Tax Savvy Investing – 1031 Tax-Deferred Exchanges
|This article is meant to be an introduction on the topic of performing tax-deferred exchanges. There are a number of legal hoops that the IRS makes you jump through to complete a tax-deferred exchange, but they are actually not that complicated once you study up on them a bit.
A tax deferred exchange allows us to sell a piece of investment (i.e. rental), trade or business property, buy a new property with the gain or profit from the sale, and not owe taxes on the sale immediately. If you eventually sell the new piece of property, you would owe taxes at that time. Generally, all gains and losses on sales of real estate are taxable, but an exception lies where the property sold is traded or exchanged for “like-kind” property. The new property is seen as a continuation of the original investment, so taxes are not due at the time of the sale.
Many people view tax deferred exchanges as being for huge corporations, or only for professional investors. I believe that everyone should take advantage of these where they can. Strategy — purchase a rental home below market value, rent it for a year, sell it, and buy two rental properties with your gain. Note that if you do this too many times, the IRS may take the view that you are not a long term investor, and disallow such exchanges. When you get ready to do a tax-deferred exchange, you will need the services of a qualified CPA or Attorney. This is a basic introduction only, and you should always get professional advice from someone who has all the details on your deal, since so much liability is at stake. In my course I list the company that I use for these real estate exchanges. They are a national company and can help you out wherever you are in the country. I have used them for several deferred exchanges, and they have been an excellent resource and extremely competent.
Let’s look at how one of these deals would work. Assume that you own a rental property that has gone up in value. You’d like to sell this property and then reinvest the proceeds into some other rental real estate. You can avoid the tax bill if you can find suitable property to exchange for. The difficulty of the tax deferred exchange is that the property you are going to purchase must be identified within a certain amount of time, and it must be closed within a certain amount of time after it is identified. Unfortunately, no extensions are possible.
Technical Note: You can identify more than one property as the replacement property. However, the maximum number of replacement properties that you may identify without regard to fair market value is three properties. You may identify any number of properties provided that the total value of these properties is not more than 200% of the value of the original property you are selling. Note that you don’t have to close on all the properties you identify. You can name several if you’re not sure what will close, or not close, but you have to observe the rules in this technical note in terms of the value of properties you identify. If at the end of the identification period you have identified more properties than you are allowed, you are generally treated as if no property was identified. This means that you pay taxes!
Time Limits For Completing the Exchange
For multiple property transfers, the 45 day identification period and the 180 day exchange period are determined by the earliest date a property is transferred.
Remember that this article is to provide basic information only. If you are planning on doing a tax deferred exchange, you really need to speak with a professional that handles these transactions on a regular basis. Information here is subject to change by IRS regulations or statute, so be sure to use current information provided by your accountant or other professional when planning a strategy involving tax deferred exchanges.