Thursday, April 30, 2009

1031 Thy Name is Diversity

By Winston Orzechowski

It is common to think of a 1031 transaction as one involving land for land or buildings for buildings. However, this is a tragic oversimplification.1031 transactions deal with “like-kind” property and in most people’s minds “like-kind” means both pieces of property are alike, such as trading land for land. But do not follow this train of thought when dealing with real estate; in the eyes of the IRS “like-kind” refers to all “qualified real estate”, opening the doors to a wide array of transactions.

For example:

In one case a person wished to exchange18 oil wells valued at 1.375 million for an apartment or office building. If they were to simply sell the oil wells and buy their building of choice, they would face a substantial capital gains tax; however, through the use of a 1031 they are now making this exchange tax free. That is because oil wells are considered qualified real estate and are eligible for a 1031 involving all other qualified real estate. Other qualified real estate types include: Coal mines, mineral rights, timber, and vineyards.

This all means that investors have an immense selection of properties to both acquire and exchange using a 1031.

Note: The example above pertains to real estate. A 1031 can also be used for property other than real estate such as medical equipment or airplanes, in which case the property would have to be alike i.e.: airplanes for airplanes, medical equipment for medical equipment.

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