Legal and Compliance Considerations

Navigating the legal and compliance landscape of SDIRA investing requires careful consideration and adherence to specific regulatory guidelines. Here are essential legal and compliance considerations investors should keep in mind when investing with a self-directed IRA:

Understanding Regulatory Framework:

  • Remember that SDIRA is a marketing term and does not exist anywhere in any IRS revenue code or publication. Therefore, it is good practice to familiarize yourself with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which governs all US retirement accounts.
  • Stay informed about updates, changes, and interpretations of relevant laws and regulations to ensure compliance with legal requirements.

Prohibited Transactions:

  • Prohibited transactions occur when certain transactions are made that involve disqualified persons or businesses, self-dealing, and investments in prohibited assets.
  • Avoid engaging in prohibited transactions, as they can result in severe tax consequences, penalties, and disqualification of your SDIRA.
  • Learn more about the specifics of prohibited transactions in the Prohibited Transactions (PT) tab.

Disqualified Persons:

  • Identify disqualified persons who are prohibited from engaging in transactions with your Self-Directed IRA. Disqualified persons include yourself, your spouse, lineal descendants, lineal ascendants, and entities controlled by these individuals.
  • Exercise caution when conducting transactions involving disqualified persons to avoid violating IRS regulations and triggering penalties.
  • Learn more about identifying disqualified persons in the Prohibited Transactions (PT) tab.

Investment Eligibility:

  • Determine the eligibility of potential investments within your Self-Directed IRA. While SDIRAs offer broad investment options, certain assets may be prohibited, including life insurance contracts, collectibles, and investments involving disqualified persons.
  • Verify the eligibility of specific investment opportunities with your SDIRA custodian or trustee to ensure compliance with IRS regulations.

Due Diligence and Documentation:

  • Conduct thorough due diligence on potential investment opportunities before committing funds. Review investment documents, financial statements, and legal agreements to assess risks, terms, and conditions.
  • Maintain accurate records and documentation of all transactions, investments, and correspondence related to your SDIRA. Keep detailed records for reporting, compliance, and audit purposes.
  • Know what to do if an asset in your SDIRA goes into a default status. Be sure to discuss this process with your custodian to be fully prepared.
  • Visit the Due Diligence page for more information.

Reporting and Disclosures:

  • Fulfill reporting and disclosure requirements associated with Self-Directed IRA investments. Report contributions, distributions, and transactions accurately and timely to the IRS and other regulatory authorities.
  • Ensure compliance with annual reporting obligations, such as filing IRS Form 5498 for contributions, valuations, and RMDs as well as filing IRS Form 1099-R for SDIRA distributions.
  • Learn more about the various forms associated with self-directed IRAs in the Self-Directed IRA Paperwork tab.


Investing with a Self-Directed IRA offers investors the opportunity to diversify their retirement funds and pursue alternative investments with potential for higher returns. However, navigating the legal and compliance considerations of SDIRA investing is essential to ensure adherence to regulatory requirements and mitigate risks. Remember, you can always seek guidance from your SDIRA custodian or other qualified professionals. By understanding and addressing legal and compliance considerations proactively, investors can navigate the complexities of SDIRA investing effectively and maximize the benefits of their retirement accounts.

DISCLAIMER: The content of this website and any associated content is for informational purposes only, is not intended to and does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase to any person in any jurisdiction, and is not and shall not be construed as investment, legal, business, or tax advice.