How to setup an offshore digital IRA
Technology is revolutionizing the way we invest, manage our savings, and interact with our bank. Offshore digital IRAs combine the asset protection and privacy of an offshore account with access to cryptocurrency. If you want to move your IRA onto the blockchain and out of the US, consider an offshore digital IRA.
Just a few years ago, an offshore digital IRA would have seemed crazy. Bitcoin was untested and investment advisors said it’s to volatile for a retirement account. Today, digital IRAs are the most popular way to give your account a quick boost and Bitcoin is too hot to ignore.
A digital IRA is a self directed retirement account where some or all of the account is held in a digital wallet. An offshore digital IRA goes one step further, moving the IRA out of the United States and into a zero tax max privacy jurisdiction.
You can take any vested retirement account offshore and create an offshore digital IRA. You can also take your vested 401-K and some defined benefit plans offshore.
A retirement account is said to have vested when it’s from a previous employer. If you have control over the account, then you can move it offshore. For a defined benefit plan, you should consult with your plan administrator. Only certain DBs qualify to be converted into IRAs and moved into an offshore digital IRA.
Because crypto, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, is defined as capital assets by the IRS, it can be held in an IRA. If you want to hold those coins in the US, then you need a self directed account. If you want to hold those coins offshore, you need an offshore IRA LLC.
Note that an offshore digital IRA can invest in anything allowed by the IRA rules. This includes foreign real estate, crypto, precious metals, stocks, bonds, etc. Thus, you can hold some of your digital IRA LLC in crypto and diversify the balance in other high margin international investments.
- Belize is the first foreign country to allow you to buy real estate with Bitcoin and Etherum. For more on this, see You can buy real estate in Belize with Bitcoin.
It’s also possible to move some of your retirement cash into an offshore digital IRA and leave the rest in a US self directed account. You can split your account between the US and offshore, moving more offshore as you see the higher returns roll in.
Finally, a husband and wife can invest using the same offshore digital IRA structure. You can combine your retirement accounts into one LLC and make joint investments. This also reduces your setup and operating costs
Keep in mind that gains within your offshore digital IRA are tax deferred (traditional IRA) or tax free (ROTH). While most investors are paying US tax on each and every trade, gains within your IRA LLC flow into your retirement account untaxed. This allows an active crypto account to grow more quickly and with less tax cost than a non IRA account.
And there are some major tax benefits available in an offshore digital IRA. For example, you can use leverage to increase your purchasing power. An IRA account is allowed to borrow using a non-recourse loan. Such a loan can’t be guaranteed by the account nor the account holder (no personal guarantee).
If you buy with a non-recourse loan in the US, any gains attributed to that leverage will be taxed at 35% as Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT). If you setup the same loan offshore, and use a UBIT blocker corporation along with your offshore IRA LLC, you can avoid this tax penalty on leverage.
To transfer your retirement account into an offshore digital IRA, you should:
- Move your IRA from your current custodian to one that allows for offshore investments.
- Form an offshore IRA LLC under your control.
- Open an offshore bank account and crypto wallet in the name of the LLC (not in your name, but in the name of the LLC with you as the signor and manager of the LLC).
- Instruct your US custodian to invest some or all of your retirement account into this LLC.
- Manage the offshore digital IRA LLC just as a professional investment advisor would, acting for the benefit of the account.
Once you have your offshore digital IRA LLC funded, you’ll be in total control of the investments. You will be the signer on the accounts and the only one making the investment decisions. The task of due diligence and selecting quality investments falls to you and you alone.
You’ll still have a US custodian, which will probably cost you about $350 a year. In most cases, the only job of this custodian is to report your transactions at the end of the year. They will not have access to your account.
I suggest the window to move your IRA offshore and invest in crypto is closing. The IRS is waging all out war on Bitcoin and Trump’s tax plan includes a 20% withholding tax on some international transfers. It’s likely that offshore IRA transfers will be blocked or taxed in the near future.
I hope you’ve found this article on how to structure an offshore digital IRA LLC to be helpful. For more information, and to speak with a retirement account expert, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (619) 550-2743. All inquires are confidential. We’ll be happy to assist you to structure your IRA offshore and invest in crypto.
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