I was reading a popular investment forum that was discussing the best types of assets to put in a tax shelter like a Roth IRA, and the recommendation that received universal praise was real estate. This is the conventional wisdom, and for good reason. In taxable accounts, real estate investment trust income is taxed at the full ordinary income tax rate.
In other words, a BP dividend in a taxable account will only require the payment of 15% in tax if you file single and make between $37,450 and $413,200 or file jointly and make between $74,900 and $464,850. But if you own something like Realty Income in a taxable account, the dividend tax would be anywhere from 25% to 35%. When you put a REIT in an IRA, you get to avoid those extra points of taxation and receive the full compounding of the asset while it remains in the tax shelter.