“Can I exchange into a property and use it for personal use?” We frequently field this question from investment property owners, especially those who have owned investment real estate for years and are exploring ways to reap the benefits of their hard work.
Fortunately, the IRS provides guidance that specifically addresses the question of tax-deferred 1031 Exchanges into personal use property. Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code states “No gain or loss shall be recognized on the exchange of real property held for productive use in a trade or business or for investment if such real property is exchanged solely for real property of like kind which is to be held either for productive use in a trade or business or for investment.”¹
“Like kind” refers to any type of real property such as residential rental property, commercial office, agricultural, etc. as long as it is used for business or held for investment purposes. The definition is the crux of the issue – is it possible to perform an exchange from a property held for business or investment purposes into a property that is, at least in part, used for personal purposes, without breaching the like-kind requirement? For example, would it be possible to sell an apartment building and exchange into a vacation condo in Hawaii that is both rented and used personally?
The answer is YES, this is in fact possible, however the rules outlined in Revenue Procedure 2008-16 must be followed in order to qualify.
If the rules below are adhered to, IRS Revenue Procedure 2008-16 explicitly provides a safe harbor and the IRS will not challenge whether the property qualifies as being held for productive use.
In layman’s terms, this boils down to three key points:
Example 1: If a beachfront property in Hawaii is rented out for 30 days of the year following its acquisition via a 1031 exchange, the owner may use the property for personal purposes a maximum of 14 days that year.
Example 2: If the same beachfront property is rented out for 250 days, the owner may then use the property for a maximum of 25 days, which is 10% of the total days rented out.
After 24 months, can the owner decide that they would like to exclusively use a replacement property for personal use? The IRS does not speak directly to this question however, because the safe harbor includes a defined period of time in which the replacement property must have rental income, it is safe to assume that any use of the property following the 24 month period is permissible. While the intent of an exchange is to hold property for business use or as an investment, an owner’s situation does change over time. The IRS understands this and does allow for reclassification of properties from investment property to personal use, and vice-versa, provided sufficient hold-periods are adhered to. It is commonly recommended that owners report rental income on at least two tax returns before converting a property to solely personal use. Additionally, documenting the property was rented at market rates is a best practice, especially if the property is to be rented to friends or family.
Lastly, should a replacement property be converted to not only personal use but also a primary residence, it pays to take note of the Internal Revenue Code section 121 exclusion, which allows taxpayers to exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 if married) of gains on the sale of a property used as a primary residence for two of the five years leading up to the sale. For more information on 1031 Exchanges and primary residence real estate, see our article entitled “Tax Strategy for your Highly Appreciated Primary Residence.”
As every investor situation is unique, one should always consult with their tax preparer to ensure compliance with all rules and regulations.
If you are considering selling your investment property and would like to find out if a tax-deferred 1031 Exchange is right for you, we invite you to take advantage of our Complimentary 1031 Consultation to discuss your investment property, objectives, potential tax liability, and tax-deferral options.
Our free consultations can be done over the phone, via web meeting, or in person at our office in Seattle, Washington, or in Portland, Oregon. To schedule your free consultation, call 206-686-2211, or click on the “Schedule FREE Consultation” button below.
The information herein has been prepared for educational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to purchase or sell securitized real estate investments. Such offers are only made through the sponsors Private Placement Memorandum (PPM) which is solely available to accredited investors and accredited entities. DST 1031 properties are only available to accredited investors (generally described as having a net worth of over $1 million dollars exclusive of primary residence) and accredited entities only. If you are unsure if you are an accredited investor and/or an accredited entity please verify with your CPA and Attorney. There are risks associated with investing in real estate and Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) properties including, but not limited to, loss of entire investment principal, declining market values, tenant vacancies and illiquidity. Potential cash flows/returns/appreciation are not guaranteed and could be lower than anticipated. Diversification does not guarantee profits or guarantee protection against losses. Because investors situations and objectives vary this information is not intended to indicate suitability for any particular investor. This material is not to be interpreted as tax or legal advice. Please speak with your own tax and legal advisors for advice/guidance regarding your particular situation. Securities offered through Aurora Securities, Inc. (ASI), Member: FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Secure Asset Management, LLC (SAM), a Registered Investment Advisor. ASI and SAM are affiliated companies. Real Estate Transition Solutions (RETS) is independent of ASI and SAM.