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September 20, 2023
Is a 1031 Exchange Right for You?
October 18, 2023

1031 Exchange Rules and Requirements

Person does paperwork
Person does paperwork

A 1031 exchange, often referred to as a like-kind exchange, is a powerful tax-deferral strategy used by real estate investors to defer capital gains taxes when selling one investment property and acquiring another. However, the rules and requirements governing 1031 exchanges are intricate and must be followed diligently to enjoy the tax benefits. In this blog post, we’ll explore the essential rules and requirements that investors must adhere to when considering a 1031 exchange.

Like-Kind Properties

Both the relinquished property (the one you’re selling) and the replacement property (the one you’re buying) must be of like-kind. Fortunately, the like-kind requirement for real estate is quite broad. For instance, you can exchange a residential property for a commercial property or even vacant land, as long as the properties are located within the U.S. and held for investment, income production or use in a trade or business. Personal residences do not qualify for a 1031 exchange.

Identification and Replacement Periods

After selling the relinquished property, you have 45 calendar days to identify potential replacement properties. This identification must be made in writing and delivered to a qualified intermediary or another party involved in the exchange. The replacement property (or properties) must be specified using a physical address or legal description to be in accordance with IRC § 1031.

You must complete the acquisition of the replacement property (or properties) within 180 calendar days from the sale of the relinquished property. If you have not closed on the replacement property within that time frame, you must pay taxes on the initial sale; no extensions or exceptions are available.

Replacement Property Identification

You must follow certain rules when identifying potential replacement properties. You can choose from the following three rules depending on what is relevant for your specific exchange:

  1. The 3-Property Rule: You can identify up to three properties regardless of fair market value. You must close one at least one of the properties for a valid exchange.
  2. The 200% Rule: If you want to consider more than three properties, the combined fair market value of all the identified properties cannot exceed 200 percent of the fair market value of all the relinquished properties.
  3. The 95% Rule: You may identify an infinite number of properties that have a combined value of more than 200 percent of the value of what you sold. However, you must acquire at least 95 percent of the fair market value of the properties you identified.

To defer all capital gains taxes, the total purchase price of the replacement property (or properties) must be equal or greater to the new sales price of the relinquished property.

Qualified Intermediary

A qualified intermediary (QI) must be used to facilitate the exchange. The QI holds the proceeds from the sale of the relinquished property and ensures they are directly applied to the purchase of the replacement property. As the taxpayer, you cannot receive or control the funds from the sale of the relinquished property.

A 1031 exchange can be a powerful wealth-building tool for real estate investors, but it’s essential to understand and comply with the rules and requirements outlined by the IRS. Failure to do so may result in tax liabilities and the disqualification of the exchange. Working with experienced tax and legal professionals is highly recommended to ensure a smooth and compliant 1031 exchange transaction. When executed correctly, a 1031 exchange can help you defer capital gains taxes, preserve your investment capital, and facilitate strategic portfolio growth. Contact Menlo 1031 to discuss your 1031 exchange.

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