  • Business loan, secured by equipment/assets of business
  • Purchase of livestock
  • Gold, silver, and other precious metals
  • Hedge funds investments in private placement companies
  • Intellectual property patent interest
  • Private placement memorandum investments
  • Stock options and warrants of non‐publicly traded company ownership

US LLC or offshore LLC for self-directed IRA


As investment vehicle for the IRA you can either open an LLC in the US or offshore. A self-directed IRA in an offshore LLC is also sometimes called Offshore IRA.

An offshore LLC offers the advantage of asset protection. However, it comes with increased costs as it requires both local and US filings.

A self-directed IRA without an LLC does not leverage the full benefits. Without being placed into an LLC, the IRA is controlled by a custodian, and you direct the custodian. However, you do not control the assets yourself and must rely on the custodian to carry out your wishes. The US investment advisor is bound by US regulations.

Only if you place the IRA into an offshore LLC, you as LLC manager have full control. The only US regulation you have to comply with is tax reporting. You would have to file a form 5471 for the offshore LLC or potentially make a Check the Box election to minimize this reporting requirement.

Our self-directed IRA services


At Global Expat Advisors, we help you set up a self-directed IRA with a US or offshore LLC, and prepare all required tax filings. We have done these structures before and can help with the setup of all companies, the IRA custodian account set up, as well as all tax filings on a yearly basis.