Intro to the 1031 Exchange: What Are They and What Are the Rules

In simple terms, a 1031 exchange is a trade of one investment property for another that allows you to defer capital gains taxes. While potential tax reform could impact 1031 exchanges, we wanted to walk through what they can do for you today. This powerful tax strategy must be used carefully as there many moving parts, some of which are time sensitive, that must be met before you can start.

Let’s walk through some of the basics on the 1031 exchange.

What are capital gains taxes?

Capital gains taxes apply to profits made from the sale of an asset, which in this case, would be your property.

What is a 1031 exchange Qualified Intermediary?

In most cases, a 1031 exchange will be considered a “delayed exchange” as most people need time to find a suitable replacement property to invest in. If you do use a delayed exchange, you will need to partner with a Qualified Intermediary to handle your transaction.

This person, also known as an accommodator, facilitator, intermediary, or QI, facilitates the following:

We offer this service through Asset Preservation Inc. If you would like to learn more, visit API Exchange.

What are the 45-day and 180-day rules?

1031 exchanges are very time sensitive. There are two timelines you must keep track of while doing an exchange: a 45-day mark and 180-day mark.

What is the “like-kind” rule?

Both the “original” and "replacement" properties must be held for investment or used in a business. The IRS uses the term "like-kind" to describe the type of properties that qualify. In simple terms, both the properties you sell, and purchase must be used for investment purposes. They don’t have to have identical functions, like residential property vs. commercial property, however they must both be “held for investment.”

Properties which are clearly not “like-kind” are an investor’s primary residence or property “held for sale.”

Note: To defer all capital gain taxes, you must buy a replacement property or properties of equal or greater value (net of closing costs), reinvesting all net proceeds from the sale of the original property. Any funds not reinvested are taxable.

When are capital gain taxes paid?

Maybe never. Many investors mistakenly believe they will have to pay the taxes sometime so they might as well just sell. Quite often, this is a bad investment decision. The tax on an exchange is deferred into the future and is only recognized when an investor sells the property for cash instead of performing an exchange. Under current tax law, investors can continue to exchange properties as often and for as long as they wish, thus moving up to better investments and putting off the taxes for many years.

This information is provided for general informational purposes only, should not be solely relied upon and is subject to change without notice.