Why Would You Do A 1031 Tax-Deferred Exchange When You’ve Realized No Gain?


A few years ago, many people were seeing their real estate investments appreciate at incredible rates, and in turn, were doing 1031 tax-deferred exchanges to defer their capital gains liabilities into new investment properties. But in today’s market, many investors see limited or no appreciation in their investment property. In times like this, does it make sense for an investor to sell their property and do a 1031 exchange?

In many cases, the answer is “yes.”

With almost all real estate sales involving improved property, there is the recapture of depreciation to consider. Section 1250 of the Internal Revenue Code requires that depreciation be recaptured at the current rate of 25%, which is higher than the current long-term capital gains rate. For this reason, the ability to defer the recapture of depreciation may make a 1031 exchange very attractive.

There are even more reasons to consider doing a 1031 tax-deferred exchange in a down market:

  • Portfolio diversification (i.e., selling one larger property to acquire numerous smaller properties at today’s prices) or relocating investment properties to another area of the country with faster appreciation,
  • Exchange raw land which produces no income for an improved property which can be rented to create positive cash flow,
  • Exchange into a property that can be used professionally. For example, selling a single-family rental property and purchasing a new property that can accommodate your business, or
  • Exchange from fully depreciated property into to a higher valued property that can be depreciated further.

The value of a 1031 Exchange is considerable, even in today’s market. Leveraging the cash that would otherwise be forfeited in capital gains taxes and/or depreciation recapture makes sense in any market and a 1031 Exchange is the vehicle to get it done.

For specific information about the tax ramifications of a 1031 Exchange, please contact your tax professional. For more information about how a 1031 Exchange can benefit you in various ways contact the author of this article, Carmine DiFulvio, of First American Exchange Company at 800-337-1031.

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