In spite of all the hype and everything you've heard, I have to start out by telling you there is NO such thing as a “check-book IRA”. That's right it DOESN'T exist. On the other hand someone deserves kudos for coining that term because it is a brilliant marketing tool.
Let me explain. An IRA is an IRA is an IRA. A bank account with a checking account is just another of the many alternative investment options available to an IRA holder. Of course you'll never be able to open an account like this unless you are working with an IRA Administrator like SIPS. We've helped our clients open bank accounts for their IRA's in many different countries.
It's important to point out in some instances you are required to use an LLC owned by your IRA to open a checking account. Many countries either do not recognize an IRA or won't allow an IRA to open a bank account directly in the name of the IRA but they will welcome your account with open arms if it's titled in the name of an LLC.
Why would you even want a banking account with checking for your IRA? Simple, it gives you greater direct control over your IRA assets and it allows you to cut down on fees you might otherwise be exposed to when your custodian has to perform administrative actions. For example, let's say you own a piece of income producing rental property. You'd simply deposit all income and pay all expenses for the property through the IRA bank account.
If you are interested or need additional information don't hesitate to let us know.