Blog #1031 exchange


With the possible passage of Proposition 15, would a Sale-Leaseback be good way to avoid paying a large property tax increase? With 1031 exchanges also possibly going away are Opportunity Zones the answer?

A new survey released points potential trouble for Proposition 15.  An opinion survey by Probolosky Research shows 48.8% plan to vote against it, 41% for it and 10.3% are undecided.

Although this is goods news, there is still a lot of time between now and election day and a lot can change.  Couple with that, Biden’s overtures that he might eliminate the tax deferred 1031 exchange, Commercial Real Estate Property owners still have a lot at stake this election.

One option to Commercial Property, Industrial and Warehouse owners who occupy their building is a sale-leaseback.  A sale-leaseback not only allows the owner to enjoy an infusion of cash, but rental payments under the lease are usually fully tax deductible.

Aside from a 1031 exchange, another option to Commercial and Industrial Real Estate owners is deferring a capital gain to an opportunity zone fund.  To learn more, see this post: Opportunity Zones: A Commercial Real Estate Capital Gains Tax Savings Instrument

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It appears that any affected taxpayer now has until July 15, 2020 with 1031 exchanges.

Notice 2020-23 now provides some relief to taxpayers who are currently engaged in a 1031 exchange from the 45-day Identification and 180-day exchange period deadlines.  For example:

  • If your identification period falls between 4/1/2020 and 7/15/2020 you have until 7/15/2020 to identify your prospective replacement properties
  • If your 180-day deadline falls between 4/1/2020 and 7/15/2020 you have until 7/15/2020 to complete your exchange transaction.

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One way to avoid a large tax bill on the sale of property with a large capital gain is to utilize a 1031 exchange.

If you have owned your Southern California commercial property for a while, you’re likely to have a capital gain.  One of the popular ways to defer having to pay taxes on this gain is utilizing a 1031 exchange.  A 1031 exchange requires that you buy a “like-kind” replacement property of equal or greater value.  There is some confusion surrounding what “like kind” means, but it generally it means you can trade commercial property for residential or vice versa. One of the popular trades many investors are weighing regionally is trading out of multifamily and into industrial due to concerns over rent control and other potential changes. 

Using a delayed exchange (most popular) after close of escrow the seller has up to 45 days to identify three potential replacement properties and 180 days to complete the purchase of a replacement property.  To facilitate this process, you need to utilize the services of a Qualified Intermediary, that we call sometimes an Accommodator.  A good broker can refer an accommodator and can help with finding and purchasing the property to trade into.

You will also want to investigate what types of properties to trade into. A Net Leased Investment like a Starbucks or McDonalds can offer passive returns with little or no work on your end.  Or if you are willing to do more work, you could choose to invest in a Value-Added Investment where you see upside potential.  A good broker can help you with finding these investments and planning for what fits you best.

In review one way to avoid a large tax bill on the sale of property with a large capital gain is to utilize a 1031 exchange.  This allows you to by defer your capital gain by trading into a “like-kind” property.  The types of property to trade into should also be given some thought as well depending on how actively you want to manage/be involved with the new property.

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