Is an LLC Allowed to Hold an IRA?

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) have long been considered key tools of American retirement planning, while Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) offer investors flexibility in investing and protecting personal assets. Recently, financial experts and investors alike have discussed holding an IRA within an LLC as a potential strategy. In this article we investigate its feasibility, mechanics, and potential consequences.

Understanding the Basics

Before considering holding an IRA within an LLC, it's crucial that one fully grasps both financial tools. An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) provides tax advantages specifically for retirement savings while LLCs combine elements from both corporations and partnerships, with limited personal liability exposure for members.

Checkbook Control IRAs

Traditional IRAs are held by custodians that make investments on behalf of the owner; however, an alternative known as Self-Directed IRA with "Checkbook Control" allows investors more direct control of their IRA investments. Under this structure, an LLC established through which an investor funds an IRA acts as manager. Essentially this gives an investor more efficient investment decisions as their money is managed across both accounts simultaneously.

Benefits of Checkbook Control IRAs

  • Greater Control: With this account type, owners have greater autonomy to make investment decisions without waiting for approval by an IRA custodian.
  • Diverse Investment Options: With this structure, there is greater scope for diversifying one's investments into real estate, precious metals, and private businesses.
  • Reduced Fees: By bypassing custodial transaction fees and having direct control, owners may reduce costs overall.

Risks and Limitations of an Individual Retirement Account

  • Prohibited Transactions: The IRS places strict guidelines on what can and cannot be invested in by an IRA account holder, leading to heavy fines if prohibited transactions take place and disqualification from participating.
  • Lack of Oversight: Without supervision from an administrator or custodian, investors could make hasty or incorrect decisions that damage their retirement accounts. Complicated Tax Reporting Requirements: Reporting requirements associated with this structure can often be burdensome and time-consuming.
  • Legal Considerations: The legality of holding an IRA within an LLC through Checkbook Control IRA remains controversial. While many have successfully used this structure, the IRS has not officially sanctioned it yet and some cases may face legal hurdles; as a result, it's wise to tread cautiously when approaching this strategy and seek expert legal advice beforehand.


Holding an IRA within an LLC through the Checkbook Control model offers investors greater flexibility yet poses several unique risks and complications. Because its legalities remain unclear, potential investors should conduct extensive research before making decisions that could have long-term ramifications on their retirement investments. With proper guidance and due diligence applied throughout, however, this strategy could prove fruitful when utilized to achieve direct control over retirement investments.