IRS Clamps Down on Commingled Accounts in 1031 Exchanges

The IRS has just released proposed regulations dealing with the treatment of interest earned by Qualified Intermediaries while they hold a client's 1031 exchange proceeds. The goal of these regulations appear to be designed to curtail the practice of holding exchange proceeds in commingled accounts.

In a 1031 exchange, you can't touch the money from the sale of your Old Property, and you are required to use a Qualified Intermediary to hold your money until you purchase your New Property. There are two ways intermediaries can hold your exchange proceeds: they can pool all of their clients' money into a single account (called a commingled account); or they can put each client's money in a separate account.


Where's Your Commingled Exchange Account Invested?

Interest rates on separate exchange accounts are currently in the toilet. So it’s not surprising that taxpayers who are doing 1031 exchanges are intrigued with Qualified Intermediaries that offer a high rate of interest on their exchange accounts. But how are they earning those rates? If you use them to do your exchange, what will they be investing your money in? Will you even know where your money is?

Most intermediaries commingle their client’s money. By commingle, I mean the pooling of all the clients’ exchange funds into one account. The benefit of pooled accounts is that the intermediary is investing a larger amount of money, and is therefore able to obtain a greater return. Just look in the business section of your Sunday paper: you’ll notice the difference in interest rates on $1,000 invested in a money market account versus $1 million invested in a CD.

...A 1031 exchange is a relatively short-term event, but losing your money could be forever...


The Reverse Exchange -- A Useful Tool

In a market this hot, if you want to do a 1031 exchange you have quite a dilemma. You would like to exchange your highly appreciated Old Property, but finding replacement property in time is difficult. In a straight 1031 exchange, you have 45 days from the date of sale to identify potential replacement property and 180 days to close the purchase. There are no extensions to these time frames! Property not identified or purchased in time will toast your exchange, and you'll pay tax on the sale of your Old Property.

We're currently in a market where inventory is in short supply, and if you don't act fast, properties are gone. If you're hesitant to sell your Old Property first for fear of not being able to find the perfect New Property in time, consider doing a "Reverse Exchange."


What's the future of 1031 exchanges?

There is still talk coming out of Washington, DC, concerning tax reform of some type that might yet happen during the two and a half years Obama has left in his term. Certainly the landscape has changed now that the Republicans control both the House and the Senate, and yet the talk continues. It seems unlikely at this point that Congress and the White House would ever agree on any type of individual tax reform; however there seems to be some middle ground for reforms involving entities (corporations, partnerships, trusts, etc.).


Everything's Relative ...except in 1031 exchanges

One of the trickiest rules to figure when structuring a 1031 exchange is the rule involving exchanges between related parties. Can you defer capital gain taxes with an exchange if you sell a property you own to a relative? What if you sell your property to a third party but buy your replacement property from a relative? What if you and a relative wish to swap properties? The answer to all these questions is .....sometimes. The reason for that cop-out answer is because the IRS is a little unclear about when it will and will not allow a related party exchange.

So, what is a related party? In IRS terms, a related party includes certain blood relatives (like siblings and children), spouses, and business entities you may own, like corporations or partnerships.


Donna Fries Interview with Gary Gorman

Introduction: Gary Gorman and Donna Fries on the Real Estate 101 Radio Show. - New things that have happened in the 1031 industry. - Some new tax laws: Big court case. - The new 1031 book: Exchanging Up!, available on - The 1031 Experts is built on referrals.

New law changes in 2004. - The change in §121 and how it affects §1031. - How to take gain tax-free. - The effect: the change in the holding period to get that gain. - If you sell an investment property and buy a property that becomes your home. - Is this strictly if it's a 1031 exchange going into the property? - Does this only affect people who are rolling into their home from some other investment property? - The good part: this clears up a former controversy and makes it crystal clear.


Using 1031 Exchanges to Shift Gains Between Tax Years

As we start to wind down towards the end of the year, now is a good time to point out that 1031 exchanges are a great vehicle to use in shifting gain between two tax years. For example, if Fred and Sue sell their purple duplex on December 1, 2008, their 45-day identification deadline for their exchange is January 14, 2009. Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code requires that they send a list of potential acquisition properties to their intermediary no later than, in this example, this date. Failure to do so will terminate their exchange, causing the gain from the sale of their purple duplex to be taxable.


SOLD! Tax Strategies for Selling Vacation Property

Due to economic factors or life changes, investors who have held vacation rental property for many years can face significant tax liabilities when they sell it. Federal long term capital gain tax rates can be anywhere from 15 to 20%. The unearned income tax rate is 3.8%, and a depreciation recapture at 25% could be incurred. Additionally, state tax rates will also apply. Adding it all up, a potential tax liability upwards of around 39% can come as a rude surprise for most investors. 

So what other options do investors have to limit or defer their tax liability? One option is to convert the use of the property into your primary residence. Another is to do a 1031 Exchange.


Mark Tait and Carl Stauffer Interview with Gary Gorman

Intro, with Gary Gorman; 1031 exchange - Do you really know what it is?

Is 1031 a "theory" or a "gimmick"?; "Old and new" vs. "relinquished and replacement"; Gary's background; A standard 1031 - Fred and Sue; How long does it have to be an investment property?; For investment use only; Avoiding or deferring tax?; How does a primary residence become investment property?; §1031 vs. §121? The $250,000 exclusion; Selling the rental condo, then buying the second home.

What about 2nd homes?; Proving investment intent; Documentation: write a letter to your CPA and attorney; Treating it like an investment; Seller/buyer can't touch the money; The in dependant third party: the QI (Qualified Intermediary); Why you want CPAs, tax or accounting professionals to do this; How 1031 benefits the Small Investor vs. the Millionaire.


What You Need to Know to Teach a One Hour 1031 Exchange Class

The 1031 Exchange area is so broad that you could spend days teaching the details of the topic. Most of you, however, want to simply introduce the topic to your students, and you should be able to do that adequately in about an hour. This article gives you an outline and the basic concepts that will let you do just that.