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Sales, Trades, Exchanges

Question: I've heard that I can sell my rental property and use the proceeds to purchase rental property of equal or greater value and the transaction is viewed just like an exchange in that the tax is deferred until the new property is sold. Is this true?


Yes. What you've heard about is a transaction commonly known as a like-kind exchange. A like-kind exchange, when properly executed, can postpone the recognition of gain (and resulting current tax) essentially by shifting the basis of property sold to like-kind replacement property. You do this by acquiring a like-kind property, which may be of lesser or greater value.

The basis of the property that you acquire in a like-kind exchange is generally the same as the basis of the property that you transferred. However, if you transfer money or other property (not like-kind) in addition to like-kind property, your basis in the property acquired is the basis of the property given up, increased by the amount of money or other property transferred.  

To successfully defer gain in a like-kind exchange, you must comply with certain requirements under section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code and the regulations thereunder. For example, when you sell your rental property, you can't take actual or constructive receipt of the sale proceeds. You can avoid actual or constructive receipt of the proceeds if you comply with one of the safe harbors, such as using a qualified intermediary or a qualified trust to hold and use the sale proceeds to acquire the replacement property, as set forth in the Income Tax Regulations or certain other publications of the Internal Revenue Service.

Additional Information:

Category: Sale or Trade of Business, Depreciation, Rentals
Subcategory: Sales, Trades, Exchanges

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The OMB number for this study is 1545-1432.
If you have any comments regarding this study, please write to:
IRS, Tax Products Coordinating Committee
1111 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20224