Self Directed Solo 401k: The Complete Guide to Success

I’ll try not to make this too complex. You may have heard about a self directed solo 401k. But do you know how they work?

It is important to know that, to invest in substitute plans, you will not need checkbook control. Such plans include real estate, private organization shares, and valuable metals.

The rule also stretches to the foreign real estate in countries like Italy, Mexico, India, Greece, Canada, China, etc. To add Checkbook Control to your Solo 401k, you should be aware of the regulations for proper understanding. There are a few practices that you will have to conduct and avoid at the same time.

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Understanding the difference between the Solo 401k and Solo 401k Checkbook Control is an important step to take. You can find the differences explained below-

Self Directed Solo 401k Checkbook Control

An independent business owner has the authority to take decisions concerning making different investments. Furthermore, he/she can also invest in alternative investment plans as well. These include real estate, merchandises, tax liens and private organization shares.

The procedure to initiate these investment deals is through a written check form the Solo 401k bank account.  This is why the process is by the name of Self-Directed Solo 401k Checkbook Control.

Self-Directed Solo 401k Checkbook

Independent/Solo 401k

Independent/Self-Directed Solo 401k basically describes a plan for an independent business owner, which names him/her as its own agent. The plan also consists of the use of a particular language chosen for documentation for processing substitute investments. By making use of the language, the trustee manages the assets in the solo 401k plan. The substitute plans consist of dealings in real estate, private equities, and some legal instruments as well.

What to do with Self Directed 401ks?

There are some processes that you are required to do to agree with the rules and regulations. Here are some for you to understand:-

  • You will have to open multiple Self-Directed Solo 401k checking accounts. Such a situation only occurs when both of your contributors are making contributions to your account. You can also take this step If one or both of your trustees are making both customary and Roth Solo 401k contributions.
  • You will have to settle the operating expenses linked with investments made in your Solo 410k account. This can include rental property maintenance.
  • It is important that you open the account by the name of the Self-Directed 401k. This will help you avoid any taxation when it comes to distributions.
  • You are also supposed to make Solo 401k contributions on a yearly basis in your Solo 401k account. If there are two individual trustee contributions, they should deposit the amounts in their separate accounts. You get a tax deduction for the contribution.
  • It is important that you deposit your gains made for investments in your Solo 401k account. Rents and profits made from investment in real estate is a perfect example of such dealings.
Self-Directed Solo 401k Checkbook Control

Things to Avoid with Self Directed Solo 401ks

Here are a few pointers for you to understand and avoid when opening your Self-Directed Solo 401k account.

  • Avoid paying personal operating costs with money taken from your Solo 401k account. Do that to avoid taxation on distributions.
  • You should not get a credit card under your own name or even under your Self-Directed Solo 401k.
  • Avoid mixing Roth Solo 401k and investment profits with Self-Directed Solo 401k finances.
  • You should abstain from depositing your personal finances in your Self-Directed 401k accounts.
  • Before processing a solo 401k loan, assign your Solo 401k contributor to gather relevant documents and set up a paying schedule. In this way, your dealing will agree to the IRS loan rules.
  • Avoid paying yourself your salary with your Solo 410k assets. This is because it is an illegal transaction and you should avoid it at all costs.

The distributions made at Solo 401k are subject to different rules and regulations. These depend on the Solo 401k applicant’s age and the type of distributions made by the applicant.

Types of Solo 401k Contributions and Distribution regulations

Here are the lists of rules that need to e followed in different cases-

Employee Contributions:  the distribution of any salary deferrals is subject to certain conditions. These include the ending of the employment period, disability or death of the employee. The rules do not allow any distribution made previously to the occurrence of these conditions. However, in case of sufferings, the Solo 401k provides an in-commission distribution of such amounts. These apply to people who are 59 ½ or more.

Employer offerings:  there are much stricter rules when it comes to handling employer offerings. The distributed amounts depend on certain Solo 401k participant’s conditions. These include the discontinuation of the employment, death, and disability. The withdrawal of the employer’s contributions can depend on the important factors stated below:-

  • Getting to the age of 59 ½
  • Suffering from a hardship such as lack of money.
  • The withdrawn offerings have been collected in the Solo 401k plan for a minimum of two years
  • The contributors have taken part in the Solo 401k plan for at least five years.

Post-tax and Rollover offerings: after filling out the whole distribution form, the Solo 401k plan contributor can withdraw any time. This can also happen if any percentage of the contributor’s account balance is as a result of post-tax and rollover offerings.

A Guide on Independent Solo 401k Distributions and how to submit the 20% Obligatory Federal Tax

There are numerous ways and dates in which the Solo 401k distributions are reportable. These also include the taxes paid on the 15th of the stated month alongside the time of the Solo 401k distribution.

Effective from 31st of January, 2018, you are required to file the Form 945 Yearly Return of Withdrawn Federal Income Tax. The form is available on

Where to file it?

You need to be careful when determining where you have to file the form 945. You should not file it on the basis of the state where you open Solo 401k. It should be according to the state of your lawful residence. For instance, if you reside in Florida or New York, then you must mail the 945 form to the following address:-

Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Cincinnati, OH, 45999-0042.

If you live in California or Texas, the mailing address will be as follows:-

Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Ogden, UT, 84201-0042.

The Form 945 guidelines consist of the ‘Where to File’ option to help you find the relevant mailing address.

Guidelines for filling the form:

Click here for getting proper instructions on filling the 945 form.

On Tax Return Due Date:

List all of your Solo 401k distributions on your tax proceeds.

Before 28th of February:

You should fill the 1099-R form with the IRS. You will have to file through delivered to you to file with your personal tax proceeds. Non-participants on should consult their providers regarding the filing of the 1099-R form to the IRS.

The 20% Federal Income Tax Instructions:-

  • Individuals should make the payments by machine.
  • The electronic fund transfer should take place with the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).
  • There are alternatives to EFTPS available for your ease. These include payroll services, tax experts or any suitable financial third-party.
  • Payment made on the 15th of the month.
  • EFTPS is a complimentary service provided by the Treasury Department. Call on 1-800-555-4477 to know more.
  • The department’s website and the Publication 966 will also help you understand more about the system.
  • Click here for an easy guide on joining in the EFTPS.

Deposit Time:

There is a different criterion for third-party assistance and EFTPS. If you use EFTPS, you should complete the transfer before 8 PM, Eastern Time on the required date. The deadline for any third-party handler will be different.

Deposited Record:

There will be a trace number provided by the system for tracking down recent payments.

Penalty Question

If I take out funds from my Solo 401k account, are there any penalties that I have to pay? I will turn 66 in March 2018, and I am aware of the taxes that are due.


The question relates to the 10% penalty charge. This charge is only applicable on ages below 59 ½ at the time of your Solo 401k distribution.

Paul Sundin

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