I will never regret the decade we lived on our sailboat, Odysea, while our four boys were young. So thankful that real estate investing combined with the judicious use of both section 121 and 1031 Exchanges allowed us to step off the beaten path and experience the live aboard lifestyle.
Using a 1031 Exchange to grow your real estate portfolio faster using Uncle Sam’s money is a strategy that has helped millions of investors.
But of all the things you need to know about a 1031 Exchange, the most important thing is that it must be in place BEFORE you sell your investment real estate. The moment you receive your sale proceeds, it’s TOO LATE and you will have to pay the tax. Many investors new to this tax deferral method have discovered this after their sale and paid for it – literally.
The great news is that even if you are closing tomorrow or don’t know when you will close, it is quick and easy to start your exchange. Once you know what title company will be handling the transaction, the exchange can be initiated on your behalf by your Qualified Intermediary (QI).
Initiating your exchange with a QI prior to your sale is a rule that is a critical thing to keep in mind as you continue to learn about 1031 exchanges. I hope you will use the free online resources here at www.the1031investor.com as you explore this option.
When it comes to selling investment property, depreciation is a gift with a catch. When you own the property depreciation tax deduction is a wonderful thing. The IRS essentially lets you pretend that your property is losing value at an even rate over 27 1/2 years (39 years if it’s a commercial property. You get to take that pretend loss as a tax write off – Bonus!!!
But wait. The IRS wants that tax break back when you sell the property. It is one of those “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help” kinds of things. And it gets even worse. Even if you have never taken the depreciation allowance tax benefit on your tax return, the IRS will make you pay back what you could have taken when you sell. That’s how naughty it is. In the words of Lord Bramwell “Like mothers, taxes are often misunderstood but seldom forgotten.”.
In comes the knight on shining horse – the 1031 exchange. When you complete a 1031 exchange you get to defer the tax on all gain and the dreaded “depreciation recapture”.
A 1031 exchange allows you to defer all capital gains tax and depreciation recapture when you sell and purchase investment property. The key to the 1031 is that you must use a 3rd-party qualified intermediary to manage the 1031 process. And they must be in place prior to the close of your sale—you cannot simply sell and reinvest. It is this intermediary who can guide you through the wilderness of IRS rules around tax deferral, so you don’t get burned by a helpful IRS.
Dave Foster was recently featured on The Note Closers Show with Scott Carson. Dave and Scott talked about the great benefits IRC Section 1031 has to offer. It allows investors to sell a property and reinvest proceeds in a new property while deferring capital gain taxes. They discussed some of the ways you can use this process to help you invest in real estate and notes, how it can be used even if you have owner financing and what kinds of investment properties qualify. Anyone can do a 1031 Exchange so long as the process and principles are followed.
They also talked about how to minimize the top five risks in note investing, return on investment vs. return on time, and the role of the borrower filing bankruptcy and how it creates an additional opportunity for a note investor, among other things.
Maximize your real estate investing with your own tax dollars using a 1031 exchange. With this process, you can defer capital gains tax on investment real estate when you reinvest in real estate. It lets you reposition, reallocate or increase your holdings using your own capital gains tax.
Originally, a 1031 exchange was designed to facilitate the movement of large tracts of agricultural land. Essential food growers who were land rich and cash poor benefited. The 1031 exchange allowed them to strategically reallocate their holdings to maximize yields.
Since then, the application of section 1031 was expanded to all real estate held for productive use. This includes real estate held for business, trade or investment purposes. This means it is now available to any such real estate investor wishing to defer paying tax on profits while continuing to invest.
A 1031, or like-kind exchange, gives you the freedom to reinvest all of your money – including your capital gains tax – for your own benefit. This is a powerful tool for any real estate investor looking to accelerate their portfolio growth.
Refinancing before and after a 1031 exchange are viewed differently by the IRS. Refinancing immediately before a 1031 starts is a good way to get heartburn from the IRS. The IRS has an extreme dislike for refinancing before an exchange. Refinancing after a 1031 is a different story. In a refi after a 1031 you are not accessing gain, you are borrowing against equity in a property you are holding for productive use. Which is the whole point of a 1031.
A short disclaimer though. If the IRS thought you were a bad actor and wanted to get at you anyway, could they challenge a refi done immediately after a 1031? Sure, but those instances are hard to prove and rare. Have your ducks and rationales in a row and wait until after the 1031 is complete. And always talk to your tax professional.
If you’re considering a 1031 exchange it’s important to know if your investment real estate is eligible.
A 1031 exchange gives investors a way to defer paying tax on gain from the sale of investment real estate. This means that primary residences do not qualify for a 1031 exchange. A 1031 exchange is solely for real estate held for productive use in business, trade or for investment.
House flipping is also off limits. Section 1031 states that a property “held primarily for resale” does not qualify. This excludes fix and flips.
The good news is that like-kind, as defined by the IRS statute, allows for any type of investment real estate to be exchanged for any other kind of investment real estate. This means that if you’re selling a rental condo and want to use the proceeds of that sale to purchase a retail building, you are free to do so.
The power of a 1031 to shape your real estate investment portfolio using your own tax dollars is limited only by your creativity and desired outcome.
If you’re willing to incur some tax, you may purchase less than your net sale under IRS Section 1031.
And, you may take cash out without jeopardizing the entirety of your 1031 exchange.
However, if you want to purchase less than what you sold or take some cash out, then the IRS will call that “booty” and tax it as profit. The IRS is willing to leave its tax in the game, but they are expecting you to leave your profit in the game as well. So, there’s no taking your “booty” and buying an island without paying at least some tax.
The IRS considers this taxable because their interpretation is that the first dollar you take out is going to be a dollar of profit.
The statutory order of a 1031 is this: a sale followed by a purchase of investment real estate. You can’t exchange into something you already own, and you can’t exchange into construction on real estate you already own without a different approach.
In a reverse exchange, the qualified intermediary forms a holding entity called the EAT (exchange accommodating title holder). This EAT takes title to the lot you want to build on. The property is under your control, but you’re not on the title yet. Then you construct the building on that property. Now you complete your sale if you haven’t already, and you “purchase” the lot and building owned by the EAT for exactly what was paid/spent on it. By doing this, you are able to maintain the integrity of your exchange and also purchase the exact right replacement property.
Timing, complexity, financing, and cost are all the issues you’ve got to wade through. But reverses can be a pretty powerful tool to get you right where you want to be. Nonetheless, it might be worth talking to your tax expert about structuring a more straightforward 1031 exchange.