Department of Labor Advisory Opinion 2006-01A

RK Summary:  The Department of Labor ruled that an IRA owner could not cause the IRA to invest in a new limited liability company that would purchase real estate and lease it to an entity 68%  of which is owned by the IRA owner because it would be a prohibited transaction under Internal Revenue Code Section 4975.  The opinion contains a statement that IRA owners should always keep in mind before an IRA LLC makes an investment”  “the Department considers “a fiduciary who makes or retains an investment in a corporation or partnership for the purpose of avoiding the application of the fiduciary responsibility provisions of the Act to be in contravention of the provisions of section 404(a) of the Act.”

The text of Department of Labor Advisory Opinion 2006-01A is below.

January 6, 2006
Debra C. Buchanan, Esq.
Guidant Legal Group, PLLC
225 Commerce Street, Suite 450
Tacoma, WA 98402

Department of Labor Advisory Opinion 2006-01A
ERISA Sec. 29 CFR 2509.75-2

Dear Ms. Buchanan,

This is in response to your request for an advisory opinion as to whether the following proposed transaction would be prohibited under section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”), 26 U.S.C. § 4975.(1)

You represent that Salon Services and Supplies, Inc. is a Washington state “S” Corporation (“S Company”) which is 68% owned by Miles and Sydney Berry, a marital community (M). The other 32% is owned by a third-party, George Learned (“G”). Miles Berry (Berry) proposes to create a limited liability corporation (“LLC”) that will purchase land, build a warehouse and lease the property to S Company. The investors in the LLC would be Berry’s individual retirement account (“IRA”) (49%), Robert Payne’s (“R”) IRA (31%) and G (20%). R is the comptroller of S Company. R and G will manage the LLC. You represent that S Company is a disqualified person with respect to Berry’s IRA under section 4975(e)(2) of the Code. You represent that R and G are independent of Berry. You also represent that the LLC does not contain plan assets because it is a “real estate operating company” (REOC) as defined by 29 C.F.R. § 2510.3-101(e). (more…)