Savvy investors can build wealth by deferring capital gains taxes via a 1031 exchange. Learn how it works and how it can help you as a real estate investor. For the in-depth information required to execute a 1031 exchange, a qualified intermediary is necessary.
A 1031 exchange allows real estate investors to avoid paying capital gains taxes when selling an investment property and reinvesting in a replacement property. The name 1031 exchange comes from Section 1031 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.
A 1031 is also called a like-kind exchange. It is essentially a swap of one investment property for another. The “like-kind” refers to the fact that the properties in the exchange must be similar (i.e., of like kind) and the exchange property must be of equal or greater value as the property sold.
Under IRS code section 1031, which applies to real estate, investors can reinvest proceeds from the sale of one property into another property within a specified time frame to avoid paying capital gains taxes (the taxes on the growth of an investment when it is sold). Because it is rare for an even property swap to occur between parties, the most common type of exchange is the delayed “forward” exchange. In this case, the sold property funds are sent to a qualified intermediary and later used to acquire a replacement property from a seller.
A qualified intermediary facilitates a 1031 exchange. They hold the transaction funds from the sale of the first property until those funds are transferred to the seller of a replacement property. The qualified intermediary also prepares the legal documents required for the exchange. The qualified intermediary can have no formal relationship with the exchange parties outside of the exchange.
1031 exchange transactions should be handled by a professional qualified intermediary that is a third party (i.e., not a family member, friend, acquaintance, or business associate of either party involved in the exchange).
The IRS does not allow capital gains tax avoidance if the exchange:
A 1031 exchange is a tool that savvy real estate investors use to build wealth over time. To further understand how a 1031 exchange can benefit you, ask your CPA or accountant to help put you in touch with a qualified intermediary. Their guidance is critical in executing a 1031 whether you’re swapping two properties or working with a full portfolio of investment real estate properties.