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IRA Fees and Minimum Cash Balance

About IRA Services Trust Co. Fees

As the IRA account custodian, IRA Services Trust Co. charges fees for the administration and reporting of your account.

One of the big advantages of the Checkbook IRA program is that it minimizes possible account fees with the custodian.  By having the IRA make a single investment into the LLC/Trust entity created by Safeguard Advisors, you only have the basic fees associated with that one investment asset.  Whether you make one investment or ten inside the LLC, your fees at the IRA layer do not change.  By investing directly from within the LLC/Trust, you eliminate the per-transaction and quarterly per-asset fees that would occur at the IRA Services layer.

Effective April 1, 2020, you can expect $240 per year in annual account fees with IRA Services Trust Co.  This amount is comprised of quarterly fees of $50 for the account itself and $20 for holding the single LLC/Trust asset.

IRA Services Trust Co. updates fees periodically.  Check the current Fee Schedule and Financial Disclosure that can be found in the IRA Services Help Center (Forms section).

Minimum Cash Balance

In addition to holding the LLC/Trust asset that provides you with checkbook control the IRA account holds a money-market cash account with a minimum balance requirement of $500.

IRA Services fees are drawn from the cash account on the first business day of each quarter.

If you are regularly making contributions or taking distributions, a portion of such transactions is withheld to replenish the cash account balance if it is below $500.  As such, you would generally not need to take any special action to maintain the cash account balance.

If you are not making contributions or taking distributions, you may need to add money to the IRA account to maintain the minimum balance.  IRA Services Trust Company will notify you on your statement and via email when this is the case.

There are three ways you can accomplish this:

  • Reimburse the IRA from personal funds
  • Add funds to the IRA through a tax year contribution or transfer from a compatible retirement plan
  • Liquidate cash from the LLC back to the IRA account

Avoid Extra Fees – or Worse

If you fail to maintain the minimum cash balance in your account, it is possible that funds will not be available for IRA Services Trust Co. to draw fees on the first day of a given quarter.  When this happens, they will mail you an invoice at a cost of $15.

Avoid this extra cost by keeping the minimum balance amount in the IRA at all times.

Accounts that are delinquent on fees due to low cash balance for extended periods of time may be resigned and distributed by IRA Services Trust Co.  This could have severe tax consequences.

If You Need Help

These IRA-layer transactions will be processed by IRA Services Trust Co. and we encourage you to work directly with ISTC for specific questions about their forms, timelines, or to check on the status of a transaction in process.

Safeguard Advisors is familiar with, but not directly involved in this processing.  You are welcome to contact your Safeguard consultant for general guidance about the process.

IRA Services Trust Co.

Phone: 800-248-8447

Monday – Friday; 8:00am – 5:00pm Pacific time


IRA Services Help Center

Processing Forms

Several forms are linked from this document. They are also available on the IRA Services web site at:

IRA Services Help Center

From time to time, IRA Services Trust Co. updates forms and that may end up in the form URL being changed.  If you experience a broken link in this support article, refer to the above Forms site for the current document.

Delivery instructions are included in the last page footer of all IRA Services Trust Co. forms.

OPTION A: Reimburse the IRA for prior fees

When done correctly, this is our recommended method, as there are no processing fees associated with the transaction and you are not spending your tax-sheltered IRA dollars on account administration.

We recommend you do this in January each year.  IRA Services policy allows you to repay the IRA for fees assessed in the “current tax year”, but they extend a 2 month grace period until the end of February to do so.  By paying fees after the year-end statement is available, you can cover the full year’s worth of prior fees and replenish the account fully.

  1. Contact IRA Services Trust Co. to determine the amount of fees you are eligible to reimburse. This information will also be available on your quarterly IRA account statement.
  2. Write a personal check payable to:  IRA Services Trust Co.  List your Name and IRA Account# in the memo.
  3. Include a Deposit Notification with the following information
    • Your name, contact info, and IRA account number in section 1
    • Indicate this deposit is for Fees in section 2.6

Note that you may also wire funds and complete a DocuSign Deposit Notification form if you prefer or want to expedite the funding.  An inbound wire will cost $15.

Be advised that you cannot “pre-pay” fees or replenish a depleted minimum cash balance amount by this method.  Only IRA funds may be held as cash in the IRA.  This pay-from-behind approach only works if you keep the account at or above the required minimum on a regular basis.

OPTION B: Adding IRA/401(k) Funds to the IRA Account

There are three methods you may use to add qualified funds to the IRA account.

  • Contribution – New deposit to the IRA as a tax-year contribution
  • Transfer – Direct transfer from another IRA plan
  • Direct Rollover –rollover from a qualified employer plan such as a 401(k), 403(b) or pension

The process for each of these methods is documented in the article on Adding Funds to Your Checkbook IRA.

OPTION C: Liquidating cash from the LLC/Trust to the IRA Account

This process is essentially “selling shares of the entity”.  To send funds from the LLC/Trust back to the IRA account, use the following process:

  1. Write a check from the LLC/Trust bank account payable to: IRA Services Trust Co.  List your Name and IRA Account# in the memo.
  2. Include a Deposit Notification with the following information
    • Your name, contact info, and IRA account number in section 1
    • Indicate this is a Liquidation of an Investment Asset in section 2.7. Include the LLC/Trust
      name as the Asset Name and the amount of the liquidation.


Fees will vary based on the method you choose.

There are no fees for an inbound receipt of funds via check.

Inbound wire fees are $15

A liquidation of ownership interest in the LLC/Trust will cost $40

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