How is Boot Taxed in a 1031 Exchange? | Tax Implications

how is boot taxed in a 1031 exchange

Did you know getting cash boot in a 1031 exchange can lead to an immediate tax on capital gains? For example, if you sell a property for $450,000 but invest only $400,000, you’d pay taxes on the leftover $50,000. This highlights the importance of knowing the role of “boot” in these exchanges.

The term “boot” means any part of a deal in real estate that doesn’t fit the tax-free swap rules of a 1031 exchange. Boot can be cash you get, a drop in mortgage (debt reduction), or costs outside the swap. Getting things like stocks, bonds, or even a vehicle can also count as boot.

Even though boot doesn’t stop a 1031 exchange from working, you must plan carefully. If not managed right, boot becomes part of your taxable income. This means it gets taxed by both the federal government and possibly at the state level. For a high-earning investor, $50,000 in cash boot could mean a tax bill of $18,500.

Understanding how boot is taxed in a 1031 exchange is crucial. It shows why you need smart financial planning. Knowing about boot tax helps investors make better property deals and keep their tax bills lower while following IRS rules.

Understanding Boot in a 1031 Exchange

In a 1031 exchange, it’s important to grasp the concept of boot tax in a 1031 exchange. Boot is the part of the deal that’s taxable as it’s not reinvested in a new property. Mainly, there are two types: cash boot and mortgage boot.

Cash boot happens if you get more cash than you put into the next property. For instance, selling a property for $450,000 but only investing $400,000 in another means you have a $50,000 cash boot. This $50,000 becomes taxable. For those in the 37% tax bracket, this means a tax of $18,500 on the cash boot.

Mortgage boot appears when the mortgage on your new property is less than your old one’s. Say, the old mortgage was $200,000 and the new one is $100,000. That’s a 50% mortgage boot. A drop in debt like this is taxable in like-kind exchanges.

Adding non-similar items like stocks or personal property to the deal adds to the boot tax. These don’t qualify for 1031 exchange tax benefits, increasing your tax.

Also, using exchange money for costs not allowed, like legal fees or property taxes, can lead to unwanted boot. It’s crucial to reinvest all proceeds accurately to avoid these issues.

For investors, DST (Delaware Statutory Trust) investments can be a good way to reuse proceeds. Delaware Statutory Trusts usually ask for an investment between $25,000 and $100,000. Websites like 1031 Crowdfunding provide various DST options to help manage boot tax impacts.

Knowing all about what is boot in real estate helps investors smoothly go through their 1031 exchanges. This knowledge leads to a more tax-efficient investment.

How Boot is Created in a 1031 Exchange

It’s crucial for investors to understand how boot in a 1031 exchange works. This knowledge helps them use tax-deferred benefits fully. Boot might appear by choice or by mistake. It often comes from not putting all cash from a sale into a new property. For example, selling a property for $500,000 and buying another for $425,000 leaves $75,000. This $75,000 is boot and you must pay taxes on it.

Boot can also come from changes in mortgage debt. When the new property’s mortgage is less than the old one’s, it creates boot. Let’s say you sell a property for $500,000 with a $350,000 mortgage. Then, you buy a property for $450,000 with a $300,000 mortgage. This shift creates a $50,000 boot because the debt decreased.

Certain costs can also lead to taxable boot. When exchange money is used for legal or escrow fees, or maintenance, it becomes taxable boot. To avoid taxes by mistake, know which expenses qualify and which don’t. Properly managing boot helps investors avoid unneeded tax payments.

Adding items that aren’t like-kind to the exchange makes them boot, which you must pay taxes on. Avoid adding personal property, specific equipment, or items for personal use. Stick to like-kind properties to keep your taxes deferred.

Over-financing a new property can also generate boot. To prevent this, ensure you don’t over-borrow when making a 1031 exchange. Over-financing and receiving cash back can create boot and taxes. By keeping an eye on these details, investors can handle 1031 exchanges better and save on taxes.

How is Boot Taxed in a 1031 Exchange

Investors often ask, “how is boot taxed in a 1031 exchange?” This is important as receiving boot means you’ll face immediate taxes. It’s crucial to know how these taxes work.

Cash boot happens if not all sale proceeds go into the new property, leading to taxes. Mortgage boot happens if the new property’s loan is less than the old one’s. Each leads to taxable events.

Sometimes, paying non-exchange costs with exchange funds can create boot. This includes closing costs that don’t qualify, like legal fees. Receiving non-qualified property, such as stocks, bonds, or personal items, also counts as boot.

Boot can lead to both federal and state taxes. The rates depend on where you are and your income. In essence, any boot value is taxed as income. This shows why it’s essential to understand these consequences.

A Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) might help avoid boot. DSTs let investors use extra cash wisely. They allow investments starting from $25,000. This can be a smart way to postpone taxes.

Here’s a table showing different boot types and their tax impacts:

Type of Boot Reason Tax Consequences
Cash Boot Failure to reinvest all proceeds Taxed as ordinary income
Mortgage Boot Replacement property’s mortgage is lower Taxable event
Non-Exchange Expenses Costs paid with exchange funds Taxable as boot
Non-Qualified Property Receiving stocks, bonds, etc. Taxed as ordinary income

Understanding how boot is taxed in a 1031 exchange is key. It helps investors plan to reduce taxes.

Strategies to Avoid or Mitigate Boot

Managing a 1031 exchange well means using smart strategies to avoid boot in a 1031 exchange. It’s key to put all money from the sale into the new property. If not, you might get cash boot, causing taxes to be due. For example, $50,000 in cash might mean an $18,500 tax if you’re in the highest tax group.

To lessen boot tax, ensure the new property’s mortgage matches or exceeds the old one’s mortgage. Not doing this leads to mortgage boot, taxed as regular income. Balancing equity and debt is crucial to dodge this pitfall.

Avoid spending exchange funds on costs unrelated to the exchange. Non-exchange spending leads to boot and tax bills. Keeping personal property out of the exchange also helps meet like-kind exchange requirements.

A Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) is a clever way to handle extra cash or boot. Companies like 1031 Crowdfunding offer DSTs, allowing for investments between $25,000 and $100,000. DSTs let investors own a part of valuable properties without managing them, helping avoid taxes while possibly earning.

A qualified intermediary (QI) is crucial for following IRS rules and managing the exchange’s complexity. They ensure the money is reinvested right and help transfer funds to keep the exchange tax-deferred, using strategies to avoid boot in a 1031 exchange.


Understanding how boot is taxed in a 1031 exchange is crucial for any real estate investor. Boot includes cash boot and mortgage boot, which can cause big tax bills if not handled right. Getting cash or different property means paying taxes right away, affecting the tax-deferral plan.

Investors have to follow important deadlines to get the most out of a 1031 exchange. They must identify new properties in 45 days and complete the exchange in 180 days. Using a qualified intermediary and looking into reverse exchanges can help manage the risks of boot.

Knowing the ins and outs of a 1031 exchange is key for investors. Getting advice from experts and following IRS rules help in deferring taxes and boosting financial gains. By handling boot wisely, real estate investors can enhance their investment success over time.

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About the author

Nathan Tarrant

Nathan has worked in financial services, marketing, and strategic business growth for over 30 years. He was the founder and COO of a Queens award-winning financial services company based in the UK, and a capital investment company in Virginia USA..

He operated as a financial & alternative investment advisor to delegates of the UN, World Health Organization, and senior managers of Fortune 500 companies in Geneva, Switzerland, after the 2008 financial crash.

As an avid investor, especially in alternative investments, he runs this blog, sharing his growing experience and views on alternative investments. You can see Nathan's full profile at his personal website
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