A successful investment in real estate is worth celebrating. If you plan to parlay the proceeds and make another investment in a different property, however, there’s one hitch. To maximize the potential of the follow-up investment, you must qualify for a 1031 exchange. This investment tool, covered in Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code, allows you to defer the capital gains taxes on the first investment and put more of your gains back to work for you.
Before we delve into some of the basic qualification requirements, it’s worth noting that the Tax Cut and Jobs Act that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, essentially left the law alone as it pertains to real estate investments. Read on to learn more about the 1031 exchange requirements that your transaction must meet in order for you to defer your capital gains taxes.
Once you've sold a property you intend to use in a 1031 exchange, you have 45 days from the date of the transaction to identify "like-kind" property and 180 days to purchase this property. Despite the name, like-kind doesn't have to mean the properties are identical in price, quality, function or location. Because of this, most real estate will be considered like-kind with other real estate of the same nature, whether you're exchanging a veterinarian's office for a strip mall or an auto dealership for an assisted-living facility.
There are two key exceptions to the general like-kind rule for real estate: Properties that are conveyed without land are not like-kind to undeveloped land, and foreign real estate is not like-kind to U.S. real estate. Having a corporate partner such as Precision Global Corporation to help you identify potential investment properties that fit your goals can be key to a smooth, successful and lucrative 1031 exchange process.
Before 2018, 1031 exchanges could include a wide range of personal property investments, from fast-food franchise licenses to aircraft, boats, livestock and rare artwork. Tax reform eliminated investors’ opportunity to exchange one personal property investment for another, but maintained the "productive use or investment" requirement for real estate exchanges.
This means you can't use a 1031 exchange to defer capital gains taxes on the sale of a vacation residence, for example, unless you first put that residence into rental service. Once your residence becomes an income-producing rental property, it fulfills the “productive use” portion of the 1031 exchange requirements and ceases to be solely personal property.
Because a 1031 exchange defers capital gains taxes on a piece of property that has appreciated in value, swapping one property for a lower-priced one can mean losing the full advantage this exemption provides. Because of this, you'll want to identify an investment property that's worth at least as much as the property you're planning to sell.
Because there's no lifetime limit for the number of times a 1031 exchange is used, it can often make sense to use this as an opportunity to upgrade your real estate holdings. By purchasing property that's worth more than the property you're selling, riding the property value upward, then cashing out these gains and upgrading again, you'll be able to significantly increase the value of your portfolio over time — all without paying a penny in capital gains taxes until you decide it’s time to cash out for good, preferably when the opportunity to do so is the most beneficial.
This is just a basic rundown of the 1031 exchange requirements. If you need more information or want to identify opportunities to take advantage of a 1031 exchange, contact us today!