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Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

What does Quest Trust Company do?

Quest Trust Company, ( is a custodian of self-directed IRAs located in Houston, Austin, and Dallas, Texas with clients Nationwide. Quest Trust Company, is the leading provider of self-directed retirement account administration services. Quest Trust Company has been in business since 2003 with over $2 Billion in assets under management. As a neutral party, Quest Trust Company does not offer any investments and therefore has no conflicts of interest with what our clients want to do with their IRAs. Quest Trust Company allows you to be in total control of your retirement wealth.

Who is H. Quincy Long?

H. Quincy Long is the Founder and CEO of Quest Trust Company and works in the Houston corporate office. Quincy has been a licensed Texas attorney since 1991, specializing in real estate, and has been a fee attorney for American Title Company. In 1990, Quincy received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston, and continued his education, receiving his Masters of Law in 1997. He has sat on the board of directors of the Realty Investment Club of Houston (RICH), the second largest real estate club in the country, and maintains the title of Certified IRA Services Professional, CISP. Quincy is also the author of numerous articles on self-directed IRAs and other real estate related topics, many of which can be found on the Quest Trust Company website, and in addition, Dyches Boddiford and George Yeiter, CPA, co-authored with Quincy to write the book “Real Estate Investment Using Self-Directed IRAs and Other Retirement Plans.” Widely known for his enthusiasm, attention to detail and knowledge of the Self-Directed retirement industry, he is one of the most sought after keynote speakers in the nation. Quincy can often be spotted in his office reading and learning more to prepare for one his many, highly-attended lectures on topics including self-directed retirement plans, real estate, unrelated business income tax, land trusts, mortgage foreclosures, etc. Quincy enjoys reading, hiking and spending time with family and friends in his free time.

What is the difference between a “self-directed IRA” and a regular IRA?

There is no legal distinction between a “Self-Directed IRA” and any other IRA. The difference is simply this: Quest lets you take control of your retirement by letting you invest your IRA in what you know best. There are 2 different sets of rules that govern what you can do with your IRA. First, there is the Internal Revenue Code, which has surprisingly few restrictions. Second, there is your account agreement with the custodian. With most custodians you are restricted in the type of investments you can buy in your IRA. Quest allows you the maximum amount of control and flexibility. Almost anything that can be documented can be held in your Quest Self-Directed IRA.

Which types of IRAs does Quest Trust Company offer?

Quest offers almost all types of retirement plans, including:

  • Traditional IRAs
  • Roth IRAs
  • SEP IRAs
  • Individual/Solo 401(k)s
  • Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (formerly Education IRAs)
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
  • Inherited IRAs
How much can I contribute to my IRA?

The answer depends on what type of account you're exploring as well as other factors like income limits. Click Here to view current year contribution limits.

Is it possible to have a Roth IRA if I make too much money?

One of the most common questions surrounds a certain type of IRA account – the Roth IRA. Many people believe that if you make too much money you cannot have a Roth IRA, but this would be incorrect. Although it is true that if your modified adjusted gross income is over a certain limit you still cannot directly contribute, it would be false to assume this means you cannot have one at all. Check out our articles about Roth conversions to learn more.

What kinds of investments can be made in a Quest Trust Company Self-Directed IRA?

You have the broadest possible choice of investments, including:

  • Real Estate, including debt-financed and foreign real estate
  • Deeds of Trust
  • Real Estate Options
  • Lease Options
  • Unsecured Notes
  • Oil and Gas Interests
  • Small, non-publicly traded corporate stock
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Factored Invoices
  • Discounted Commissions
  • Security Agreements and Notes
  • Tax Lien Certificates
  • Foreclosure Property
  • Joint Ventures
  • Racehorses
  • and a whole lot more…

It should be made clear that you are not taking a distribution to purchase these assets. All assets are purchased within the IRA, and all profits stay in the IRA!

As a real estate professional, how can knowledge about self-directed IRAs put money in my pocket now?

For those of you who are investors, you can make other people aware that they actually have more money to invest in real estate than they thought since they can use their IRAs to buy real estate. Your knowledge of self-directed IRAs can increase your pool of eligible buyers for your properties. Also, you can help others transfer their retirement funds into a self-directed IRA, then you can borrow those funds to make your own investments – in other words, you can create your own private bank! Finally, you can make your own retirement wealth grow with your knowledge and experience in real estate by buying and selling through your own self-directed IRA.

Is it really legal to buy real estate in your IRA?

Yes, absolutely! The Internal Revenue Code does not tell you what you can do with your IRA, only what you cannot do. Besides restrictions on purchasing life insurance and most collectibles in your IRA, nearly everything else is fair game. Unless your IRA is self-directed, however, your custodian may not allow investments in real estate.

How can I take funds out of my IRA to buy Real Estate without having to pay taxes and penalties?

When using your IRA for the purpose of purchasing Real Estate, you are not actually taking the funds out. Similar to how your IRA can purchase an asset of a stock, your IRA can also purchase an asset of Real Estate.  Quest Trust Company specializes in helping our clients purchase Real Estate through their retirement accounts.

Getting Started

How do I open a self-directed IRA?

The process of opening a self-directed IRA with Quest Trust Company, is a very simple process. Just complete the application to open account online  or contact one of our world famous IRA Specialists at 855-FUN-IRAS. (855-386-4727)

How long does it take to open an account?

The Individual Retirement Account will be established within approximately 24-48 hours of receiving the properly filled out application.

Can I have multiple IRA accounts?

One of the great features of self-directed IRAs is that they don’t have to be used only on their own. Self-directed IRAs can work together by using a beneficial strategy called “partnering”. This term is used when one entity (or more) and an IRA come together to put up the funds for an investment. In this strategy, all parties have a vested percentage of ownership in the deal. When doing this, the percentage of ownership is decided at the beginning of the investment and must remain the same throughout the life of the investment. This means that any profit the investment receives is returned based on this percentage of ownership. Additionally, the IRA would be responsible for its percentage of any expense associated with the investment, too.

What are the different ways I can fund my Quest Trust Company Account?

Rollover/Direct Rollover: Rollovers can be done from employer plans (401k, 403B, Pension Plans, etc.) or other IRAs (IRA-to-IRA Rollover). To avoid taxes or penalties, make sure the rollover is done within 60 days from the time you took the distribution. For more information, schedule a consultation with a Certified IRA Specialist.


  • Transfer: A transfer is when you move funds between like accounts. If you have an existing IRA at a different custodian, we can move the funds (cash & privately held assets) via transfer.
  • Deposit: Your IRA can be funded via annual contributions.
What is a Transfer?

When you move money between two separate checking accounts at different banks, you are transferring funds, and this is basically the same concept of what you can do between IRAs. A transfer is when you move money from the same type of IRA account to another.

What is a Rollover?

A rollover occurs when money is moved from a retirement plan (usually a 401K or other employer plan) to an IRA account. This type of rollover differs from a conventional transfer because it involves two different types of plans.

How do I start the process of transferring or doing a rollover?

If you would like to initiate a transfer between like accounts, just complete the transfer paperwork with the receiving custodian and they will take it from there. For a rollover, you must contact your former employer, or their custodian, to initiate the process. It’s important to understand that the speed at which a transfer or rollover is made is dependent upon the sending custodian.

Can I move a 401(k) to a self-directed IRA if I am currently still employed with my company?

Typically, you cannot move your IRA until you have left your company or have some separation from the company that could allow you to move a portion of those 401(k) funds. This is not to say that you cannot have both an IRA and a company 401(k) at the same time. Many people have an IRA and make personal contributions to the account, you just may not be able to receive a deduction for your IRA contributions. In some cases, companies will allow for an “in service” rollover, meaning that some of the funds may be eligible to move to an IRA while still employed.

How are my funds protected?

All uninvested funds are FDIC insured up to $250,000. All investments carry risk including loss of principal. For more tips on protecting your investments by performing due dilligence, click here.

What fees will I incur with my Self-Directed IRA?

Click the following link to view our General Fee Schedule. You can also read our blog article All QTC Fees Explained.

Who can I name as a beneficiary to my IRA?

A beneficiary can be any person or entity the owner chooses to receive the benefits of a retirement account or an IRA after he or she dies. Beneficiaries of a retirement account or IRA must include in their gross income any taxable distributions they receive.

Will my will or trust override who I list as my beneficiary?

Your will or trust will not override what is named on the beneficiary designation of your IRA. The only time a Will would control a non-probate asset is if no beneficiary is designated or the estate is named as the beneficiary.

When does my spouse need to sign the beneficiary form?

If you do not list your spouse as 100% primary beneficiary AND you live in a community property state, your spouse must sign the spousal consent section on our Beneficiary Form. If you live in Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington or Wisconsin and you have named your spouse as 100% Primary Beneficiary directly by name, your spouse does not need to sign the “Spousal Consent” signature section. Note: If you are naming a Trust 100% Primary and your spouse is the trustee, your spouse does need to sign. If you do not live in Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington or Wisconsin; regardless of what your beneficiary is, you do not need to have your spouse sign the “Spousal Consent” signature section.

How can I update my account information after my account is open?

At Quest, we have an online portal which allows you to manage your account from the comfort of your computer or smartphone. When you log in to the Quest Client Portal, you will have the ability to update information such as contact information, account information, and stay up to date with current investments – and even submit new ones, too!

Real Estate

What are the differences between buying real estate personally and buying real estate with my IRA?

Title of the property: When using your IRA for RE investments it must be titled in the name of your IRA. When using a Quest Trust Company, the title will read “Quest Trust Company, Inc. FBO (Your Name) IRA (Account number)”

Funds: When your IRA is used to purchase an asset, the funds must come from the IRA. This includes any expenses that are related to the investment. Likewise, any gains or earnings must go back to the IRA.

Signatures: Because investments are made in the name of the IRA, Quest Trust Company is actually the one that signs the documents.

Can my IRA purchase Real Estate I currently own?

No. Although the IRS has very few restrictions on the types of investments which are permissible in an IRA, there is a list of “disqualified persons” who are prohibited from dealing with your IRA or benefiting from its investments.  The list of disqualified persons includes you, your spouse, your parents, your children, their spouses, certain business partners and key employees and persons providing services to your plan, among others.  Interestingly enough, the definition of disqualified persons does NOT INCLUDE non-lineal descendants or ascendants, so if the transaction is an arm's length transaction your IRA may be able to transact business with your brother or sister, aunt or uncle, cousins, etc.  However, you should be aware that there is an element of danger in transacting business with any person in whom you may have an interest which affects your best judgment as a fiduciary of your IRA, as this could be considered to be a prohibited transaction.

Are the gains or income taxable from IRA Real Estate investments?

The answer is NO – in most cases. If an IRA buys Real Estate and then sells it at a profit, all income generated while it was held in the IRA and all the gains resulting from sale WILL be either tax-deferred (Traditional IRA) or possibly tax-free (Roth IRA), IF the purchases were all cash with IRA funds. However, if the IRA purchased Real Estate that is debt financed, the IRA could be subject to taxation. The tax applied is called Unrelated Debt Financed Income tax or UDFI tax.

Can my IRA make loans to others who want to buy Real Estate?

Yes, your IRA may loan to any person, as long as they are not a disqualified person. These loans involving Real Estate are generally referred to as Promissory Notes. They are usually secured by the deed to the property that serves as collateral for the loan if the borrower fails to meet the loan obligations. For more Information visit our Promissory notes webpage.

Can I partner with my IRA or with other people’s IRAs?

Your IRA can always partner with other people individually or with other people’s IRAs.  Under certain circumstances you personally may be able to partner with your IRA.  However, the burden of proving that you received no impermissible benefit from your IRA’s participation in the investment will be on you if the IRS ever questions the transaction.  The transaction still must be an arms-length transaction, and the investment remains subject to the same restrictions as if the entire investment were in your IRA.  In general, it is better to separate your IRA’s investments from your own investments.

I only have a small IRA.  How can I buy real estate?

There are at least 4 ways you can participate in a real estate investment even with a small IRA.  First, you can wholesale property.  You simply put the contract in the name of your IRA instead of your name.  The earnest money comes from the IRA.  When you assign the contract, the assignment fee goes back into your IRA.  If using a Roth IRA, this profit is tax-free forever!  Second, you can purchase an option on real estate, which then can be either exercised, assigned to a third party, or canceled for a fee.  Third, you can purchase property in your IRA subject to existing financing or with a non-recourse loan from a bank, a hard money lender, a financial friend or a motivated seller.  Profits from debt-financed property in your IRA may incur unrelated business income tax (UBIT), however.  Finally, as mentioned above, your IRA can be a partner with other IRA or non-IRA investors.

Can an IRA buy debt-financed property?

Yes.  Any debt must be non-recourse to the IRA and to any disqualified person.  An IRA may have to pay UBIT on its profits from debt-financed property.  In general, taxes must be paid on profits from an IRA-owned property that is debt-financed, including profits from the sale or disposition of the property, in the same proportion that it had debt.  For a simplified example, if the IRA puts 50% down, then 50% of its profits above $1,000 will be taxable.  Although at first this sounds terrible, in fact leverage can be an extremely powerful tool in building your retirement wealth.  The same leverage principle applies inside or outside of your IRA.  You can do more with debt-financing than you can without it.

Can I use my IRA funds to buy a foreclosed property?

Yes, IRAs can indeed purchase foreclosures. However, you will want to be aware of the specific foreclosure purchase process. Contact our office for more information!

If I am a Realtor, can I receive a commission for property bought or sold by my IRA?

No, for the same reasons stated in the prior answer.  Anything that creates a possible conflict of interest with your IRA is likely to be a prohibited transaction.  Why take money that is tax-free or tax-deferred and pay taxes on it now anyway?

Can I cut the funding check directly to the seller and then get reimbursed?

No, because this is an IRA owned property, all of the funds must come directly from the IRA. You may submit a request that will instruct Quest Trust Company as to where to send the funds.

Can I receive a fee for managing property owned by my IRA?

 No. The prohibited transaction rules are intended to make sure that you receive no current benefit from your IRA other than as the beneficiary of the IRA.  Investments must be arms-length and exclusively for the benefit of your IRA.

Can I live/work/vacation in a property my IRA owns?

No, this would be considered a prohibited transaction. For a complete guide to Prohibited Transaction, click here.

Can I collect the rents for my IRA rental property?

Yes and No. You can have the renters forward the rent checks to you, BUT made payable to your IRA. They cannot be made out to you, nor can you deposit them, even if you plan to reimburse your IRA. If you do collect the rent checks, make note, and forward the check over to Quest Trust Company.


What is a promissory note?

A promissory note is a promise to pay, completed with a signed agreement, where one party (the borrower) promises to pay someone or a business a specific amount (the lender). These documents include a specific interest and a maturity date.

Are there different types of promissory notes?

Yes, and at Quest we fund secured notes and unsecured notes. A secured note is a note that guarantees collateral in the event something were to go wrong and the lender needs to foreclose, allowing the lender an attempt to recoup their investment in the event the borrower cannot pay back the loan. An unsecured note is a promissory note where nothing is held as collateral, meaning a lender won’t have as much security if the borrower defaults on the loan.

Who can I loan money to?

With a self-directed IRA, you have the ability to loan to anyone in your network, as long as they are not disqualified. You can learn more about disqualified parties HERE.

I need to send a payment to the contractor for one of the assets held in my IRA. Are you able to assist with this?

Are the funds being sent out a part of the loan/principal balance? If so, you will need to submit a DOI for Promissory Notes to send out the additional funds needed to complete the project. If the funds being sent out to contractors are NOT a part of the loan balance, then you can pay your contractor and service providers by going to the client portal and using our Expense Pay feature or completing a Payment Authorization Letter and submit to our Accounts Payable department.

Can I be listed as the trustee on an upcoming investment that my IRA is funding?

The IRA account holder cannot be listed as the trustee on any mortgage documents as the account holder is considered a disqualified party from their IRA. Therefore, the trustee MUST be a non-prohibited, third party.

I have more than one account there at Quest. Can I use my different IRA accounts together to make an investment?

You can always partner your IRAs together or with other people’s IRAs.

I am currently doing an investment and the borrower/title company is wanting me to execute the documents. Is this correct?

For all investments in your IRA, you will direct Quest to fund this investment on behalf of your IRA. Our team will complete and send executed documents. We will ask that all clients review the documentation and sign with their “read & approved” signatures before any documents are finalized, processed, and sent off.

Private Entity

What type of investments are considered Private Entities?

Generally, most LLC, joint venture, LP, and trust investments fall under the Private Entity category. They are not limited to just these!

How can I get my own Tax ID number for my IRA? 

The client can go to and apply online or refer to their CPA or attorney to assist.

What is a K-1 and what do I need it for? 

A Schedule K-1 reports each shareholder’s share of income, loss, deductions, and credits. You may use this information on the K-1 to report these profits/losses on your own tax return.

When I receive a K-1, does Quest need a copy of that? Does Quest file this on my behalf? 

Quest does not need a copy of your K-1. If we do receive a copy of it, we will save it to our records and send it to you for your tax records. Likewise, Quest will not file on your behalf and we encourage you to seek tax advice/guidance from a licensed professional.

Can I invest into a company my child or parent owns?

Unfortunately your IRA cannot invest into any entity that is owned or managed by a disqualified person, such as your son.

I want to create an LLC that is 100% owned by my IRA. Can I act as manager? 

While there is no issue with your LLC being 100% owned by your IRA, you cannot personally act as manager since you are considered a disqualified person. You will need to appoint a non-disqualified third party to serve as manager.

Can I reinvest my distributions on the entity/company side?

Yes you may  reinvest your distributions up until the funds are either counted as a final pay off and will be sent back to the IRA  to close the asset out 

Can I directly purchase Bitcoin?  

You cannot purchase Bitcoin directly. However, some custodians like Quest have partnered with a third party software that allows you all to purchase and trade certain Bitcoin with your IRA funds.

Do you create the entity for the client and provide legal documentation? 

No, your custodian does not create any legal entities nor provide investment documents for your investment. The account holder would need to contact an attorney to draft the legal documents and the appointed manager would file to create said entity, if applicable

My private shares that I hold in my SDIRA went public, and now I need to sell them. Does Quest help in selling my shares for me?

When shares go public, a client will transfer your shares out of Quest to a custodian that is a licensed brokerage firm that can sell and trade this asset. Quest can help with outgoing in-kind transfers.

Do I need to put my personal information on my subscription agreement questionnaire? Do you all sign or we sign the investment agreements?

Since this investment is being purchased with your IRA funds, we would need your IRA's information with our proper vesting information which includes the name of your IRA, the custodian address and tax ID or the IRA's own EIN, if applicable. Quest will sign on behalf your IRA you as the account would solely complete the documents.

Fair Market Valuation (FMV)

What is a Fair Market Valuation (FMV)?

A Fair Market Valuation determines the value of each asset in your account, which is reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each year on IRS Form 5498.

Why does Quest Trust Company require an FMV each year?

This is not a requirement of Quest Trust Company. It is a requirement of the IRS. Internal Revenue Code Section 408(i) requires the trustee or custodian of an IRA to file reports detailing certain information each year “in such manner as the Secretary prescribes” and to furnish this information to individuals “not later than January 31 of the calendar year following the calendar year to which such reports relate.” The Code of Federal Regulations Section 1.408-5 delineates the requirements for the reports, including the amount of contributions, the amount of distributions, the name and address of the trustee, and “such other information as the Commissioner may require.” Distributions are required to be reported on IRS Form 1099-R. Contributions and the Fair Market Value of the account as of December 31 each year are required to be reported on IRS Form 5498.

Do all of my assets need to have an FMV?

Yes, except for cash. Most assets in IRAs consist of stocks and mutual funds, which are easy to value since they are traded on an established market and have a readily determinable market value at the end of each day. Assets in self-directed IRAs typically are not traded on any established market and do not have a readily determinable market value, yet the value as of December 31 still must be reported by the custodian or trustee.

My account is a Roth IRA. Do I still need to have an FMV even though distributions will be tax free?

Yes. There is no exception to the requirements just because qualified distributions may be tax free.

Do the same requirements apply to my Health Savings Account (HSA), Coverdell Education Savings Account (CESA), and my Solo 401(k)?

Yes. The requirements are the same, except that in a Solo 401(k) you must do the reporting since you are the trustee of the plan.

Why does Quest Trust Company insist on additional documentation besides the FMV form?

Quest Trust Company requires this information to verify the valuation in case the IRS audits your account, and so we can accurately reflect the proper valuation on IRS Form 5498.

Why does Quest Trust Company need the FMVs when there no taxes due on the investment gains while the money is in the IRA?

The simple answer is because the IRS requires it. In certain circumstances, the FMV comes into play for tax purposes. For example, when your assets are in a Traditional IRA and you reach age 73, you are required to begin taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) based on the value of the account. Additional circumstances include a valuation of an asset which is being distributed in-kind, or converted from a pre-tax account such as a Traditional IRA into a Roth IRA, or upon the death of the IRA owner for estate purposes. Also, sometimes accounts are distributed prematurely for various reasons, which may result in taxes and penalties.

What will Quest Trust Company do if I simply refuse to comply with the FMV requirements?

Quest Trust Company has a duty imposed upon us by the IRS to accurately report the Fair Market Value of your account as of December 31 of each year. Eventually, if Quest is unable to determine the Fair Market Value of an asset, it will become administratively infeasible for us to continue acting as the custodian for that asset, and it will be distributed to you at its last known Fair Market Value. This can result in substantial taxes and penalties.

Can I have Quest Trust Company determine the value?

Yes. For a fee, Quest Trust Company can attempt to determine the Fair Market Value of the assets in your IRA. Your IRA will be responsible for any professional or other fees incurred by Quest in determining the Fair Market Value of your account. If there is insufficient information to determine a Fair Market Value for your asset, and you are not able to provide assistance, then it may become administratively infeasible for Quest to continue to act as custodian for that asset.

Does the IRS really care about FMVs when there are no tax implications, or is this just bureaucratic nonsense?

Yes, the IRS cares very much about this issue. In 2015, the IRS added boxes 15a and 15b to Form 5498. Previously, all that was reported was the aggregate total value of all assets in your IRA, including cash or marketable securities. In Box 15a the custodian must report the total value of all assets which are not traded on an established market and do not have a readily determinable value. In Box 15b the custodian must list a code which describes the type of non-traditional assets in the account (e.g. real estate, promissory notes, limited partnerships, options, etc.). Form 1099-R, which is used to report distributions of assets and Roth conversions, has a new code K which indicates that the asset distributed or converted to a Roth IRA does not trade on an established market and does not have a readily determinable value. In this way, they are able to laser focus their audits to self-directed IRAs with non-traditional assets where the Fair Market Value may be inaccurate.

Where can I find more information?

Click here to visit our Fair Market Valuation (FMV) page for more information.


Can my IRA buy real estate with a loan or take over a property subject to an existing loan?

Yes. An IRA may borrow money to acquire real estate or take over a property subject to an existing loan, provided that the loan is non-recourse to the IRA and to any “disqualified person.” This means that typically the lender may only foreclose on the property in the event of a default. Even if there is a deficiency, the lender cannot come after the rest of the IRA’s assets, nor can the lender come after the IRA owner or any other disqualified person. Neither the IRA holder nor any other disqualified person is permitted to sign a personal guarantee of the debt.

Where can I get a non-recourse loan for my IRA?

There are at least four sources for financing which do not violate the non-recourse requirements for IRA’s. First, there is seller financing. Most sellers understand that if the loan goes into default they get the property back anyway, so asking for the loan to be non-recourse should not be too difficult to negotiate. Second, there is private financing from financial friends. If you cultivate a reputation as a professional real estate investor, there should be no reason that your financial friends would not loan your IRA money on a non-recourse basis, either from their own funds or from their own IRA’s. I have seen IRAs borrow the money for both the purchase and the rehab on a non-recourse loan! Third, there are banks and hard money lenders. Non-recourse loans are not the norm, so many banks will turn you down. However, there is at least one bank that lends in all 50 states, and in Houston I have had at least 3 local banks and 2 hard money lenders make non-recourse loans to IRAs. Finally, as mentioned above, you could take over a property subject to an existing loan, provided the originator of the loan is not you or another disqualified person.

Is there any tax effect of having an IRA own debt financed real estate?

Yes. Income and gains from investments in an IRA, including real estate, are normally not taxed until the income is distributed (unless the distribution is a qualifying distribution from a Roth IRA, a Coverdell Education Savings Account, or a Health Savings Account, in which case the distribution is tax free). However, if the IRA owns property subject to debt, either directly or indirectly through an LLC or a partnership, it may owe tax on the net income from the property or partnership.

If the profits from an investment are taxable to an IRA, does that mean it is prohibited?

Absolutely not! There is nothing prohibited at all about making investments in your IRA which will cause the IRA to owe taxes.

But if an investment is taxable, why do it in the IRA?

That is a good question. To figure out if this makes sense, ask yourself the following key questions. First, what would you pay in taxes if you made the same investment outside of the IRA? The “penalty” for making the investment inside your IRA, if any, is only the amount of tax your IRA would pay which exceeds what you would pay personally outside of your IRA. Unlike personal investments, the IRA owes tax only on the portion of the net income related to the debt, so depending on how heavily leveraged the property is the IRA may actually owe less tax than you would personally on the same investment. Second, does the return you expect from this investment even after paying the tax exceed the return you could achieve in other non-taxable investments within the IRA? For example, one client was able to grow her Roth IRA from $3,000 to over $33,000 using debt financed real estate in under 4 months even after the IRA paid taxes on the gain! Third, do you have plans for re-investing the profits from the investment? If you re-invest your profits from an investment made outside of your IRA you pay taxes again on the profits from the next investment, and the one after that, etc. At least within the IRA you have the choice of making future investments which will be tax free or tax deferred, depending on the type of account you have.

If the IRA pays a tax, and then it is distributed to me and taxed again, isn't that double taxation?

Yes, unless it is a qualified tax-free distribution from a Roth IRA, a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA). The fact is that you still want your IRA to grow, and sometimes the best way to accomplish that goal is to make investments which will cause the IRA to pay taxes. Keep in mind that companies which are publicly traded already have paid taxes before dividends are distributed, and the value of the stock takes into consideration the profits after the payment of income taxes. In that sense, even stock and mutual funds are subject to “double taxation.”

What form does the IRA file if it owes taxes?

IRS Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return.

What is the tax rate that IRA’s must pay?

The IRA is taxed at the rate for trusts. Refer to the instructions for IRS Form 990-T for current rates. Capital gain income is taxed according to the usual rules for short-term and long-term capital gains.

Is there any way to get around paying this tax?

Yes. In some ways it may be considered a “voluntary” tax, since investments can often be structured in such a way as to avoid taxation. Some ways to structure your IRA investment to avoid taxation include loaning money instead of acquiring the real estate directly or purchasing an option on the real estate, then assigning or canceling the option for a fee. These techniques have a disadvantage in that they may not result in as much profit to the IRA, but will generally be free of tax. There is also an exemption from this tax for 401(k)s and other qualified plans in certain circumstances.

Where can I find out more information?

Unrelated Business Taxable Income and Unrelated Debt Financed Income are covered in IRS Publication 598, which is freely available on the IRS website at The actual statutes may be found in Internal Revenue Code §511-514. There is one general truth that applies both inside and outside of an IRA – you can do more with debt than you can without it. Despite the increased risk from debt and the taxes due on income from debt financed property, a careful analysis may lead to the conclusion that having your IRA pay taxes now may be the way to financial freedom in your retirement. Be sure to have your IRA pay the tax if it owes it, though. As Quest always says, “Don’t mess with the IRS, because they have what it takes to take what you have!” If you have additional questions, you may schedule a consultation with an IRA Specialist. If you have specific questions regarding your tax situation, we recommend you contact your accountant or tax advisor. 

Gold Family

What is the Gold Family Plan? 

The Quest Gold Family plan is an all-inclusive fee package offered by Quest Trust Company. It covers up to 10 accounts (belonging to the investor or their immediate family) under a single fee structure. Immediate family for the account holder includes their spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings, and in-laws. The Gold Family Department was created to provide specialized customer service for Gold Family members, ensuring timely and proper handling of their accounts.

What fees does the Gold Family plan include?

The Gold Family plan includes all maintenance and transaction fees, except wire fees, special services fees, overnight fees, and asset research fees.

What are fees associated with in self-directed IRAs (SDIRAs)? 

Fees are typically associated with various transactions and administrative services when you self-direct your IRA into privately held assets.  Fees such as transaction fees and check fees and are included in the Gold Family Plan.

Are all fee plans for SDIRAs the same?

No, fee plans can vary. Some may be more suitable for certain investors based on factors like the number of assets or the value of an account.

How does the Gold Family Plan differ from other fee options?

The Gold Family Plan includes most transactional fees within a flat annual fee, removing the need to worry about individual transaction costs.

When is the fee charged and paid?

Gold Family plan has an annual fee which is charged to the account in January and must be paid in full by the end of the month.

If I want to switch to the Gold Family plan mid-year, do the fees that I paid earlier in the year apply toward my Gold Family annual fee?

No, however Quest will prorate the fee based on the number of months until the end of the year.

Does the Gold Family Plan offer any additional benefits?

Yes, the Gold Family Plan comes with a "Gold Member Concierge" service which provides a high level of customer service, dedicated representatives, and a personal email for inquiries. Click here for more information.

How do I switch to the Gold Family Plan? 

Switching is quick and easy. Just complete and submit a Gold Family Fee Schedule. You may also contact a Gold Family representative to see if this option is right for you by emailing or calling our office at 855-386-4727.

Can multiple family members be included under a single Gold Family Plan?

Yes, the Gold Family Plan can cover up to 10 accounts belonging to you or your immediate family members.

Do I need to be an active investor to benefit from the Gold Family Plan?

While the plan is designed to be especially advantageous for active investors, the value it provides can be beneficial for various investment strategies.

How can I get more information about the Gold Family Plan?

You can read more about the Gold Family Plan at this link.

Why might the Gold Family Plan be a good option for me?

If you're an active investor and want an all-inclusive fee option without the need to track individual transaction costs, the Gold Family Plan might be suitable.

How do I know if the Gold Family Plan offers the best value for my investment needs?

By reviewing the Fee Schedule and comparing it with your anticipated investment activities, you can gauge if the Gold Family Plan provides the best value.

How can I get in touch with a Gold Family representative?

Gold Family members can call 855-386-4727 and ask to speak to a representative or email

Maintaining Your Quest Account

Can I use one log-in for accessing all my family members account(s)? 

If you aren’t listed as a third party on the Quest accounts, you will not have access to viewing account information. To gain viewing access the account holder must have you listed as IPD or LPOA on their account.

How do I update my account information (i.e., address, telephone number, email)? 

To update account information, please complete a Change of Account Holder Form. You may also update some of your account information by accessing your Client Portal.

I have never logged into the Client Portal before, what is my PIN and password? 

If this is your first time logging into the portal, go to the portal login page and select “First Time User.” After, following the prompts on the screen you will be directed to establish a unique 4-digit PIN and 8-character password for your account.

I keep receiving an “Unrecognized Device,” error message when attempting to login. How do I prevent this error from happening?

A few common reasons you’re receiving the “Unrecognized Device,” error message could be due to using a new network, multiple failed attempt logins, using a new device, or the login information is auto-filling (remember me is selected). If the “Unrecognized Device,” error message appears, please follow the instructions on the screen by inputting your unique 4-digit PIN and answering one of the following security questions.

I received an email stating that I have a message in my secured message center. Why am I not seeing the attachment in my email? 

To view messages within your secured message center, you will need to login into your client portal and select “Secured Message Center.” The secured message center is where you can locate updates and sensitive information pertaining to your Quest account.


I have an IRA at another custodian. How do I get funds from that account to my Quest account?

Trustee-to-trustee transfers are initiated by the receiving custodian. If you are moving between like IRAs (i.e. Traditional to Traditional, Roth to Roth, etc.) you will need to contact the Transfers Department at Quest Trust Company so they can provide you with accurate information on what you will need to complete the trustee-to-trustee transfer. You will need to complete the Quest Trust Company Transfer Form to request the funds from your current custodian.

What does Quest need from me to initiate this transfer from my current custodian?

You will need to complete Quest Trust Company’s Transfer form, and return it to Quest so we can start the transfer process. The method in which you return the Transfer form to Quest is dependent on your current custodian’s requirements. Some custodians will accept faxed copies, while others will require your original signed transfer form. You may contact your current custodian, or our Transfers Department, to learn how to best submit your transfer form to Quest Trust Company.

What is a Medallion Signature Guarantee? And do I need to obtain one for my transfer?

A Medallion Signature Guarantee stamp may be obtained from a domestic bank or other financial institutions which participates in a Medallion program (STAMP). It is a light green stamp which verifies the legitimacy of a signature and the signatory's overall request. We do not require the Medallion Signature Guarantee at Quest Trust Company, however your current custodian may require the stamp to complete the transfer request. Please contact your current custodian, or the Transfers Department, to learn if a medallion signature guarantee is required to complete your transfer.

Do I need to liquidate before the transfer is initiated?

Yes, if your funds are invested into any public assets (i.e. public stock, mutual funds, bonds, etc.) you will need to contact your current custodian to start the liquidation process. You must liquidate the amount requested prior to Quest Trust Company initiating the transfer from your current custodian. Not doing so could result in a delay or rejection of the transfer. Please note, private assets may be transferred in kind if desired. Contact Quest Trust Company’s Transfers Department for more information.

What is liquidation, and will I be penalized for it?

Liquidation is the process of converting assets into cash or cash equivalents by selling them. Liquidation is not a distribution of your IRA account, so you will not be taxed or penalized for starting the liquidation process.

How long will the transfer process take for cash transfers?

The duration of the transfer will depend on liquidation, the processing time of your current custodian, and how you select to have the funds issued to Quest Trust Company. Liquidation times vary per custodian and every custodian has a different processing time, some are as quick as 24-48 hours and others can take 8-10 days or longer. The length of the transfer will also depend on if you wish to have your current custodian send the funds by check, ACH, or wire.

  • Check – 7-10 business days; checks are sent regular mail and will have a 5 business day hold from the initial date of deposit into your Quest account.
  • Wire – 24-48 hours; wires are deposited the following business day once received by Quest. Please be advised that not all custodians can issue wires. If you wish to have funds sent to Quest by wire please contact your current custodian or the Transfers Department at Quest Trust Company to confirm that option is available.
  • ACH – 3-5 business days; ACH’s are deposited the following business day once received by Quest. Please be advised that not all custodians can issue ACHs. If you wish to have funds sent to Quest by ACH please contact your current custodian or the Transfers Department at Quest Trust Company to confirm that option is available.


What is a rollover?

A rollover occurs when an individual requests a distribution from a Qualified Retirement Plan or IRA and then rolls the funds into an IRA. The IRA owner can choose to do a direct rollover into their retirement account or a 60 day rollover in which the IRA owner has 60 days from the time of receiving the funds to rollover the distribution into another IRA. A rollover is always initiated by the client and is reported to the IRS. A 1099 is issued for the distribution of the employer plan and a 5498 is issued for the contribution to your IRA.

I have an old employer plan (i.e. 401(k), 403(b), 457) how do I get those funds into my Quest Trust account?

You will need to contact the plan administrator, or custodian of the plan and complete their distribution/rollover paperwork. Checks are generally issued with rollovers, the check will need to be made payable to your IRA to avoid taxes or penalties. Quest can accept funds via wire if your custodian can issue them this way. You will need to contact Quest Trust Company’s Transfer Department for the proper wire instructions to give to your custodian. The vesting for the check is as follows:

  • Quest Trust Company FBO [client’s name] IRA # [client’s account number]
What is the difference between a direct rollover and a 60 day rollover?
  • Direct Rollover – usually involves a non-IRA retirement plan, such as a qualified plan 401(k), 403(b) account or 457(b) account. If you are getting a distribution from a retirement account you can ask your plan administrator to make the payment directly to another retirement plan or to an IRA.
  • 60 day Rollover – is a distribution from an IRA or retirement plan that is paid directly to you. In order to avoid having taxes or penalties on your distribution you can deposit all or a portion of the distributed funds in an IRA or retirement plan within 60 days. You have 60 days from the date you receive an IRA or retirement plan distribution to roll it over to another plan or IRA. The IRS may waive the 60-day rollover requirement in certain situations if you missed the deadline because of circumstances beyond your control.
What is the ‘one rollover per twelve month rule’?

This applies only for IRA-to-IRA rollovers. The rule limits all of the individuals IRAs to 1 Rollover in a 12 month period. The 12 month period begins from the date of distribution. If you exceed the maximum number of rollovers, all subsequent rollovers will be treated as an excess contribution.

Do I need to do anything on Quest’s side for the rollover of an employer plan?

Yes, you will need to complete Quest Trust Company internal Rollover Form. This form will not initiate any movement of funds. Quest will save the form to our records for reporting purposes.

What if my employer plan is with my current employer, can I still roll funds over to a Quest Trust Company?

If your employer plan is with your current employer you will need to contact them about how the plan was setup. Some companies will allow you to do an in-service rollover.

Am I able to rollover an IRA from another custodian to my IRA at Quest?

Yes, you can do an IRA-to-IRA rollover, but you can only do one per 12 months. Please contact any custodian you have to make sure you have not completed a rollover before initiating.

In-Kind Asset Transfers

What is an in-kind asset transfer?

If you hold an investment at one custodian and you want to transfer the investment to a new custodian without selling, you would transfer over that asset “in-kind”. You can only do an in-kind transfer if the investment you own is able to be held at both financial institutions.

What is the process for transferring over my assets ‘in-kind’ and how long will the transfer process take?

Prior to initiating the transfer, your asset will go through a review process to ensure it is compliant with Quest Trust Company internal requirements. Once it is determined the asset is acceptable and Quest Trust has received a copy of the re-registration documents, we will initiate the transfer from your current custodian. The duration varies from transfer to transfer. It is dependent on how fast Quest Trust Company can receive the documents from you to review, your current custodians processing time, and how fast the transfer of ownership paperwork can be received by Quest Trust Company.

What documents do I need to submit to begin the review process for my in-kind transfer?

You will need to provide copies of the original investment documents as well as supporting documentation based on your asset type. You will need to provide a draft of the re-registration paperwork that will convey the transfer of ownership using the proper Quest vesting. You will need to complete the Quest transfer form with a wet-ink signature and an In-Kind Asset Questionnaire.

Do you draft my transfer of ownership paperwork or can you send me a template to follow?

Quest Trust Company does not provide any tax, legal, or investment advice; please consult with an attorney, accountant, or a financial advisor if needed.

Will I need to do anything once my in-kind transfer is complete?

If you have not already notified your borrower, renter, etc. that your asset will be held at another custodian, please advise them of this change. You will need to inform them that payments can be sent to our corporate office in Houston, Texas or they have the ability to Pay Online.

What fees will be associated with my in-kind transfer?

At the time the asset is placed in the client’s account, they will be charged the $125 re registration fee. Administrative fees will be determined by your annual fee option and will apply once your assets is fully transferred to Quest.

  • Option One – Fee Based on Number of Assets: you will charged your annual asset fee of $350 per asset at the time Quest completes your in-kind transfer
  • Option Two – Fee Based on Total Account Value: you will be charged your annual asset fee on a quarterly bases
Do my funds need to stay in my Quest Trust Company account for a certain amount of time before I can use them for an investment?

No, your funds are allowed to leave your account as soon as the check or ACH/wire hold is up.

Do I need to keep a certain amount of liquid cash in my Quest Trust Company account?

No, Quest Trust Company does not require a minimum amount to stay in your IRA account.

Internal Transfers

What is an internal transfer?

An internal transfer occurs when you are transferring funds from one IRA account at Quest to another eligible IRA account at Quest.

What does Quest need from me to initiate this transfer?

You will need to complete Quest Trust Company’s Internal Transfer form, and return it to Quest so we can start the transfer process. This form can be signed electronically via adobe sign or it can be wet-inked.

What fees will be associated with my internal transfer?

Quest does not charge a fee for internal movement of funds.

What is the process for transferring assets ‘in-kind’ to another Quest Trust Company account and how long will the transfer process take?

You will need to provide a draft of the re-registration paperwork that will convey the transfer of ownership using the new, proper Quest vesting. Along with the Quest internal transfer form with either a wet-ink signature or an adobe sign. The duration varies from transfer to transfer. It is dependent on how fast Quest Trust Company can receive the transfer of ownership documents from you to review.

Do you draft my transfer of ownership paperwork or can you send me a template to follow?

Quest Trust Company does not provide any tax, legal, or investment advice; please consult with an attorney, accountant, or a financial advisor if needed.

Divorce Transfers

What is a divorce transfer?

Divorce transfers occur when all or a portion of an IRA owned by one spouse is awarded to a former spouse in a dissolution of marriage.

What does Quest need from me (IRA holder & former spouse) to initiate this transfer?

The IRA holder and former spouse will need to complete Quest Trust Company’s Transfer Due to Divorce form. This form can be signed electronically via adobe sign or it can be wet-inked. The IRA holder and former spouse will also need to submit a copy of the divorce or separation order addressing the IRA. Please note that we will not be able to accept documents that have not been finalized in court. If you need to freeze your account while you are in the process of finalizing your divorce please contact the Transfers Department at Quest Trust Company.

What fees will be associated with my internal transfer?

If the former spouse will be establishing a new IRA at Quest, there is a $100 account opening fee. If the former spouse chooses to transfer the awarded funds or assets ‘in-kind’ out of Quest, there would be a $5 check/ACH or $30 wire fee.

What is the process for transferring assets ‘in-kind’ to a former spouse and how long will the transfer process take?

Either the IRA holder or former spouse will need to provide a draft of the re-registration paperwork that will convey the transfer of ownership using the proper Quest vesting. The duration varies from transfer to transfer. It is dependent on how fast Quest Trust Company can receive the transfer of ownership documents from you to review.

Do you draft my transfer of ownership paperwork or can you send me a template to follow?

Quest Trust Company does not provide any tax, legal, or investment advice; please consult with an attorney, accountant, or a financial advisor if needed.

Transfer Out of Quest

What does Quest need from me to initiate this transfer?

Transfers are initiated by the receiving custodian, therefore you will need to contact the receiving firm and complete their transfer paperwork. Along with the transfer request, the custodian must include a Corporate Resolution, Secretary’s Certificate, or any other document that confirms the authorized signature on the transfer request. Quest Trust Company does not require a Medallion Signature Guarantee nor do we need original paperwork. All transfer forms and documents can be sent via fax, secure upload, email or mail.

What fees will be associated with my transfer out of Quest?

The fee would be dependent on how you would like the funds to be sent to the receiving custodian. Either $5 check/ACH or $30 wire fee.

What is the process for transferring assets ‘in-kind’ out of Quest and how long will the transfer process take?

Along with the receiving custodian transfer form, you will need to provide a draft of the re-registration paperwork that will convey the transfer of ownership. The duration varies from transfer to transfer. It is dependent on how fast Quest Trust Company can receive the transfer of ownership documents from you to review.

Do you draft my transfer of ownership paperwork or can you send me a template to follow?

Quest Trust Company does not provide any tax, legal, or investment advice; please consult with an attorney, accountant, or a financial advisor if needed.

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