Tag: 1031 exchanges

Real Estate FAQs from Last Month

Answers to real estate FAQs on 1031s and more

My team and I regularly receive questions on real estate-related topics. In this blog post, I answer some of those questions as they are important and others likely need the answers.

Realty Transfer Fee

Question: What is the realty transfer fee and who can expect to pay it?
Answers to this month's real estate FAQs
Answer:  The Realty Transfer Fee, also known as “RTF,” is a fee imposed by the State of New Jersey to offset the costs of tracking real estate transactions. Upon the transfer of the deed to the buyer, the seller pays the RTF, which is based upon the property sales price.

The RTF rate is a graduated rate and there are two different structures, depending on whether the total consideration is over or under $350,000.

It is important to note that a 1% fee must be paid by the buyer on all real estate transactions over $1 million in all commercial and residential property classes. This is also known as the “Mansion Tax.”

1031 Exchange Identification Rule

Question: What happens if you list three properties as replacement properties for your 1031 exchange, but all properties are no longer available?

Answer: One of the requirements of a 1031 exchange is taxpayers must identify a list of properties for potential purchase within 45 calendar days. Whichever property is ultimately purchased must be on this list. The rule allows taxpayers to identify three properties without limitation. Those listed are property that may be purchased, however not all are required to be purchased. If more than three properties are identified, the IRS rules become narrower and stringent.

The list can be changed an infinite amount of times until midnight of the 45th day. If the taxpayer is beyond the 45th day, the list is unchangeable and only properties listed can be chosen to complete the exchange. If the properties are not available after the 45th day, a 1031 exchange cannot be completed and the transaction is not eligible for deferral under Code Section 1031.

Section 179 Expensing

Question: Did the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) change 179 expensing for rental property owners?

Answer: A provision of the tax code, commonly known as Section 179 deduction, allows taxpayers to deduct the entire cost of eligible property in the first year it is placed in service. For rental real estate owners, eligible property includes the majority of improvements to the interior portion of a nonresidential building, provided the improvement is put to use after the date the building was placed in service

The TCJA expanded the definition of eligible property to include expenditures for nonresidential roofs, HVAC equipment, fire protection and alarm systems, and security systems.

We’ve got your back

Have a burning real estate question? Email me and I’ll answer it in an upcoming post.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and Code Section 1031

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and Code Section 1031The Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) was signed into law on December 22, 2017, and took effect on January 1, 2018. Included in the political promise of tax simplicity and historically large tax cuts to middle-income households were amendments to existing tax code, including Code Section 1031. Investment property owners will continue to be able to defer capital gains taxes using 1031 tax-deferred exchanges, which have been in the tax code since 1921.

What changes under the new tax law?

The tax law repealed 1031 exchanges for all other types of property that are not real property. This means 1031 exchanges of personal property, assets that can no longer be exchanged including collectibles, franchise licenses, and patents, aircraft, machinery, boats, livestock, and artwork.

What didn’t change for 1031 exchanges?

Real estate exchanges are subject to the same rules and requirements as prior law. Taxpayers must still identify their replacement within 45 days and exchange within 180 days. All real estate in the United States, improved and unimproved, also remains like-kind to all other domestic real estate.  Foreign real estate continues to be treated as not like-kind to real estate.

Are there timing considerations?

Pursuant to the transition rules, a personal property exchange to be completed in 2018 would be afforded tax deferral under the prior law if the relinquished property was sold or the replacement property was acquired by the taxpayer prior to December 31, 2017.

What about cost segregation?

A cost segregation study identifies and reclassifies personal property assets to shorten the depreciation time for taxation purposes, which reduces current income taxes. Taxpayers entering into a 1031 exchange who are contemplating a cost segregation study, need to consider the disallowance of personal property as like-kind to real property. Reclassifying asses to shorter recovery periods will increase annual depreciation deductions, but can potentially cause gain recognition from the exchange.

We’ve got your back

The new tax code is complex and every taxpayer’s situation is different, especially when real estate is involved – so don’t go it alone! Check out the New Tax Law Explained! for Individuals and then contact me at [email protected] or 201.655.7411 to discuss tax planning and your real estate investments under the TCJA.

 

Investing in Foreign Real Estate? Here’s What You Need to Know

Investing in Foreign Real Estate? Here’s What You Need to Know

Much is written about tax compliance and withholding imposed upon a foreign entity or person owning real estate in the United States. The fact that many U.S. taxpayers own real estate outside of the country is often disregarded.

The intent of this post is to touch upon some of the differences of which an investor or potential investor in foreign real estate should be aware.

Depreciation and foreign property holdings

One of the main differences in holding a U.S. rental property compared to a foreign rental property is depreciation. The Internal Revenue Code requires any tangible property used predominantly outside the U.S. during the year to use the Alternative Depreciation System (“ADS”). Residential rental property located in a foreign country must use ADS, resulting in depreciation over a 40 year recovery period compared to the 27.5 year recovery of U.S. residential property.

1031 exchanges aren’t allowed

I have discussed the tax deferral afforded by entering into a 1031 like-kind exchange in previous posts. However, the Internal Revenue Code does not allow taxpayers to exchange U.S. investment property for foreign investment property.  U.S. property is limited to the 50 states and the District of Columbia only. Property located in U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, is not like-kind to property located within the United States. There are limited exceptions, under certain circumstances for property located within the U.S Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Taxpayers can obtain deferral afforded by a 1031 exchange when trading U.S. property for U.S. property, but not U.S. property for foreign property. However, foreign property is deemed liked-kind when exchanged for other foreign property, thus qualifying for 1031 exchange treatment.

Preventing double taxation

If a taxpayer operates a property abroad as a rental property, taxes will be owed in the country where the property is located. To prevent double taxation, a U.S. taxpayer can claim a credit on the U.S. tax return for taxes paid to the foreign country relating to the net rental income. It is important to note that a taxpayer cannot claim a credit for more than the amount of U.S. tax on the rental income.

The foreign tax credit is also available if the property is sold and there is any capital gains tax in the foreign county.

Additional reporting obligations

A U.S. taxpayer may have additional filing obligations with their tax return as a result of the foreign rental activity.

For example, if a U.S. taxpayer establishes a foreign bank account to collect rent and the aggregate value of the account is $10,000 or more on any given day, an FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) is required to be filed.

If the property is held in a foreign corporation, Form 5471 (Information Return of U.S. Persons with Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations) is required to be filed. If the property is held in a Foreign LLC, then Form 8858 (Information Return of U.S Persons with Respect to Foreign Disregarded Entities) may be required.

We’ve got your back

Don’t go it alone if you’re an investor in foreign real estate. Contact me at [email protected] or 201.655.7411 for assistance with tax planning for your international holdings.

How Your 1031 Exchange Can Benefit from a “Zero” Deal

In previous blog posts I’ve discussed benefits of entering into a 1031 exchange. Also known as a like-kind or tax deferred exchange, a 1031 exchange affords significant tax benefits to property owners.

How 1031 exchanges benefit from zero cash flow dealsSpecifically, a 1031 exchange allows a taxpayer to sell an investment property and reinvest in replacement property(ies) while deferring ordinary income, depreciation recapture and/or capital gains taxes. By deferring tax on the transaction, taxpayers will have more cash available for reinvestment.

What is a zero cash flow purchase?

In a zero cash flow or “zero” deal, the net operating income on a net-leased property matches the debt service, and the loan amortization matches the term of the lease. If the property is retained for the full term of the lease, there is no debt at the end of the term.

Many real estate investors purchase zeros to offset taxable income from other investments through losses associated with depreciation deductions and interest expenses. These transactions are not without drawbacks, as taxable income will occur when the annual loan amortization exceeds the annual depreciation.

Benefits of a zero in a like kind exchange

One of the largest benefits of a zero in a like kind exchange is the pay-down or re-advance feature, whereby the buyer can access cash from the exchange without triggering gain recognition. Once the property is acquired and the exchange is completed, the loan provides the owner an option to refinance a portion of the equity. The options are exercised within the existing loan documents, and there is no renegotiation of terms with the lender. The proceeds can then be deployed to cash-flowing assets.

For example, a taxpayer has a property worth $10 million, comprised of $4 million in equity and $6 million in debt. She found a zero property that can be purchased for $10 million, putting down $1 million as equity and assuming $9 million of debt. The buyer applies $4 million in cash to purchase the replacement, covering the equity requirement of the 1031 exchange. Of that, $3 million (excess of the $4 million of equity from the down-leg over $1 million of equity required for purchase of the property) is used to pay down the debt balance. The interim debt balance is $6 million, fulfilling the debt requirement of the buyer’s 1031 exchange. After closing, the debt is re-advanced from $6 million to the original $9 million, with loan proceeds of $3 million going to the buyer. The exchange has been completed, income deferred and the taxpayer has extracted $3 million in non-taxable proceeds.

We’ve got your back

If you’re interested in structuring a 1031 exchange as a zero cash flow purchase, be sure to consult a real estate broker who specializes in these investments. You’ll also want to coordinate the deal with your tax advisor so that you’re following all the 1031 exchange rules. That’s where the tax experts here at KRS can help and ensure that you receive the maximum tax benefits. For more information, contact me at 201.655.7411 or [email protected]

How to Ruin a Like-Kind Exchange

How to ruin a 1031 exchangeRecently, I had a taxpayer call me regarding the sale of a rental property. The taxpayer sold the property for approximately $500,000 and there was approximately $100,000 of tax basis remaining after depreciation. The combined federal and state tax exposure was almost $100,000.

The taxpayer indicated he wanted to structure the sale as a like-kind (IRC 1031) exchange as he had already found a replacement property and wanted to defer the income taxes. My first question was, “Did you already close on the sale?” The taxpayer’s response was, “Yes, I received the funds, and deposited the check directly into my bank account.”

It was not fun for me to relay this to the taxpayer, but I had to let him know his receipt of the funds caused a taxable event. I further explained that to structure a 1031 exchange properly, an intermediary was needed to handle the sale and related purchase of the replacement property. Once the taxpayer received the funds, it became a taxable event.

Getting a Like-Kind Exchange Right

To avoid the same error, taxpayers should contact their advisors before completing the sale transaction. I have worked with taxpayers who did not realize a like-kind exchange was available to them, and was able to properly structure the transaction in mere days before the closing of their property.

Following the specified guidelines to completely defer the tax in a like-kind exchange are critical. If you anticipate a sale of real estate and want to defer gain recognition, consult with your tax advisor before closing the sale.

We’ve Got Your Back

Check out my previous blog, Understanding IRC Code Section 1031 and Why You Should Care for more details on properly deferring tax in a like-kind exchange transaction. If you have questions about this type of transaction, give me a call at 201.655.7411 before you close on the sale.

How to Defer Taxes on Capital Gains

Here’s how receiving installment payments can help you defer taxes on capital gains.

What Is an Installment Sale?

An installment sale is an agreement under which at least one payment is received after the end of the tax year in which the sale occurs. When a real estate investor sells a property on the installment basis, a down payment is usually received at closing with the balance of the purchase price paid in installments in subsequent years. As the seller, you are not required to report an installment sale using this method. However, installment sale reporting allows you to spread the tax liability over all the years in which the buyer makes installment payments.

installment sales tax benefits in real estateUnder the installment method, each year the portion of the gain received via installment payments is included in the seller’s income. Fundamentally, interest should be charged on an installment sale. If the interest charged is less than the applicable federal rate (“AFR”) or no interest is charged, the seller is considered to have received “imputed” taxable interest equal to the AFR.

Each payment received in an installment sale consists of three components:

  1. Interest income
  2. Return of basis
  3. Gain on the sale

Not All Sales Qualify as Installment Sales

Certain sales do not qualify as installment sales, including:

  • Sale of inventory items
  • Sales made by dealers in the type of property being sold (see my blog, Investor vs. Dealer)
  • Sale of stocks or other investment securities
  • Sales that result in a loss

Combining Installment Sales with Like Kind Exchanges

Like Kind Exchanges (§1031 exchanges) are often combined with seller financing of the relinquished (sold) property. This creates an opportunity for an installment sale transaction in which a promissory note, issued by the buyer for the benefit of the seller, represents a portion of the purchase price.

For example, if the relinquished property value is $1 million, the taxpayer (via a qualified intermediary) might receive $500,000 in cash and a $500,000 promissory note from the seller. The taxpayer/seller would ideally use the $500,000 proceeds in a tax-deferred exchange, while also benefiting from installment sale reporting on the remaining $500,000 note.

An installment sale is an option for taxpayers to spread a tax liability over time and collect interest income. However, it can carry risk for the seller. If the buyer is unable to make timely payments, the seller would be responsible for the costs of foreclosure and repossession.

Your tax professional can help you determine the tax effects of any installment sales arrangements you may have. As always contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions.

Beware of Phantom Income

Real Expenses vs. Phantom Expenses

As a real estate investor, it is essential to know the difference between a real expense and a phantom expense. An investor might think a $1,000 roof repair is a good thing since he or she can deduct it as an expense. What if you never had to make that repair in the first place? You would have $1,000 of taxable income in your pocket. Being taxed isn’t automatically a bad thing, since that means you are making money on the property.

real estate and phantom incomeWhat is a Phantom Expense?

Depreciation is the perfect example of a phantom expense since it allows an owner of real estate to recover the value of the building against rental income. The IRS allows a deduction for the decrease in value of your property over time, irrespective of the fact that most properties never really wear out. Simply put, depreciation allows you to write off the buildings and improvements over a prescribed period of time, providing a “phantom expense” that is used to offset rental income.

Residential real estate and improvements are depreciated over a 27.5 year period. Commercial real estate and improvements are depreciated over 39 years.

Debt Amortization

In addition to a depreciation deduction, the Internal Revenue Code allows for the interest portion of a mortgage payment to be deducted for income tax purposes. The principal portion of a mortgage payment is treated as taxable income or “phantom income“.

During the initial years of a typical mortgage loan, the principal reduction (debt amortization) is normally offset by depreciation deductions and interest expense, decreasing taxable income. In the later years of a typical loan amortization, principal reduction will exceed interest expense and depreciation, thereby increasing taxable income and generating a seemingly disproportionate tax liability (the dreaded phantom income).

Disposition of a Property

A taxpayer may incur phantom income upon disposition of a property. Phantom income is triggered when taxable income exceeds sales proceeds upon the disposition of real estate. Usually, this results from prior deductions based on indebtedness. You may have deducted losses and/or received cash distributions in prior years that were greater than your actual investment made in the property. If you are planning to dispose of a property and believe you are in this situation, there are strategies to minimize the tax impact including IRC 1031 exchanges, which are discussed in my blog Understanding IRC Code Section 1031 and why you should care.

Real estate investors who want to maximize their after tax cash flow need to be cognizant of phantom income and compare their cash flow to taxable income. This analysis should be undertaken regularly as it may impact their investment returns. If you have questions about phantom income and your real estate, contact me at [email protected] or 201.655.7411.

Advantages of the Tenant in Common Arrangement

Tenant-in-common ownership, sometimes called tenancy-in-common, is a method of holding title to property involving multiple owners. When a tenancy-in-common arrangement is created, each individual owner, called a “co-tenant” or “co-owner,” owns an undivided interest in the property.

Typical Tenant-in-Common Interest

tenant in common investment
Typical tenant-in-common agreements involve many individuals who each own a fractional interest in a property.

A typical tenant-in-common (“TIC”) interest involves a number of parties, generally unknown to each other, who each own an undivided tenancy-in-common interest in real property.

There can be any number of co-owners. Ownership of a TIC allows the investor to own a fractional interest in a property that is typically investment-grade and professionally managed.

Why Tenant-in-Common?

One advantage of TIC investment is the potential for tax-free exchange treatment. In 2002, the IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2002-22, which states that a taxpayer can use a TIC investment, if properly structured, as either relinquished property or replacement property in a qualifying like-kind exchange.
(I covered like-kind exchanges in my previous post, “Understanding IRC Code Section 1031 and Why You Should Care.”)

The relationship among TIC owners is generally controlled by a tenancy-in-common agreement (“TIC Agreement”). Decisions to sell, borrow, or lease a property, or hire property management, are typically controlled by the TIC Agreement.

Additional Advantages

There are other benefits to TIC ownership, including professional property management, diversification, appreciation, and predictable cash flow.  Investors may counter that they can receive these benefits in a partnership structure; however, a partnership interest is considered personal property and cannot be exchanged. (The Internal Revenue Code specifically prohibits the exchange of partnership interests.) However, an LLC or partnership can do a 1031 exchange on the entity level.  This means the partnership relinquishes the property and the partnership purchases a replacement property.

If you are buying a property with another person or persons, KRS CPAs can help you set up a tenancy in common. Give us a call at 201-655-7411 or email [email protected].

Understanding IRC Code Section 1031 and Why You Should Care

Hint: it’s about deferring capital gain taxes

1031 exchange
1031 exchanges,also called like-kind exchanges, offer tax benefits when structured properly.

If you think this is one of those dry topics about taxes, think again. It’s important information for anyone selling a commercial real estate property who cares about being protected from capital gains taxes and growing their portfolio.

Continue reading “Understanding IRC Code Section 1031 and Why You Should Care”